gineered and supported, could be used to amplify effective instructional approaches. In some cases, we provide clear supporting evidence; in other cases, the evidence is indirect, and efficacy studies are needed. In virtually every case, translational research will be needed to demonstrate how the technologies can be part of coherent systems of instruction. We point to all of these technologies because of their potential to alleviate some of the barriers adults experience with learning due to restricted times and places of in-person instruction. Rising education costs also make amplification of human effort especially important in fields, such as adult education, that lack a strong funding base.
Furthermore, adults need opportunities to access tools and develop proficiencies that are part of what it means to be literate in the 21st century. As described in Chapter 2, literacy always includes a mediating technology that makes possible the inscription and transmission of words and meanings, whether a stone tablet, a quill pen, a book, a typewriter, or a word processor. What is new in the digital age—and what makes it essential to emphasize the role of new technologies in efforts to promote adolescent and adult literacy—is the unprecedented nature, speed, and scale of change in technologies for literacy that have occurred as a result of the Internet and related information technologies, commonly referred to as Web 2.0.
An assessment by the editors of the Handbook of Research on New Literacies, a compendium devoted to an exploration of new technologies, provides a sense of the vast shifts now occurring as a result of the Internet (Coiro et al., 2009a, pp. 2-3):
No previous technology for literacy has been adopted by so many, in so many different places, in such a short period, and with such profound consequences. No previous technology for literacy permits the immediate dissemination of even newer technologies of literacy to every person on the Internet by connecting to a single link on a screen. Finally, no previous technology for literacy has provided access to so much information that is so useful, to so many people, in the history of the world. The sudden appearance of a new technology for literacy as powerful as the Internet has required us to look at the issue of new literacy with fresh lenses.
Many researchers in literacy and related fields are actively investigating the implications of Internet and related information and communication technologies (ICTs) for literacy, schooling, civic engagement, and work. To name a few such efforts, there is interest in the strategies that readers use for comprehending text online (e.g., Coiro and Dobler, 2007); multimodal text production and comprehension (e.g., Hull and Nelson, 2005; Jewitt and Kress, 2003); identifying and developing new online spaces that provide opportunities for language learning and literacy development (e.g.,