Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, April 30, 2007

weekend report

Good Monday Morning,
It was a beautiful weekend here in the big smoke. I hope it was the same where you are.

We ended national poetry month in style. The poetry readings were fantastic and despite the warm sunny day, very well attended. The literacy field was well represented by the star of the show, Sheila Stewart. I went with Nancy Friday (of AlphaPlus). Other literacy folks there included Indira Balkissoon (fomerly of Literacies and currently at the Festival of Literacies), Guy Ewing (a Toronto community-based literacy worker and poet) and Libby Shea (a former Toronto community-based literacy worker who has moved to Montreal and is engaged a variety of activities there).

Speaking of AlphaPlus, they have posted some links to some really good websites. I think anyone working on health and safety will love the games from the Australian Government. You are presented with a variety of scenarios in a variety of locations. You view the scene and click on any potential health hazards. You are given 3 possible solutions - if you pick the correct solution, the problem is dealt with by the appropriate worker and all is well. If you pick the incorrect solution, problems persist and disaster ensues. You are then given another chance. There is some text to read and the print is quite small so some learners might need some help. The certificate page and download pages have been disabled.

Have fun and be safe.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Sheila Stewart of the Festival of Literacies will be reading poems here... Future (In) Tense
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2007 @ 3 p.m.
Venue: The Gardiner Museum
111 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON
Event Details: Readings will focus on urban spaces and the future of cities and civilization, within the context of this unique gallery of architectural design. People need buildings and people need poetry. This reading will explore the buffer zone between these needs.
Poets: Merle Nudelman, Rosemary Blake, Mary Lou Soutar- Hynes, Sheila Stewart, Elana Wolff, John Oughton


There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘the practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1999. p.16

Friday, April 27, 2007

toronto event... FREIRE!

For those of you who will be in Toronto on May 2...
Remembering Freire, Reinventing Freire
A half-day conference and dialogue
on the 10th anniversary of the death of Paulo Freire
May 2, 2007, 1.30-7.00 pm (followed by reception)
OISE/University of Toronto
252 Bloor ST. West, Toronto
7th floor, Peace Lounge
For more information and to register, please send a message to freireconference2007@gmail.com

Thursday, April 26, 2007

more subscription news

Our circulation/subscription manager is back!
Deb Holstein, formerly of Grass Roots Press, has agreed to work with Literacies again.

Deb set up our database and maintained it at Grass Roots. She also deals with all subscription queries, requests and fulfillment.

She is incredibly good at her work and incredibly good to work with so this is very exciting news for all of us.

We are getting set up in our new environment and will be ready July 1st - Oh Canada! - make that July 3rd.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

conference @ literacy BC

Violence and Learning: Research to Practice
Pre-conference: April 25 to 28, 2007
Conference: April 29 to May 26, 2007

Jenny Horsman, Evelyn Battell, Nadine Sookermany, Heather Ward and Kate Nonesuch invite you to participate in an on-line conference with literacy practitioners from Canada and around the world. We are part of a group of practitioners who are working on the issue of changing literacy practice to take into account the effects of violence on learning. Research has helped us to understand impacts of violence on learning and to identify ways to address them. How can we move this research more widely into literacy practice? During this on-line conference, we will describe projects we are undertaking in various settings to address this question, and we will present our initial findings. We will ask you to react to the findings, reflect on our findings in the light of your experience, and help us push the analysis of our data forward.

Are you interested in the relationship between violence and learning? Are you interested in making change in literacy programs to deal with violence and learning? Are you interested in research in practice (practitioner research)? If so, this on-line conference is for you. The conference will run from April 29 to May 26; feel free to participate in the discussion, or just read what other people have to say.

For more information about the project, download this pdf: http://www.jennyhorsman.com/call06/proposal.pdf

Register for the on-line conference at www.literacy.bc.ca/conference_home/

Please forward to anyone who might be interested.

Kate Nonesuch

Friday, April 20, 2007

happy spring weekend

Warm weather has come to us here in Ontario and we are promised a sunny +20 weekend.

Wishing the same for all of you - and if not, try a visit to this cybergarden. Or yell at the frog.

Thanks to Maria from Alpha for introducing me to ze frank.

If you are going out and are feeling a wee bit insecure - and there is NO reason why you should - check out his confidence builder.

Cheers, T

subscription update

Literacies will honour all existing subscriptions. All those on our current subscription list will receive Issue #7 (Fall 2007) and Issue #8 (Spring 2008).

