ICT and Chinese Literacy Education

Recent Developments in China

Authored by: Yongbing Liu , Dongbo Zhang

International Handbook of Literacy and Technology

Print publication date:  April  2006
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780805850871
eBook ISBN: 9780203929131
Adobe ISBN: 9781135609580


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The advent of information and communications technologies (ICT) and electronic texts characterized by the popularization of computers and the Internet since the 1980s has had profound effects on both literacy practices and literacy education in the Western countries (e.g., Bourgerie, 2003; McKenna, Reinking, Labbo, & Kieffer, 1999; Reinking, McKenna, Labbo, & Kieffer, 1998). In the post-industrial societies saturated with the multimodal texts—onscreen reading and writing, online navigation, e-mailing, and computer game playing—people have been developing new literacy skills and knowledge in and for a world significantly changed from what it was a generation ago (Carrington, 2004). In turn, these changes have impacted how literacy is defined and how literacy can be effectively learned in both formal and informal contexts. Reinking (1995) and others (e.g., McKenna et al., 1999; Topping & McKenna, 1999) argue convincingly that with the electronic transformation of literacy, literacy can no longer be traditionally defined in terms of basic skills in reading and writing; electronic literacy effectively supplements print literacy and renders it multidimensional. Thus, literacy is now viewed as plural. The term literacies or multiliteracy is commomly used in the current international literature to “refer to the ability to accumulate and demonstrate the practices necessary to interact effectively in the social, cultural and technological contexts of our lives” (Carrington, 2004, p. 224). To accommodate the social and technological changes and to train students’ “new ability,” schools are trying to capitalize on ICT by equipping themselves with advanced computers and access to the Internet, and integrating various multimedia programs into their literacy education (e.g., see Reinking et al., 1998; Tao & Reinking, 2000; Warschauer, 2001 for reviews).

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