From Print-Texts to Hypertexts: Co-constructing New Knowledge in Cyberspace
The growing impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is conspicuously reshaping and remodelling the practices of literacy education by transforming traditional print-based curriculum to computer-mediated instruction in the 21st century. Many literacy teachers, however, are baffled by the 'intrusion' of ICTs into their regular teaching methods and prescribed syllabus. By reporting the preliminary results of a Sister-class Project, which is an online collaborative learning project between two groups of Grade 7 students from Toronto and Hong Kong, this presentation will demonstrate how ICTs may provide innovative instructional options for literacy education rather than imposing threats on it. Students from two distant schools were motivated to work in groups to explore relevant academic information through hypertexts on the Internet and co-author cultural newsletters through a project website in order to enhance intercultural exchange and knowledge generation among distant learners. Stressing that ICTs need to be effectively integrated with, not substituted for, print-based curriculum, this presentation will conclude with three major implications offering new insights to literacy education: 1) Literacy teachers may create positive learning contexts through ICTs to deliver academic information and promote students' linguistic and cultural capitals. 2) Literacy learners may be exposed to extensive learning resources as well as authentic literacy input and hence be able to co-construct new knowledge in the cyberspace. 3) Literacy education may result in a flexible and student-centered pedagogy in which teachers and students could jointly constitute the curriculum by engaging multiple literacy forms.
Keywords: Technology, Literacy education, Collaborative learning, Print texts, Hypertexts
Ms Jacqueline Ng
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, OISE/University of Toronto