by: Angela Maiers

The Four Resources Model-Tools for ALL 21st Century Learners

When I talk to educators, especially those thinking that success on the web is a "Tech" thing-I want to make the case that success on the web with any tool is a literacy thing.

I use Luke and Freebody’s Model of Literacy Competence entitled the FOUR RESOURCE MODEL to illustrate what readers/learners must be able to understand in order to fully engage with any text; online or offline.

Here’s how it works:

1. Code Breaker-readers of blogs or text must be able to break the code-the language, syntax, vocabulary the author uses to articulate their message. This is more than simple ‘decoding’ of the letters and sounds. Readers must be able to understand how language, syntax, and style impact the message of the text or post.

For example, the letter x in the "code of literature" or narrative text is very different for the way the letter x used in mathematical messages. Make sense?

2. Meaning Making-once a reader has broken the ‘code’ of the blog-now it is time to bring meaning to those words. This requires very specific strategies:

  • Making inferences
  • Determining what is most important bold words, hyperlinks, images, eyerests)
  • Skimming/Scanning
  • Asking specific questions
  • Making connections to themselves, other blogs, the world,…
  • Synthesizing
  • Monitoring and Fixing Up Understanding

3. Text User – readers must be able to navigate and apply strategies across different texts and genres. For example making inferences is a cornerstone strategy to engage in deep meaning, but the kind of inferences we make in a poem are very different than in a math textbook or on a blog.

Readers must be able to understand genre, format, structure of texts, so they can apply the appropriate strategies necessary for making meaning. Blogs are very different in structure, form, and format than websites or textbooks.

4. Text Analyst/Critic

When students hear the word ‘critic’ they often think of the word criticize-Do I like/dislike the blog? Being a text critic is about taking a critical stance as a reader of a text or site-asking questions like:

  • What is the Big Idea here?
  • Who is this writer?
  • What is their background?
  • What bias is present?
  • Is there a motive behind their message? (i.e. Are there tons of ads on the site????)
  • What gives the writer credibility (archives, blogroll, links to and from the site, honors and recognition, comments activity,)
  • Is the writer findable? (Google, Technorati, Nings, Twitter, Plurk, etc..) This adds to credibility and reliability.
  • Transparency-Does the writers voice come through? Passion, Conviction, Perspective
  • How often does the writer post? (Consistency plays a huge role in reliability)
  • Generosity-Does the writer share links, give attribution to other bloggers, link out
  • Does the writer honor their audience? (Ask questions, honor feedback, ignite dialogue vs. deliver content, comment)

*This is just a partial list, but it really gets the dialogue going and moves the conversation and understanding to deeper levels.


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