If you cannot remember if you have a subscription,
please send an email to subscriptions at literacyjournal dot ca
and we will look that up for you.

If you would like to start a subscription to Literacies - yay!
We have some work to do to get set up to accept and record new subscriptions.
We will be ready in July and then you will be able to get a subscription form from the subscribe page.

cheers! thank you all

We sent a message announcing that we are back, and here is what we heard:

Congratulations Tracey this is great news.
Wonderful news!! thank you for the information Tracey.
Thanks to the cool dude. All the best at your new shop!
Great topic.
Yeah!!! Glad to hear it.
Yayyyyy!! This is GREAT news! :)
Very good news! Glad your worth is being appreciated!
Congrats, Tracey and Tannis!
What wonderful news! Congratulations. Unfortunately, the "powers that be" never understand how much of a setback waiting for funding can be. It certainly takes the wind out of our sails. Hopefully you will be up and running very soon in all your former glory. I look forward to your September issue.
Bravo, Tracey. To the future!
WHOOO HOOOO! Congrats to all for hanging in there!
Congratulations Tracey...this is excellent news!
Great to have youy back in operation!
I’m very glad to know things are up and moving again.
I’ll look forward to hearing more,
Glad to hear the news about Literacies.
Great news, Tracey. Rock on.
Congrats on bringing Literacies back to life! Love the blog too. Lots of good stuff on there.

Thanks everybody ... it feels great to be back and even better to know you are happy about it as well.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

more stories

Here’s something Tannis sent me from Literacy BC’s newsletter:
Check out the Chicago’s Neighbourhood Writing Alliance,
which publishes the Journal of Ordinary Thought.

Doesn't it make you want to travel to Chicago to check out their writing workshop?
Field trip anyone?

story project from bristol

Bristol Stories is a collaboration between Watershed and Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives Service. The two organizations began working together on this creative project in March 2005, involving the public in the development of content for the new Museum of Bristol which will show how the experiences of Bristol people today are making tomorrow’s history. Everybody has a story to tell, and through technology people can now relate these stories to a wider audience using their own voice and images. Bristol Stories aims to enable diverse individuals and communities to tell their many stories of Bristol. The most recent story was made in April 2007.

Check out these amazing stories at www.bristolstories.org

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

new literacies in the blogosphere

Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear have a blog called
everyday literacies that "explores and comments on everyday practices of producing and consuming texts of whatever kind in meatspace and cyberspace."
You can download their new book A New Literacies Sampler.
Here is the table of contents:

  1. Sampling “the New” in New Literacies by Colin Lankshear & Michele Knobel
  2. “You Won’t Be Needing Your Laptops Today”: Wired Bodies in the Wireless Classroom by Kevin M. Leander
  3. Popular Websites in Adolescents’ Out-of-School Lives: Critical Lessons on Literacy by Jennifer C. Stone
  4. Agency and Authority in Role-Playing “Texts” by Jessica Hammer
  5. Pleasure, Learning, Video Games, and Life: The Projective Stance by James Paul Gee
  6. Digital Design: English Language Learners and Reader Reviews in Online Fiction by Rebecca W. Black
  7. Blurring and Breaking through the Boundaries of Narrative, Literacy, and Identity in Adolescent Fan Fiction by Angela Thomas
  8. Looking from the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy by Julia Davies & Guy Merchant
  9. Online Memes, Affinities, and Cultural Production by Michele Knobel & Colin Lankshear
  10. New Literacies Cynthia Lewis
P.S. - What is a meme?

The term meme (rhyming with theme) refers to a "unit of cultural information" which can propagate from one mind to another. Examples of memes: tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots, or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion — acting in many ways similar to the behavior of the gene. Read more at Wikipedia.

Monday, April 16, 2007

stay in touch faqs

  • what is social bookmarking? click here to find out.
  • what does 'subscribe in a reader' mean? click here to find out.
  • what is web 2.0? click here to find out.
  • what is social networking (facebook)? click here to find out.
  • why are blogs such a big deal? click here to find out.
  • why are blogs not such a big deal? click here to find out.

online audio and video for learners

Here are some links to audio/visual content that we like to use with adult literacy learners. Of course there is lots more out there. If you find a great resource, let us know and we will add it to this list.

At TechEase - etc.usf.edu/te_win/index.html - you can find answers to tech related questions.

In April 2009, I facilitated a workshop for practitioners about online learning using some of the resources below. It included some lessons that had been originally developed in Moodle and delivered as AlphaRoute online courses. You can see a copy of the workshop here - literacylearningonline.blogspot.com. The original workshop blog is here: tdsbliteracy.blogspot.com.

