In this study, I investigate the digital literacy practices of adult immigrants, and their relationship with transnational processes and practices. Specifically, I focus on their conditions of access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in their life trajectories, their conditions of learning in a community center, and their appropriation of digital literacy practices for transnational purposes. By studying the culturally situated nature of digital literacies of adult learners with transnational affiliations, I build on recent empirical work in the fields of New Literacy Studies, sociocultural approaches to learning, and transnational studies. In this qualitative study, I utilized ethnographic techniques for data collection, including participant observation, interviewing, and collection of material and electronic artifacts. I drew from case study approaches to analyze and present the experiences of five adult first-generation immigrant participants. I also negotiated multiple positionalities during the two phases of the study: as a participant observer and instructor's aide during the Basic Computer Skills course participants attended, and as a researcher-practitioner in the Web Design course that followed. From these multiple vantage points, my analysis demonstrates that participants' access to ICTs is shaped by structural factors, family dynamics, and individuals' constructions of the value of digital literacies. These factors influence participants' conditions of access to material resources, such as computer equipment, and access to mentoring opportunities with members of their social networks. In addition, my analysis of the instructional practices in the classroom shows that instructors used multiple modalities, multiple languages and specialized discourses to scaffold participants' understandings of digital spaces and interfaces. Lastly, in my analysis of participants' repertoires of digital literacy practices, I found that their engagement in technology use for purposes of communication, learning, political participation and online publishing supported their maintenance of transnational affiliations. Conversely, participants' transnational ties and resources supported their appropriation of digital literacies in everyday practice. This study concludes with a discussion on the relationship among learning, digital literacies and transnationalism, and the contributions of critical and ethnographic perspectives to the study of programs that can bridge digital inequality for minority groups.
- Bridging divides through technology use: transnationalism and digital literacy socialization