Enough with the literacies already

Stephen Downes works toward a better definition of literacy in his criticism of Kathy Schrock’s listing of 13 literacies every student should have. In her post on Financial Literacy, she outlines content areas and some skills. It looks more like a curriculum, or at least a rubric. I share Downes’ skepticism. As he puts it, “But literacy is not a set of facts, nor even a set of skills, related to a domain or discipline. Put loosely, literacy is the ability to recognize, work with and create methods and processes of the domain.”


If you put it this way, and look at Digital Literacy and Mobile Literacy, we come up with a different set of components than usual. Just to start off, some ideas:

Digital Literacy: Gathering information, manipulating information, publishing information. Collaboration and Participation with others in that process. Programming, or at least scriptwriting to control delivery of final product.

Mobile Literacy: Matching physical location with information systems which includes Augmented Reality and the Quantified Self. Adding a fourth dimension of time to information systems.

But my real question is, How many literacies are there, really? Or has the word been used and stretched beyond usefulness?

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