Perceptions of Literacy – A fixed point

As part of my MA in New Literacy Studies I have been researching perceptions of literacy in relation the context of the original National Literacy Strategy. I will of course write a more in-depth post about my findings in due course but here is an initial report of what I discovered: Perceptions of Literacy Study View more presentations from Martin Waller. Grim reading isn’t it? Of course the framework has been renewed and offers a much

A developing storm…

I have always criticised the current government for the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy in Primary Schools and it’s narrow conception of literacy in society. I have always felt (and I’m not alone) that it reflected a certain ‘tradition’ of literacy and failed to adapt towards changing times. In 2006 I was pleased that the framework was renewed with a greater emphasis on speaking, listening and multimodality. Even aspects of film began to creep

New Literacy Studies 1 – Is the damage already done?

One of my main areas of interest/despair is the way in which the National Literacy Strategy has led to a narrow conception of what literacy actually is and how it should be taught in schools. I regularly talk about the way the strategy has focused on the acquisition of print-based decoding skills, completely ignoring multimodal analysis/production skills (even speaking and listening), which has in turn led teachers to believe that the idea of ‘schooled-literacy’ is

Doctor Who – Infinite Possibilities

A few people have asked me to post some information about the Doctor Who work my class completed last week. It was planned with the aim of beginning to engage some of the learners who had negative attitudes towards literacy. I’ve always found using the children’s own popular culture in the curriculum to be an effective way to make them realise that literacy is relevant to their own lives. This isn’t a new idea of

Opening eyes…

Every so often you come across something new. It opens your eyes to a culture or world that you have little experience or understanding of. At the same time  it can fit with issues you have been thinking about and open your mind to new possibilities. Sounds very dramatic… I will explain. My Sky+HD box has a service called Sky Anytime which automatically records what it describes as unmissable TV to watch anytime that I

Finding a cliff by the sea

Thank you to everybody who sent really great feedback about the Brer Rabbit critical literacy project I really appreciate it. I’ve also heard that it was being talked about at the Decatur Book Festival after The Wren’s Nest (the birth place museum of Joel Chandler Harris in the USA) picked up on the project. All of this really helps raise the awareness of critical literacy with real-world texts. As soon as the Brer Rabbit project

Hacking popular culture…

I’ve always loved the way that media can be edited, remixed and reinvented with the use of digital technologies. I started doing it myself at a young age (see previous blog post). I noticed how Angela has recently blogged about remixing as a means of transformative story-telling (here). She uses the term hacking popular culture, which I think is a brilliant way to describe the process.

Creating Space for Critical Literacy

A few months ago I wrote about using texts of popular culture as a means of exploring issues of racial prejudice within a critical literacy framework. I then said I would reveal more about a project I was planning based around the issue. With a hectic workload and conferences to attend, I completely forgot… so now that the project is actually over I am able to give more detailed account.


A few months ago I recieved an email asking if I would be interested in visiting Futurelab to discuss the use of digital literacies in the primary classroom.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Futurelab (you should have!) it’s an independent non-for-profit organisation interested in transforming how people learn through innovative practices mostly with digital technologies. They’ve developed a range of projects including the recent Beyond Current Horizons and Enquiring Minds projects –

‘I miss the ocean…’

“I never thought fish swimming in a glass bowl could be so emotional” The title of this post and the above quote come from the video sharing website YouTube in response to the high definition video above that appeared on the site and has become ‘viral’ over the past week. My guess is that the video has become so popular because it really demonstrates the potential of HD broadcasting. Today BSkyB announced that subscribers to