Deciphering literacy

As anyone with teenagers involved in chat rooms knows, language is changing. The rules of literacy we had drummed into us in school are not the literacy rules of today – or of even a decade ago.

Heather Lotherington (right), professor of multilingual education in York’s Faculty of Education, will elaborate on some of those changes in her talk titled, “The Evolution of Digital Literacies”, Monday, Feb. 6, 5-6:30pm, Rm 3072, TEL Building.

What does “literacy” mean to people today? Lotherington points out that, as a word, it is relatively new to the English vocabulary, stemming from the term illiteracy in the late 19th century. In the early days, it used to refer to reading and writing, but the definition of literacy became more complex as the term evolved in the 1970s and 1980s to encompass a host of diverse cultural and social practices. Then, with the move to the Information era in the late 20th century and  the advent of interactive, digital media, the term literacy began to take on another meaning.

In her presentation, Lotherington will describe the evolution of contemporary digital literacies, drawing upon her expertise in multiliceracies, bilingual and multilingual education, second language acquisition, language and technology, and language policy.

Faculty and students are invited to attend.

As well as being involved in several research projects and teaching a variety of graduate courses, Lotherington has written numerous journal articles and book chapters and reviewed a host of professional journals in her field. She served as co-editor of Canadian Modern Language Review in 2002 and a member of its board of directors from 2002 to 2005.