Michele Knobel

Literacy, learning, communities and digital technologies: Why theorizing what we do and how we think about things is a good idea.

General Session V
Friday, November 21, 1:45-3:30pm

A range of pundits in the past few years have argued that theory is dead and no longer useful. In this paper I argue instead that now, more than ever, good theory can be put to good use in better understanding digital technologies and learning. The development of “new literacies”–as a new way of looking at and thinking about literacy, learning and digital technologies–will be used to illustrate how theory can helpfully inform how we think about literacy in general and within specific academic domains, what we take “learning” to be, how we think about and approach online communities, and how we can meaningfully take up digital technologies in higher education learning spaces.

Michele Knobel is a Professor of Education at Montclair State University (New Jersey, USA). She has worked within teacher education in Australia, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Her research interests lie in the area of young people’s everyday literacy practices online and offline, and how many of these embody significant changes in what it means to “be literate” in current times. Her books include New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning (2011, third
edition; previous editions translated into Spanish and Catalan) and Handbook for Teacher Research (2004, translated into Portuguese and Chinese)—both written with Colin Lankshear She also has edited  DIY Media: Creating, Sharing and Learning with New Media (2010, with Colin Lankshear), The Handbook of Research on New Literacies (2008, with Julie Coiro, Colin Lankshear and Don Leu), and A New Literacies Sampler (2007, with Colin Lankshear).