In learning about and working with social networking and social media it becomes abundantly clear that information literacies and digital literacies are of utmost importance. I had known, of course, about information literacy and digital literacy from a teaching viewpoint: I was now TL (Teacher Librarian) so had the responsibility for leading the school in teaching these literacies.

Jenkins’ paper “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” highlights that students are already using social media as a means of connecting in social groups and puts forward eleven new skills that shift “the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement” (Jenkins, 2006, p. 4).

The new skills are:

Play the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a from of problem solving
Performance the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery 
Simulation the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes 
Appropriation the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content 
Multitasking the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details 
Distributed Cognition  the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
Collective Intelligence  the ability  to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal
Judgement the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources 
Transmedia Navigation  the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
Networking the ability to search for, synthesise, and disseminate information 
Negotiation the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms


Of these skills, three are particularly relevant to a TL – Judgement, Transmedia Navigation and Networking. They relate to the location, gathering, synthesizing and presentation of information – traditionally the domain of the Information Process required of the TL.

The really interesting aspect is that students need to learn how to utilise these skills in a group and not just individually, which is the way that information skills have traditionally been approached. Because students are participating as a group, they need to be able to:

  •  Investigate the purposes, perspectives and veracity of the sources of information because information is coming from various people from various sources
  • Critically question the information gathered to order to synthesise large amounts of possibly conflicting information
  • Choose the most effective mode for purpose in the presentation of new learning
  • Be articulate in the language of and for multimodal representations
  • Use their skills to network across social communities to share and disperse their own products

My take from this paper is that students need to be working in groups solving real problems, in an on-line environment is a necessity today to ensure our students are learning with and through social networks to learn effective, efficient and ethical ways to manage their learning.



Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Available

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