WikiLiteracy


Literacy is a social practice. To be literate is to be versed in the conventions of a particular form or method of a cultural mode of communication or expression. To be print literate is to understand the conventions and materials of print media. Wiki literacy requires us to understand the materials and conventions of wiki knowledge building and communication. In order to do so, it is helpful to consider the context of wikis and what tasks wikis were designed to accomplish.
Wiki Context

Wiki Design

Wiki Skills
The single biggest skill you need to possess to be wiki literate is a little hutzpah. The fact is, you just need to have the audacity to do something, and not worry about whether it is right or wrong. There is no right or wrong, just doing. If the other participants don't agree with you, what you've done will get changed. Or better yet, what you've done will spark a thread (discussion below the double line). Have the courage to contribute, but don't be a WikiTroll. Play nice.

You don't need a lot of technical skills to use a wiki. Wikis typically have a FormattingRules page or a WikiSyntax page that gives an overview of the formatting codes that the developers know will work. Other ways of using the code may work, you can play around with it. It is important to understand that you can't break a wiki. You can learn the FormattingRules from that page, or you can just click on the 'edit' button on a page and see how those contributors formatted it.

The ability to let go of ownership. Once you hit save, you are no longer the owner of that text. You have contributed to the collective knowledge and text of the wiki community. This community involves people that may not agree with you. That does not mean they are stupid. Or out to get you. From Wikis: Web Collaboration, by Ebersbach, Glaser, Heigl, and Warta:
One important point is the mutual acceptance of one's counterparts as reasonable -- and we would like to add non-competitive -- entities.


Wiki Knowledge
You should know the difference between ThreadMode and DocumentMode.

Wiki Engagement


Given HowTheWikiChangesWriting leads us to consider what WikiLiteracy entails. Anybody up for it? This might be

OK. To start, I looked at the "New Literacies" entry on Wikipedia. The following paragraph caught my eye:
For example, one group of scholars argues that literacy is now deictic, and see it as continually and rapidly changing as new technologies appear and new social practices for literacy emerge. (Leu, 2000). This group aims at developing a single, overarching theory to help explain new literacies (see, for example, Leu, O'Byrne, Zawilinski, McVerry, & Everett-Cacopardo, 2009; see also, below). This orientation towards new literacies is largely psycholinguistic in nature. Other groups of scholars follow a more sociocultural orientation that focuses on literacy as a social practice, which emphasizes the role of literacy with a range of socially patterned and goal-directed ways of getting things done in the world (see, for example, Gee & Hayes, 2012; Lankshear & Knobel, 2011; Kalantzis and Cope 2011).

Then I had to look up a definition for deictic, which evidently just means that the meaning of the word literacy is context-dependent. So we have one group saying that literacy is psycholinguistic, and one group saying it is a social practice, meaning that we construct a type of literacy in order to accomplish a certain set of tasks. So, following this train of thought, we constructed our traditional understanding of print literacy to accomplish the task of communicating asynchronously in a non-verbal way. We were taught the letters of the alphabet and phonetic sounds that we attach to each of those letters, semantic and syntactic rules of language construction, and so forth, in order to participate in the literacy needed for the print culture we live in.

Okay. I can follow that, I guess. Language is socially constructed to communicate, we then constructed a written version of that language. Print literacy reflects our ability to participate in that culturally-specific mode of discourse. We have now constructed digital modes of discourse and communication, and this requires a new DigitalLiteracy.

It seems to me that WikiLiteracy is a subset of DigitalLiteracy.

In order to be wiki literate we need to understand the conventions of the communication materials, as well as the established conventions of the wiki discourse community. Understanding these conventions, it seems to me, starts with understanding the context of wikis and the tasks wiki literacy was created to accomplish.

I feel like I should point out here that I fall in the social practices camp. Probably in large part because I have a better understanding of it. A disclaimer.
-AnnaHamann
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