21st Century Literacy: Introduction
The traditional concept of literacy was built on the assumption that the written word was confined to the printed page, but this is no longer the case. Text is accompanied by images, video, interactivity, and technology. “21st century literacy” requires the skills to not only read and write, but to consume and publish content across a range of media.
This standard for 21st century literacy is admittedly idealistic. The scope of the suggested literacy skills is too broad for any one person to master as it encompasses a range of left- and right-brained tasks and perspectives. The goal of this proposal is not to suggest that anyone who lacks ability in one or more of these areas is “illiterate.” Rather, the 21st century literate is someone who has studied a spectrum of communication challenges that require solutions rooted in written language, graphic design, interactive and motion graphics, code, and other relevant media. Students who learn what the solutions are need not learn how to implement them all. “Literacy” comes with an understanding of what skills are required to meet the challenges of communicating ideas and building communities around them. As such, when this article discusses the “skills required of the 21st century literate,” implied is that students learn to recognize what solutions and talents are required to solve a given problem—not that they should necessarily be capable of personally delivering work that requires teams of professionals in the “real” world. Continue reading →