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Online Reading Comprehension: Digital or New Literacy(ies)?

Like so much in the world of education, there are many terms for overlapping concepts. Digital literacy vs. digital literacies vs. new literacies vs. online reading comprehension vs. digital inquiry is just such a situation. To my mind, all speak to the skills, dispositions, and behaviors needed for full engagement in the 21st century. So why all the labels?

On the one hand, many terms for the same concept has a balkanizing effect: efforts become fragmented and progress might stall in the face of ongoing parallel initiatives. I see this also as I get exposed to new networks of people working within parallel and sometimes intersecting professional communities. The connected learning network vs. the digital pedagogy network vs. the media literacy network vs. the digital literacy network vs. even to a smaller but certain degree the OER network and the digital humanities network. There are certainly differences in goals, styles, and membership, but u…
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New Literacies Scholar: Spotlight on Elizabeth Birr Moje

Dr. Elizabeth Birr Moje is a professor of Literacy, Language and Culture in the Educational Studies Department of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Moje started her career as a high school teacher of history, biology, and drama, and now focuses much of her research in Detroit schools, in predominantly Latinx communities.

This multidisciplinary background has certainly influenced Moje’s research, as she focuses her work on content-area, or disciplinary, literacies. She argues that students should be trained to think like experts in the discipline, because “each discipline has its own literacy stripping away the one-size-fits-all literacy ‘strategies’ and engaging students in the way historians and scientists actually read and write, literacy learning will be central, no longer a side dish” (Peterson, no page number). Moje observes that a move towards disciplinary literacy -- and away from textbooks -- is more authentic and more engaging for students.

In Moje’s Ed-Talk, s…