We have previously posted the brief summary of our group project on 21st Century Literacy. We actually condensed a larger script down, and felt that we should post the full script below, with some extra visuals. Enjoy!
Literacy has traditionally been defined as the ability to read and write. Literacy is vital for the development and progression of civilization. Writing systems were first developed to record business transactions, history, and laws and to pass on useful information and lessons to future generations. The literate were generally the elite and priestly, who were responsible for directing the work and education of the illiterate. This often led to abuses of power. Up until the renaissance, literacy in Europe was generally low, and it is estimated that only 5-10% of the general public at the time were literate. This is one reason that images feature so prominently in stained glass and early publications.
With the advent of the printing press, books became more accessible, and many movements, such as the reformation, encouraged individuals to read and learn for themselves. In the 1640s, around 30% of English males were literate, rising to 60 percent in the mid-18th century. As information continued to become more accessible, and as society increasingly valued education, more and more people learned to benefit from the recorded knowledge of others and to record their own knowledge until today, when nearly everyone in Europe is literate.
However, the presentation of information has changed a great deal in the last, to the point that literacy is now commonly defined as “competence or knowledge in a specified area.” When speaking of literacy in the 21st century, we have to deal with enormous amounts of information causing us to rely on others to synthesize, aggregate, and summarize information for much of what we know.
That process is by necessity selective, and therefore omits information that may be relevant for a different application than the presented information was designed for. This requires us to ask the question: how can we be sure that the information we receive is valid for our needs?
check out this prezi which each of our four main arguments in light of understanding and improving 21st century literacy!