New Literacies: Changing Knowledge and Classroom Learning was first published in 2003 by Open University Press (Buckingham and Philadelphia). It was commissioned by Shona Mullen, who was at that time the Editor for the press's Education list. The book was to be a free standing book, not a part of any of the existing book series that Open University Press was running at the time.
A very short time after publication Open University Press was incorporated into the McGraw-Hill publishing group, and with that change Shona Mullen became McGraw-Hill's European Manager for Education . Fiona Richman took over Shona's position and continued to work with us on this book, as well as commissioning our 2004 book, A Handbook for Teacher Research.
Open University Press maintains its original name, but its publishing locations were shifted to Maidenhead (Berkshire) in the UK and to New York in the US. New Literacies obviously benefited from McGraw-Hill's marketing and distribution range and experience. It was reprinted in 2004, and in mid 2005 a second edition was contracted, under the care of Kirsty Reade and Fiona Richman.
At the time of establishing this set of web pages the ink has dried on the contract and work is beginning on the new edition. We are scheduled to have the manuscript to the publishers by March 2006, with a view to publication around September 2006.
We are building this website as a resource to accompany the passage of the book from the first to the second edition. In particular, a lot of material contained in the first edition will disappear in the second edition. When the book was originally conceived it was with the hope that there would be a chance to keep updating it through multiple editions. As is obvious, what is 'new' becomes 'old' in time. And much of what is new in new literacies is quickly superseded. Under current and foreseeable conditions, one could reasonably expect the shelf life of an edition to be less than five years.
At the same time, we think it is worthwhile trying to maintain something of the chronology and 'historicity' of the book, since it does attempt to exemplify those new literacies that are current at the time of writing. Should the book run to further editions beyond the second we would hope that the successive editions will capture something of literacies in change over a 10 year period.
Yet, as one edition displaces another, the original edition goes out of print, and people who may, in future years, wish to have access to what was said about 'earlier new literacies' will not always be able to get ready access to what came before. Hence, this website where we hope to be able to archive material that is displaced in the new edition of the book.
We want also to use the website to convey something of the life of the book as a project, a work in progress. This will include our accounts of what we are trying to do with the book, the challenges we face in doing the work, our reasons for some of the decisions taken, and so on. Furthermore, at this early stage of working toward the new edition we are also hoping it may be possible to develop an interactive dimension to the book. We would like to develop spaces where other people can make comments, offer suggestions, relate any experiences they may have of working with the book, and where we can interact with student and teacher users of the book. How much of what we envisage for this kind of work ends up on this site remains to be seen. This site may become the test bed for a more elaborate resource.
Meanwhile, the present site takes up with the contract signed and the hard work to be done.