Digital Media Literacy

In terms of being a literate person, the historical definition of literacy embodies one's ability to read with comprehension and write with meaning, using paper. 
With the innovation of the personal computer in the early 1980's, text on paper began to share time with digital text displayed on monitor screens. By the mid-1990's, the rise of the Internet revolutionized text and images with it's backbone program language, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML provided the wonderful capacity to present words and images on a web page with the dual function to also link those same words and images as hypertext to other web pages. 

In the 21st-century, web sites have become even more dynamic with the use of programmable languages such as Javascript and Flash integrated within HTML to create multimedia functions within a web page. And now, HTML5 (the latest version of HTML), is designed with it's own built-in multimedia functions. 
From TechRepublic
These dynamic functions, combined with the digital media of 
  • text;
  • hypertext;
  • still images;
  • audio; and, 
  • video are increasingly being created or edited within online web apps by people all over the world. 
These web apps are hosted in the Internet cloud by companies such as Adobe, Apple, Google and Microsoft for free or charged as a subscription fee, often called Software as a Service (SaaS). In turn, this cloud-based digital content can be shared, linked, exported or downloaded to other web hosts and directly to users on their digital devices. The shift of using web apps stored on web servers rather than using hardware-based software stored on personal computers continues to evolve with cloud-based collaborative and social media apps. This has an enormous impact with regards to the pedagogy of how to teach and learn in 21st century learning environments.

The key for educators, now and in the future is to expand and continually define literacy with the digital and social media of the times.  In this workshop we first explore, receptive literacy practices of comprehension and critical thinking with a variety of digital media, and second explore, expressive literacy practices of content creation with cloud-based web apps. 


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