Preparing students to be literate in an ever-changing world of technology


Meghan Krein

Remixing Multiliteracies,” by Frank Serafini and Elisabeth Gee, has been released by Teachers College Press at Columbia University. The authors are both professors at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Serafini is a professor of Literacy Education and Children’s Literature, and Gee is the Delbert and Jewell Lewis Chair in Reading and Literacy.

The New London Group

My objective in writing this book is to help teachers and students navigate the challenges associated with what it means to be literate in the 21st century,” says Serafini. “As the texts that students encounter have grown more complex, featuring images and new design elements, the strategies students need to make sense of these texts, and the pedagogical approaches used by teachers must expand as well,” he further explains. Gee adds, “Literacy educators need to think more expansively about the kinds of ‘texts’ that students now encounter. E-books have different kinds of features and require different kinds of interpretive abilities than reading traditional print-based texts. Blog posts, tweets and even video games offer opportunities for literacy teaching and learning."

The book, comprising of a collection of essays, considers the contributions of the New London Group — 10 academics who met at New London, New Hampshire in 1994. Their goal was, to develop the multiliteracies approach and address how advancements in technology and globalization were affecting education.

Serafini further illustrates, “In 1996, the New London Group published their manifesto in the Harvard Educational Review. It focuses on the changes occurring across the landscape of literacy teaching and learning by rethinking the resources that supported the representation and communication of meanings through an ever-expanding set of semiotic resources used for representing and communicating ideas.”  

Twenty years later, “Remixing Multiliteracies” focuses on changes in literacy teaching and learning that have taken place since the New London Group’s ideas. Concentrating on design and multimodality as the main issues, these original ideas are even more arresting as literacy becomes more interwoven with digital technologies. “Throughout the book, scholars from many different fields associated with literacy education characterize how their work has evolved and expanded the concept of multiliteracies,” Serafini says. “It’s exciting to see how the authors have incorporated new insights from areas as diverse as cognitive science, design studies, human-computer interaction and discourse analysis,” observes Gee.

Frank Serafini      Elisabeth Gee Frank Serafini has authored 10 professional development books for elementary educators and is working on a research project focusing on visual literacies.

Elisabeth Gee has authored and edited numerous books, chapters and articles. Her book, “Women as Learners” won the international Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education. One of her current studies is exploring the development of design thinking among children and families.

Want to learn more about literacy? Read about the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Master of Arts degree in Literacy Education.