AlphaRoute - an online learning environment made in Ontario.
You have to sign learners up. Go to AlphaPlus to find out how - www.resources.alpharoute.org/
AlphaRoute is no longer being updated and maintained but many of the resources and links still work well. You can test out some of the resources here -

Exemplary Literacy Material Online Reviews by Literacy BC - an online database of adult and family literacy resources and reviews - www.elmoreviews.ca

Learning Links - connecting websites and multimedia activities to learning - www2.recitfga.qc.ca/learninglinks

GED - websites for people studying for GED or other academic upgrading - jfynetworks.edublogs.org

Webwise - basic computer and the internet tutorials from the BBC - www.bbc.co.uk/webwise

- more basic skills from the BBC - www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise

Simple English Wikipedia - We only use simple English words and grammar here. The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone! That includes children and adults who are learning English - simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_English_Wikipedia

Commoncraft how-to videos (online learning and networking made simple – the ___ in Plain English Videos are fantastic!) - www.commoncraft.com

Howcast - how-to videos (many topics) - www.howcast.com

MonkeySee - more how-to videos - www.monkeysee.com

Sclipo has one of the world's largest libraries of educational content created by thousands of member Academies. Learn, teach and meet people that share your educational interests such as Technology, Nutrition, Wellness or Business - sclipo.com/home

World News from the BBC - easy to read news and information from the BBC world news service - www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/

Simple English News
- covers a variety of topics, includes audio and vocabulary - www.simpleenglishnews.com

Project Care - mostly geared to high-intermediate ESL students. It provides some case studies, multimedia (vocabulary and authentic listening practice) and projects on such topics as Depression, Alzheimer's Disease, Death and Dying. - projectcare.worlded.org.

Cartoons for the Classroom presented by Newspapers in Education Online and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists - daily editorial cartoons with lesson plans plus information about cartooning and cartoonists - nieonline.com/aaec/cftc.cfm

ESL Lessons at the CBC
(I have heard that the activities do not work well but the videos are okay - Canadian Content!) - www.cbc.ca/ottawa/esl/

LingQ is another ESL site that literacy students may find useful and fun. You can learn a new language or you can practice reading and vocabulary in English. You can listen and read along with stories on a variety of topics and build your own list of words you want to practice. You have to register and there is a fee for some things but you can access quite a bit of content for free. - www.lingq.com/

Of course there is a lot of content on the CBC especially at
Documentaries - www.cbc.ca/documentaries/
and the Digital Archives - archives.cbc.ca

At the National Film Board site you can watch full-length NFB documentaries, animations and dramas online - beta.nfb.ca/

The Learning Edge - www.thewclc.ca/edge

the Northern Edge - www.nwt.literacy.ca/resources/northernedge/edge.htm

and the Learning Beacon - www.ns.literacy.ca/TheLearningBeacon/index.html

Native Drums - nativedrums.ca

Four Directions Teachings - www.fourdirectionsteachings.com

Audio of poets reading poems at Poets.org - www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/361

Or at the PoetryFoundation - www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audio.html

Links to Stories by Learners - www.nzliteracyportal.org.nz/Stories+by+Learners/#

Media That Matters - www.mediathatmattersfest.org

Bristol Stories - www.bristolstories.org

Stories for Change - storiesforchange.net

The Center for Digital Storytelling - www.storycenter.org/stories

The Organic City - www.theorganiccity.com/wordpress

StoryCorps - www.storycorps.net/listen

Six Word Memoirs at Smith Magazine - www.smithmag.net/sixwords
examples of literacy student 6-word memoirs here: alphastory.blogspot.com/2008/02/6-word-memoirs.html

Frankenstory stories are collaborative. You only get 40 words. You write the first part of a story. You send it on to your friend but they can only see the last few words you wrote. They write the next part in 40 words, send it back to you and you are done. - frankenstory.com

Alan Watts Theatre - the ideas of Alan Watts animated by the South Park guys at www.freshminds.com

Today's Document presented by the National Archives (US)- daily articles related to this day in (mostly US) history with lesson plans and related articles - www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc

And of course there is YouTube - www.youtube.com
and 70 signs of 'intelligent' life at YouTube from OpenCulture - www.oculture.com

Many school boards block YouTube so students at school board programs cannot see the videos. Some do not block TeacherTube.

