There are myriad challenges and benefits from all of these converging characteristics across the board. Whereas pre-internet, student research focused primarily on textbooks and the library's reference section, today there is a wealth of varying quality information available to them. Today, the size of the web is seen as an advantage in its breadth and also as a disadvantage because of the plethora of incorrect and harmful information
The two 'buzz words' that stood out the most in this week's readings were 'VALID' and 'MEANINGFUL.' Manderino (2012) advocates focusing web literacies to specific disciplines rather than using a generic approach. By embedding multimedia sources, questioning reliability and using multimedia as scaffolding for complexly written texts, Manderino totes the benefits of incorporating new voices and perspectives into student learning that connect directly to the curricular area in a meaningful way.
Chapters 9 and 10 of the New Literacies Handbook identify challenges with the validity, thoroughness, meaningfulness of context and navigation of hypertexts in student learning. Students' search behaviors vary; some use keywords, others use browsing. Students with less prior content knowledge may have more difficulty evaluating the validity of sources. Some students may rely on images and videos to gather primary information; others may seem them as purely supportive/superfluous additions to the text. Some students have good spatial ability, others do not.
These challenges should not be minimized, both from the perspective of the classroom teacher and the curriculum writers and policy makers of the 21st century. There has never been a successful one-size-fits-all approach to education, and today's changing technological landscape, prior experience of students and accessibility are merging to continue to ensure that that fact remains the same.