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Digital literacy : new technologies for meaning-making in educational settings

As new techno-literacy practices become embedded in society, they impact on ever younger age groups. The technological environment that children and young people now inhabit directly involves literacy, both in the broadest sense and in the more specific area of lettered representation. This has profound implications for how we conceive of the use of literacy in educational environments and how we plan for literacy curricula. My work focuses on children and young people's on-screen experience and particularly the productive aspect of writing-with-new-technology. I suggest that writers are involved in the production of new kinds of texts, and that these provide opportunities for different kinds of identity performance. Over the last six years I have looked at different ways of theorising changes in written communication and the relationship between these changes and curriculum design and practice. I have documented a change of emphasis in educational responses to digital literacy, a move from concerns about whether to use new technology to how to use it in literacy, and suggest that there is a need for more work that shows how digital writing can be embedded in classroom practice in ways that provide authentic contexts for learning and communication. Because digital writing involves new kinds of skills and new kinds of social practices it cannot simply be grafted on to existing instructional practices and curricular objectives, so through my classroom-based studies I have illustrated some of the possibilities and the issues that are raised by incorporating these practices. I argue that there is a need to re-evaluate the ways in which writing is taught and develop our understanding of what constitutes writing development in digital environments. This will involve more exploration of what experiences, resources and guidance are most helpful in the early stages of literacy in order to build an understanding of the appropriate balance between experimentation, skill instruction and critical engagement with new writing tools and processes.
Date January 2007
CreatorsMerchant, Guy
PublisherSheffield Hallam University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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