The Relationship between Literacy, Education and New media


The thesis statement for this essay will be to analyze the relationship that exists between literacy, education and new media, which includes; the Internet, technology, e-learning, e-commerce, digital technology and information literacy. The essay will analyze each of these concepts by looking at how they affect each other and whether the relationship that exists between them is complex or easy to define.

This will involve analyzing each of the concepts separately by defining what literacy, education and new media means and determining whether there is an interconnection between the three concepts. The essay will also focus on the various issues and aspects that support the relationship of the three concepts as well as the thesis statement.

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Definition of Literacy, Education and New Media

Literacy is defined as an act of critically understanding the current situation of the world. It is a means of extending an individual’s efforts towards education where individual acquires the necessary tools that will be used in developing solutions to problems.

Literacy leads to education, the result of which is usually empowerment through the acquisition of necessary skills and knowledge that can be used in the effective functioning of the individual within a societal or community context. Literate people are viewed to have better reasoning skills than people who are illiterate or lack any basic knowledge (UNES 11).

Literacy helps individuals to lead a better quality of life as they have the necessary skills and knowledge that can be used to better their lives. Literacy also helps people to utilize their knowledge and skills gained from education by participating in activities that will see them benefiting from the use of their skills and knowledge.

To add on, Literacy allows people to join gainful employment so that they can be able to fully utilize their educational experience for maximum benefits that come in the form of salaries, wages and work benefits (UNES 10).

The main goal of education is to provide people with knowledge and information which they can use to better their lives in a positive way. Education empowers people to be able to think and act based on their existing knowledge on what is right or wrong. It also improves the self esteem and self confidence of an individual by motivating them to be better than what they are through the use of information.

Education is considered by many sociologists to be an important tool in developing intellectual capacities and potential in people who are going to be involved in human capital formations. People who have received some form of education are viewed to be literate as they have gained the skills that will allow them to perform even the simplest tasks (UNES 10).

The use of new media in the recent past has increased with new media technologies playing a significant role within the education sector of most developed countries (Leaning 49). The modern world is today experiencing an explosion in the form of information technology where more and more activities are becoming computerized and Internet based.

Education today has become more computerized with more and more institutions seeking to conduct their learning processes in virtual classrooms where students do not have to attend the real class. The increasing use of the Internet as a learning tool has also increased significantly with most learning institutions incorporating the various programs within the Internet for their learning activities (Kumari 4).

The Relationship between Literacy, Education and New Media

The general relationship that exists between literacy, education and new media is not as simple and easy to understand as it should be. This is because the impact of education on new media and literacy solely depends on certain issues which include what is taught in educational institutions and how much the learners can be able to learn at a given time.

The content of education will determine the impact that this concept has on literacy and new media as it is the educational contents and teaching methods that determine the relationship that exists between the three terms.

Issues such as the interaction of education with social and economic environments will also determine the kind of relationship that exists between education, literacy and new media. Social factors such as the culture of the society will determine the literacy levels of the people within that society and it will have an important impact on education as well as new media technology (UNES 11).

According to Vasudevan (63) literacy studies and education were marked by a significant shift in their theoretical and methodological concepts in the early 1980s that saw a change in the educational systems that were in use during that time. These shifts were mostly influenced by the introduction of portable technologies that could be used by school going children to improve on their literacy and intellectual capacity.

Such portable technologies included lap tops, walkmans and radios that would be used by most teachers in their learning exercises. Digital or new media were therefore deemed to have a relationship with literacy and education in most learning institutions during the late 1980s and the early 1990s (Vasudevan 63).

In the current world today, the relationship that exists between literacy, education and new media is often at times far removed from the reality on the ground based on what the current practices of learning are in most educational institutions. This is evident when most students prefer digital learning media to attending classroom lectures as these media offer far better learning exercises than classroom teachers or lecturers.

Also many urban youth especially in the developed countries have become more digitalized and technology savvy yet they continue to be confined in analog schools that use blackboards and chalk as teaching tools.

This has created a digital divide in urban educational institutions where educational literacy is being challenged by the multimodal communication practices of the existing technological revolution as well as the multimedia literacy skilled revolution (Vasudevan 64).

The digital divide between education and literacy has also been increased by the introduction of e-learning equipment such as school web pages and desktop publishing tools that allow students to incorporate educational practices and learning techniques in the new media technology.

Many students in the United States prefer to use digital technology when performing their assignments and class tasks as it not only provides a practical approach to learning but it also allows for the various understandings of social constructs within the current world.

Digital students are able to learn at a faster pace and they are able to cover the course syllabus at a faster speed than their traditional counterparts who prefer the old classroom style of learning (Vasudevan 64).

Apart from the digital divide, it is no longer possible to consider literacy, education or new media in isolation as these concepts are affected by similar social, economic and technological factors.

The emerging dominance of technology in educational aspects has spurred a shift in the line of thinking when it comes to determining whether a relationship exists between the three concepts. New media has impacted on literacy and education in both a positive and negative way where most school based curricula have incorporated the use of digitalized learning modes in their educational exercises.

The positive side of this will be that the literacy development of students will be more practical in nature rather than theoretical as the digitalized exercises offer practical exercises while the negative side of this will be that the slow learners will not be able to catch up on the learning exercises.

New media therefore bridges the gap that is created between literacy and education when the practical application of education in literacy comes in. New media therefore provides the means that can be used in presenting and communicating educational content at the various stages of intellectual development (Kress 1).


The thesis statement for this essay was “to analyze the relationship that exists between literacy, education and new media which includes the Internet, technology, e-learning, e-commerce, digital technology and information literacy”.

The relationship that exists between literacy, education and new media while complex in nature has continued to grow over the years with the continued introduction of technological innovations that are meant to make life easier. This relationship is viewed to continue growing stronger as more educational institutions incorporate the use of new media in the literacy development and educational practices.

Works Cited

Kress, Gunther. Literacy in the new media age. London, UK: Routledge, 2003. Print.

Kumari, Sarita. Increasing role of technology in education. Delhi, India: Isha Books, 2004. Print.

Leaning, Mark. Issues in information and media literacy: criticism, history and policy.

California, US: Informing Science Press, 2009. Print.

UNES. Relationship between literacy, education and development, n.d. Web. 13 December 2010

Vasudevan, Lalitha. “Educations remix: new media, literacy’s, and the emerging digital Geographies”. Digital Culture and Education. 2.1 (June. 2010): 62-82. Print.


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