I became fascinated with the The Book of Kells when developing a project for my students three years ago. I wanted to create a project that developed not only my students’ art skills but also their writing skills. Ever since then I have had new appreciation for illuminated manuscripts and the aesthetics qualities of books. So needless to day I was very excited to see The Book of Kells! Although I did have some background knowledge about the book before our field trip, such as it was made by monks and that was created for religious purposes on vellum. I learned some new information today. I never knew about what materials they used to make their paint. I was fascinated to learn that the materials came from all over the world. Additionally, I was unaware of the symbolism that was present on the pages.
Later in the day I found myself pondering the connections between creativity and technology as it relates to The Book of Kells. This book during the 9th century was essentially cutting edge technology. The creativity of monks who created it inspired people. Its purpose was to make information accessible to those who could not read and their awe-inspiring illuminated symbolic illustrations conveyed the meanings of the gospels. I think that at this time in history the cutting edge technology that is available to us not only makes information accessible to more to people (as The Book of Kells did), but it also allows people to express themselves creativity. I concluded that creatively lead to technology in the 9th century and has developed to technology aiding creativity in the 21st century.
Thinking about new literacy it is fascinating to think how technology has advanced our thinking and acquisition of knowledge. The Book of Kells used symbolism to communicate its meaning to the illiterate masses. The pictures and symbols made obvious to the viewer/reader what the text said. Now deciphering meaning it is not always so obvious. This is especially true when we think about reading on the internet. I have learned that online readers need to know that they can not take not things at face value because not everything you read on the internet is true. I know this but students do not always. It is therefore important for me to teach my students strategies for assessing websites for authenticity. These strategies include: Looking for the author of a website, checking to see if the information on the site is cited, and looking for biases or opinions of the author.