Neil Gaiman on reading fiction, empathy and changing the world

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn…

PISA: defining literacy

PISA assesses reading literacy, as opposed to reading. Reading is often interpreted, in a general, non-academic context, as reading aloud or simply converting text into sounds. PISA conceives of reading literacy as a broader set of competencies that allows readers to engage with written information, presented in one or more texts, for a specific purpose. (RAND Reading Study Group and…

PISA on the changing nature of literacy

… the nature of reading has evolved significantly over the past decade, notably due to the growing influence and rapid evolution of technology. Reading now involves not only the printed page but also electronic formats (i.e. digital reading). Moreover, readers must now engage in a greater variety of tasks. In the past, when students did not know the answer to…

Postbox: good info

Crikey, it’s a very long photo of a postbox – read on for some thoughts about information architecture and the Royal Mail. From a distance Everyone knows what a postbox looks like – if you’re looking for one, they’re easy to find Anyone who isn’t looking for a postbox can ignore the postbox at no cost to their time and…

The Onion (3): exemplar interesting problem – learning to read

Problems gain (or lose) interestingness as their context and scale changes. Take teaching a kids to read as an example. It’s almost inevitable that a child will learn to read given the following ingredients: A supportive family A strong reading culture at home A steady supply of good books A reasonable curriculum or methodology for teaching An well educated, motivated…

Creative Commons resources – open source literacy webinar

Note: Links to resources are at the bottom. The footnotes are worth reading. On Thursday I attended ‘Creative Commons Basics’, a webinar hosted by the Global Reading Network. It was very good. Cable Green, Director of Open Education at Creative Commons, made an excellent presentation about the basics of Creative Commons licensing, followed by Q&A. I’ve done a fair bit…

Peter Morville on Category and Taxonomy (1)

While findability comes first, we must also remember that categories are about more than retrieval. Classification helps our users to understand. Through splitting, lumping and labeling, we reveal choices and invite questions. … Of course, all taxonomies are imperfect, as is the language they’re built on… like maps and myths, taxonomies hide more than they reveal. They bury complexity to…

Scrapbook: Niall Ferguson on culture, text-for-profit, libraries, search and literacy

Niall Ferguson was speaking at the Long Now Foundation, responding to a question from Stewart Brand about how ads and the profit-motive influenced the nature of search and the internet echo-chamber. Google and Facebook in particular are platforms driven by user-engagement and time-on-platform (the source of their ad revenue) and as a result tend to give us more of what…

Deep literacy: Kevin Kelly on more than reading

… producing books with ease on Gutenberg’s press did not fully unleash text. Real literacy also required a long list of innovations and techniques that permitted ordinary readers and writers to manipulate text in ways that made it useful. For instance, quotation symbols make it simple to indicate where one has borrowed text from another writer. We don’t have a…

Learning for the future: fundamentals

Your stick Here’s a first try on the importance of fundamentals in learning. Imagine you are holding a long stick – better yet, a sword or lightsaber – representing your ability to make a difference in the world. The far end of the stick is the part that you’ll make the greatest impact with. It moves fastest, reaches furthest, hits…