NewLits.org is a wiki devoted developing a rich range of specialist resources in the area of new literacies and digital technologies for middle school language arts/literacy educators (typically Grades 5 to 8).

Within this context, “new literacies” mainly refers to literacy practices mediated by digital technologies (e.g., blogging, gaming, social networking), but also includes widespread popular practices newly recognized as literacies that do not necessarily involve digital technologies (e.g., fanfiction writing, live action role-plays).

This professional development wiki was launched using funds proved by the Improving Teacher Quality Partnership (ITQP) project. This was a federally funded, three-year partnership (running from 2006 to 2009) between Montclair State University and East Orange School District, New Jersey (USA). It is now overseen by the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education at Montclair State University. The literacy and technology strand of this partnership focused on providing a range of professional development experiences for middle school teachers in the East Orange School District. While this wiki is a component of this partnership, participation in the NewLits.org wiki is not limited to the project and interested participants from everywhere are welcome to join us.

The NewLits.org wiki has two central aims:
  1. to host and promote a rich and varied range of professional development resources for middle school language arts educators
  2. to support and encourage the meaningful take-up of new literacy practices in classrooms

NewLits.org is built upon the principles of the "wisdom of crowds" and "creative commons". It believes that collaboration among diverse people usually yields a “better” outcome than is achieved by individual experts working alone. It also recognizes the importance of creating resources for educators that are free to use (with appropriate attribution) for non-commercial purposes for enhancing our professional field.
You’re invited to contribute by:
  • Reading contributing authors' papers (these were commissioned specifically for this wiki) and posting your responses to the ideas they advance
  • Uploading resources you’ve developed in your own classroom for others to use for non-commercial purposes
  • Adding links to sites or online resources relevant to new literacies that you think others will find useful
  • Downloading resources posted by others and using them in your classroom; then posting an account of how things went
  • Showcasing your students’ new literacies work
  • Creating a space within the wiki that focuses on a particular interest of yours (e.g., middle school students and lucidly functional language in the sciences; addressing literacy difficulties in middle school classrooms)
  • Creating a space within the wiki dedicated to using particular digital resources in your classrooms (e.g., editing anime music video remixes)
  • Suggesting and actively developing other options (and there are many)

While you do not need to register to visit and read the NewLits.org wiki, we think you'll get so much more from the experience by actively contributing; e.g., by writing articles, producing mash-ups of existing articles, editing pages, and so on. Your contributions are welcomed here. To become a contributor to NewLits.org, see the Getting Started guide and let's have some fun!