New literacies are not entirely ‘new’ per se as they build on ‘old’ or ‘traditional’ literacies. They use the basis of traditional literacies (i.e. being able to read and write) but also consider the need for ‘knowing’ technology and possessing new skills such as using a computer or the internet or image editing software etc. They are also ever changing as “what was considered a new literacy yesterday may not be new today; what’s new today may not be so new tomorrow” (Houtman, 2013, p.7).

New literacies have also made the world smaller. We can send photos or videos to relatives on the other side of the world which would have otherwise taken weeks to get to their destination. We can read the latest breaking news as it happens just with a few clicks. When was the last time you went to the library for a reference book or looked at your dust-collecting set of ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’?

New literacies allow us to use new and novel methods to make meaning. It allows us to create, mix, share, collaborate easily and sometimes instantaneously. We can combine ‘traditional’ literacies such as text, image, sound to create new texts which are displayed on the one platform, often enhancing the meaning which would be harder to portray using just one format (Lankshear & Knobel, 2102, p.51). In the classroom these days, this kind of literacy is more common than not, especially with the introduction of the IWB. We can bring the world to the classroom where as in the past, we had to take the class out into the world. As teachers, we need to understand how we can integrate these new literacies  in a productively appropriate way and enhance critical learning experiences of our students. In order to do this we need to start using these new technologies ourselves, immersing ourselves in it and this blog is a great place to start.


Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved from February 14th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from Accessed February, 2014