As mentioned on the home page, the New Literacies are the skills necessary for listening and being heard in the digital world of the 21st Century. Students today are immersed in technology, for good or ill, and it is up to us as educators to help them navigate an increasingly crowded environment.

How does a person evaluate content, when there are literally hundreds of different websites vying for her attention when researching a topic? It used to be that, when researching in a library, one could feel reasonably comfortable with the authority of a text... how can a researcher find that same comfort when scanning the web? Where should a person look on a website to determine authority and validity? We need to help students evaluate the many voices coming at them from all corners, and then discern which voices are valuable.

Similarly, we need to help our students be heard. Many are not even aware that they are 'talking' in the digital world or, more importantly, who is listening. Students need to be aware of their digital footprint - that social media sites like Facebook are not private. that posting online is a very public form of expression and that, once something is sent - via email, a post, a phone text - the sender no longer owns the content. It is a self-awareness, a knowledge that one's actions online are very real, with real repercussions.

The tools on this site were chosen because they can help us reach our students, and help them develop and hear those voices. They are meant to be used carefully, as enhancements and extensions of what we do. Too often, the "cool tools" become ends in themselves - clever decorations, and little more. It is important that, when exploring these tools, we keep the greater goals in mind.

By helping our students find their own digital voice and listen critically to the voices of others, we are creating people who are adept at this new literacy. No matter what subject area we each teach, the digital world is now a part of it and, as educators, we have a duty to make it part of what we do best.

Below are a number of sites and presentations that can help us make sense of these new literacies, and - in turn - incorporate them into our teaching.

This powerpoint covers all the basics. It was part of a keynote at the New Literacies Institute, in Cambridge Massachusetts, this past June.