“Comprehension History”

Mankind has always tried to find ways to communicate and to capture moments. Ancient civilizations began by drawing in caves. Later it progressed to scripts like the Egyptians or Mayans, next the Greeks created which is considered to be the first alphabetical system. And as more and more precise ways to share the written word were created, new ways of transmitting it were necessary. . The printing press was built by Johannes Gutenberg. This machine allowed for mass production, but as more and more people had access to books, they also had to gain the skills to comprehend their content. The internet came and this was the beginning of a new form of communication and publishing. Now a days, if I want to share my work with others I have many options. I can make a Glog, I can post a blog, use an infograph (like the one above), make a video, podcast. My options are infinite. This seems to be wonderful, but I guess the question would be, are we teaching our students the necessary comprehension tools to extract information from them?   The answer is no.

While studying in Dublin, my colleagues and I had the privilege to have Dr. Bernadette Dwyer (specialist in literacy education) come and talk to us about “New Literacies”. She pointed out to us that being able to read and write was just not sufficient in the 21st century. A new set of skills had emerged as a consequence of multimedia. The notion of this truly dawned on me as I was creating this blog post. As I was enjoying my daily dosis of facebook, mail and twitter I came upon a tweet from a fellow MAET student at Michigan State campus. She tweeted: infographics are the thing of the present. I immediately had to check it out and see what I was missing out on. I followed the link and I saw there were to written instructions, there was just a video on the home page. I pressed play and observed. Thirty seconds had gone by and I realized that there was no voice in the video, there were only a set of images being displayed one after the other. From these images I was able to understand  what the purpose of this tool was, I was presented with examples and the video also explained how to use it. How was I able to get all that from pictures? We as teachers need to incorporate these new skills in our curriculum. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and students  need to keep up and to have the ability to learn and extract information from multimedia projections.


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