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The Reach of Literacy Research

Posted by Freddy Hiebert on 5 November 2015

In a blog that I follow (“Just a minute”), Laura Vanderkam recently wrote: “every book I get to write is dependent on people having bought the previous ones.”

This statement resonated with me as I grapple with what digital presence means for literacy researchers. Within academe, the commodity has often been the quantity and prestige of publications. Whether anyone reads the things that we write has been less of a concern than “the count” (the number and prestige of publications). A less benign view of the stance of the academic community to publications might be a “Field of Dreams” perspective: “If we write it, they should read it and apply it.”

The opening of the new frontier—the world of the internet—challenges our assumptions as academics (whether the assumption is that the work matters only to a limited few or that the masses owe it to us to read and apply our work). As researchers and teacher educators, we have opportunities as never before to share our work. But these new opportunities bring numerous challenges. How do we navigate this new world? What is the appropriate ratio of knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination? What are the best venues for disseminating knowledge? How do we know if we have disseminated our knowledge appropriately? So many questions…..