Teacher Tube is here: www.teachertube.com/index.php
And a CommonCraft article about TeacherTube is here: www.commoncraft.com/teachertube-educators-workaround-online-video

You can find more ways to use You Tube videos if they are blocked at your work here.

If you want to make your own content:

Squidoo is a "publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create "lenses" online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest--and snap it all into focus." - www.squidoo.com.

At Mixwit - www.mixwit.com - you can make mixed tapes online. And at the blog of proximal development you can see how Konrad uses this technology to inspire students to reflect on reading. Mixwit is gone but there is Mixtape - mixtape.me and MyFlashFetish - www.myflashfetish.com.

At xtranormal - www.xtranormal.com - you can turn text into cartoons (PoMo Cloze).

At jottit - jottit.com - you can create and edit text online. It is kind of a miniwiki. (defined).

At jing - www.jingproject.com - you can download software that
instantly captures and shares images and video from your computer to anywhere. It is a great way to create instruction videos.

At chatzy - www.chatzy.com - you can create an easy to use chatrooms with 1 click that are deleted when you are finished chatting.

At enjoysthings - enjoysthin.gs - you can start an easy-to-use social network by saving and sharing things that you enjoy as you roam the internet.

At Jott - jott.com - you can call a phone number and they will capture your voice, turn it into text, and send it to the destination you chose (email, twitter, your to do list...).

Plinky - www.plinky.com - makes it easy for you to create inspired content. Every day they provide a prompt (i.e. a question or challenge) and you answer. They make it simple to add rich media and share your answers on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

Here are 50+ web tools you can use to create your own web-based story: http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools

And for more lists...
Larry Ferlazzo makes “The Best…” lists where he highlights what he thinks are the best educational websites each year. He updates each list in an ongoing way. I have not explored every link but have found some pretty interesting stuff there that I am anxious to try out. You can find the lists on Larry's blog.

And when you are all done - My AwardMaker is a free, quick and easy site to print out certificates for all types of activities: sports, school, business, etc - www.myawardmaker.com

Links working on April 29, 2009

our blogs of note

Check out some of our faves from the Blogosphere...
(updated March 28, 2008)

I have not updated this list since March 2008. Blogger introduced a blog feed and I added that to our sidebar. Some of the blogs below - the ones that have particular relevance to literacy workers - are included in that feed. The feed shows the 5 blogs that have been updated most recently. Click on the 'show all' link to see the complete list.

In no particular order:

Good Learner Blog: Learners - What Literacy is About
(full disclosure: literacies publisher moderates this blog)

Good Canadian Literacy Blogs:
Learning Outside the Lines: Adult Literacy in Ontario
Literacy Talk (PEI Literacy Alliance)
Yukon Literacy Blog

Good Action-Research: qualities - communities - literacy (New Brunswick)
(Wendell is also a Literacies author. See Literacy as a Barrier to Health/Health as a Barrier to Literacy)

More Good Action-Research: blog of proximal development

More Good Practitioner Blogs: Skills for Life Blog (UK) and realife (Australia!)

Good Work: LearningWork
Good 'How policy affects women's training and work': The ACTEW Blog (Ontario)

Good Literacy and Technology: LiteracyTech Blog
Good Education and Technology: OLDaily (Online Learning Daily)
Good Educational Technology: Beth's Blog , The Ed Techie
and Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
Good Internet Practice: Community Bandwidth and Michael Geist

Good Data: Freakonomics
Good Correlation: Gladwell

Good Community StoryTelling: Media That Matters, Bristol Stories, Stories for Change, The Center for Digital Storytelling and The Organic City
(these are not all blogs but they are blog-like in that they are stories by people who might not be published in the MSM ~ mainstream.media)

More Good Stories: Comeuppance and Combe Martin

Good Writing Prompts: The Center for Improved Living
Good Words: Word Imperfect

Good Poetry: lambent gal and for poetry changes nothing

Good Things: 3 for 365
More Good Things: Boing Boing
Good Fun: Ze Frank and Bent Objects

Good Secrets: PostSecret
Good Finds: Found Magazine

Good Lefties: Vast Left Wing Conspiracy , Dodosville and Growing Gap



Hi there Literacies readers, authors,
and all who have an interest in
adult literacy research in practice,
Welcome to the Literacies Cafe.

Tannis Atkinson, the Literacies editor,
and Tracey Mollins, the publisher, will post updates and information to this blog.
We invite committee members, authors, researchers
and practitioners to post information, ideas or reflections here.
Please let us know if you have something you would like to post.
If you have questions for us, post them as comments
so we can answer them.
Tracey Mollins

finished coffee