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Digital Expressions brings together the views of a number of teachers, teacher educators and scholars, all with an interest in exploring how digital media, among others, can be incorporated into the classroom in interesting, exciting and educationally meaningful ways. In doing so, they push out the boundaries of the traditional meaning of literacy, well beyond the concept of reading, studying and appreciating the "canon" of print literature. They consider the possibilities inherent in creating poetry in an innovative software environment, in critically exploring websites and other media, in collaborative writing projects that can involve a community of learners that spans the globe, and in becoming co-learners with their students in an exploration of various types of expression available in new media. English language arts (ELA) teachers now face an enormous expansion of their subject. In Canada, the regional educational foundations (representing Atlantic Provinces, Western Provinces, British Columbia, Ontario and English Quebec) that oversee and control the writing of the nation's curricula have now included viewing and other ways of representing information and knowledge with the traditional ELA strands of reading, writing, listening and speaking. The situation is similar in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In all these constituencies, media and cultural studies now play a more expanded and important role in ELA teaching. Entering the mix and making classroom literacy events and practices even more complex are curricular requirements mandating the integration of digital technologies directly into classroom praxis. Technology is no longer seen as an add-on to subject knowledge, but rather as a tool for helping mediate, display, critique and create data, information and new knowledge. A third, though less well conceptualized, addition to ELA curricula is critical literacy. The Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation (APEF), for example, states: "Students will be able to respond critically to a range of texts, applying their understanding of language, form, and genre." Subsequent explanations suggest that, at various levels, students will pose questions of texts, analyze points of view, perspectives, positionings, voices privileged and ignored, values, and instances of prejudice, stereotyping and bias. A result of these curricular changes and additions is that literacy discussions about what knowledge young people might require to make their way in a digital world have been made even more complex. This book centres on the impact popular media and digital technologies have on the reconstructed and expanded English language arts curricula. The inclusion of technology; viewing and other ways of representing challenges and changes the traditional strands of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
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