The 2016 Carolyn D. Baker Memorial lecture will be presented by Professor Annette Woods, Queensland University of Technology

Shifting literacies. What’s new, what do we know, and what are we missing?

It is perhaps intuitive to think about the new forms of literacies and new literate practice required to be successful in today’s spaces of learning and working, as being the result of increasing access to digital technologies and new ways of communicating. We are regularly reminded in education that tomorrow’s workers will need 21st century skills - being adept at working collaboratively for the collective good as an example.  Additionally, access to an increasingly diverse and affordable range of digital tools and smart technologies is changing the ways in which we communicate. Indeed it is evident that more people, across a broader cross section of society, now engage with more text in their daily lives and a more diverse range of modes, text types and genres than ever before. However, Deborah Brandt has recently reminded us of the importance of looking more closely at new literacies in current times in order to see what is really new.  Her work highlights the shift from reading and text comprehension as the mass literacy experience in the everyday, to text production. This may be the most fundamental, if less discussed, shift in literacies in today’s world. And it is the impact of this shift that I will consider in this paper.

I am interested in the possibilities for understanding writing that are opened when we shift our thinking about what is ‘new’ in new literacies. Here I will take a particular interest in how learning to write plays out in schools in communities of high poverty, where providing parity of access to the tools, resources and materials of the digital age remains a challenge. Drawing on data from a current school reform project that investigates learning to write in the early years of school in communities of high poverty and cultural diversity, I will first discuss what we already know about learning to write. Then, in the tradition of Carolyn’s own keen interest in children and their competence, I will share what young children have had to say about learning to write and consider their perspectives in light of broader debates about literacy teaching and learning, new contexts for literacies, and socially just education.

Annette Woods is a Professor in the School of Early Childhood, Faculty of Education at the Queensland University of Technology. She researches and teaches in the fields of literacies, social justice, school reform and curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. She draws on a range of qualitative and quantitative methods in her research and has expertise across a diverse range of analytic approaches including network analysis, discourse analysis and narrative analysis. Her current research is a multi-site qualitative study of learning to write in the early years of school with Comber and Kervin, and a study that investigates how young children narrate their worlds when sustainability and literacy are considered together in prior to school settings with Somerville, Dunn and Rautio. She is also engaged with colleagues Shay, Duthie, Bond, Drummond and Sarra in a Lowitja funded project that investigates the links between cultural identity and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island young people in alternative and traditional secondary schools.

Carolyn was Annette’s PhD supervisor, along with Allan Luke, at UQ which she completed in 2004.

Read more about past Carolyn D Baker lectures and scholarship recipients and see her list of publications.

Read more about Associate Professor Baker.

Time: 5.30 – 8.30 pm on Friday 12tAugust 2016 - Canapes and drinks will be served before and after the lecture

Location: Terrace Room, Sir Llew Edwards Building #14 UQ St Lucia



Carolyn D. Baker Memorial Lecture

Fri 12 Aug 2016 5:30pm8:30pm


Terrace Room, Sir Llew Edwards Building #14 UQ St Lucia