Publication 3107

Murray J. (1998) Information, communication and technology – what can second order cybernetics contribute to the literacy debate. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 5(2): 43–57. Fulltext at
In many parts of the world governments are declaring a crisis in literacy, standards are falling, they say, and whole groups are failing to learn even the basic skills. This paper suggests a new perspective on literacy which takes into account the changing technology of communication as well as Maturana and Varela’s work on the nature of living systems. The paper describes some of the early information and communication theories and traces their development drawing a comparison with the development of literacy theories. The making of connections between cybernetics and literacy suggests that a cybernetic lens might fruitfully be applied to the field of literacy. Finally the paper suggests communication, in a technological as well as a biological sense (based on Maturana’s (1993) definition of communication as “the braiding together of languaging and emotioning’) as a new framework in which to address language and literacy learning in schools.

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