Digital literacies in the age of remix

I presented this latest version of my digital literacies model at the 2016 Solstice Conference hosted by Edge Hill University. The slide is from my keynote presentation on digital storytelling. The components in the model are by no means exhaustive - I acknowledge there are many more literacies, some of which are emergent due to new technologies and services. What I have attempted here is to represent what I consider to be the most important, or most regularly observed literacies and try to place them in context. It's also important to note that these do not replace the conventional literacies of reading and writing, speaking and listening, but are supplemental to them.

I have added three dimensions. The social dimension is self explanatory, because the components on the top row are all outward facing. The personal dimension should be equally clear, because the components in this column are focused on personal organisation of space, digital identity and personal branding. The left hand column attends to how knowledge is managed. These components describe how learners organise their content and what they do with it.

I would like to draw your attention to the middle column, which as yet has no categorisation (and this is embryonic, so components may be added, removed, or reorganised in the future). This section seems to rely particularly on creativity and flexibility. My explanation of transliteracy is that it is the ability to be able to present your ideas, connect and manage your presence equally well no matter what tools and technologies you select. If you are transliterate between YouTube and Facebook, you should be able to use both equally well for similar tasks. This aligns neatly to White and Le Cornu's Digital Residents theory.

Perhaps also of some note is the component of reusing, remixing and repurposing. Kevin Kelly recently argued that we are in the age of productive remixing, suggesting that recent innovations are little more than recombinations of earlier media genre and technologies. The same could be argued about knowledge. The synthesis of opposing ideas, coupled with the ability to source knowledge freely leads to an infinite number of new combinations, and growth can become exponential.

As ever, these ideas are open for comment and contructive criticism.

Kelly, K. (2016) Remix, Rewind, Reinvent - Where media is going next. Wired Magazine, July-August, 156-163.
White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and Residents - A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16, 19, Available Online (Accessed 14 June 2016).

Graphic by Steve Wheeler

Creative Commons License
Digital literacies in the age of remix by Steve Wheeler was written in Budapest, Hungary and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


mranieri said…
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. Just a comment: to me creating content (in the digital era) is hardly distinguishable from remixing practices, but maybe I didnt' catch the mearning... thanks for explanation, maria
Steve Wheeler said…
Thanks for your comment. I think creating content in the digital era is vastly different from pre-digital times. Chiefly, there is a great provisionality afforded by technology that previously made content creation much more tedious. The ability to disseminate content more widely and swiftly is also a new phenomenon, due to capabilities in networks and nodes. The most important feature, as I pointed out in the blog post, was the ability to remix, reuse and repurpose content of all types, and to use it in varying new contexts beyond the initial intentions of its first creators. For these, and many other reasons, we need the new digital literacies identified above.
mranieri said…
Thank you so much for your additional explanation. I do agree with you! What I didn't understand is why you put "creating content" and "remixing content" in two different 'boxes' in your graph.
Steve Wheeler said…
Because they are qualitatively different. It acknowledges that remixing content is as important as creating content. It also acknowledges that there are new licensing arrangements for copying, remixing, reusing and repurposing in the digital age - Creative Commons for example.
Emma said…
That's a good point. I guess it's a venn diagram - some skills you need for both, some are more for one (e.g. understanding licencing for a remix) some for the other (e.g. lighting setups for video creating) & some for both (understanding the needs of the audience)
Rebecca said…
Hi Steve, I love the graphic representation of digital literacies. What I'm wondering is where or how the types of literacies might fit. For example, I am looking at digital health literacy. That may not be about creating but rather about figuring out how to effectively consume what is available on the internet - but for some people is it about creating (e.g. illness blogging) - so dimension of privacy matter. Another example may be digital financial literacy - how to be an effective consumer online. When you overlay a type of literacy to the digital literacies model above, do you remove the ones that don't apply (you don't really remix in digital health literacy or digital financial literacy). Cheers, Rebecca
Steve Wheeler said…
Thanks for your comments and questions Rebecca. This is proposed as an adjustable and flexible model, which is not exhaustive, but can be personalised. A dynamic graphic representation of this (hopefully someone will take this challenge up) would enlarge some components while reducing others. New ones or specific one could be introduced, while others could be so general (like the ones I have presented here) as to overarch the specific ones. It's a work in progress and a model for thinking about how we represent these new and emerging literacies.
Steve Wheeler said…
Thanks Emma, I think my response to Rebecca's question applies equally to your question. People are welcome to modify and expand on this model.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this post Steve. The model is holistic and accurate (IMHO)

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