Literacy in the New Media Age

I was saddened to hear news of the passing of Professor Gunther Kress (26 November 1940 – 20 June 2019) this week. Gunther was chair of Semiotics and Education in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media within the Institute of Education of University College London.

He was born in Austria and trained as a linguist in Australia before eventually taking up citizenship in the United Kingdom. He was awarded the honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for his services to scholarship.

I talked with Gunther Kress when he visited my own institution to speak several years ago. His book Literacy in the New Media Age, which was first published by Routledge in 2003, was prescient and far sighted.

Ever approachable and friendly, Gunther signed a copy and presented it to me after our conversations about digital literacy and the use of media and technology to support learning. I treasure that copy and often find myself dipping into it - and I have cited his work in several of my own publications over the last decade. Here's a thoughtful and challenging quote from Kress for educators everywhere:

"The world of communication is not standing still. The communicational world of children now in school is both utterly unremarkable to them and yet it looks entirely different to that which the school still imagines and for which it still, hesitantly and ever more insecurely, attempts to prepare them."  (Kress, 2003, p. 16)

Kress, G. R. (2003) Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge.

Creative Commons License
Literacy in the New Media Age by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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