Participation and experiences of reclassified English language learners in a learning management system

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In this study, I investigate how secondary reclassified ELLs use the Learning Management System Schoology in three secondary English classrooms. Particularly, I focus on the digital literacy practices reclassified ELLs

In this study, I investigate how secondary reclassified ELLs use the Learning Management System Schoology in three secondary English classrooms. Particularly, I focus on the digital literacy practices reclassified ELLs use as they navigate Schoology to complete a multi-page research paper. In examining the digital literacy practices of secondary reclassified ELLs who have recently exited the language development program, I add to research in the fields of New Literacies and Multiliteracies, sociocultural approaches to learning, and identity studies.

In this qualitative study, I employed ethnographic techniques (i.e., data collection, participant observation, interviewing, and collection of archived material and digital artifacts stored in Schoology). I drew from communities of practice and identity frameworks to examine focal participants' literacy practices when participating in the online space of Schoology and provided screenshots to showcase this participation. I examined email exchanges that were co-created by teacher and student that demonstrated their reliance on a digital tool to continue the teaching and learning processes. I exhibit screenshots of focal participants' engagement with the revision process as they used Schoology’s and Microsoft Word's digital editing tools. Finally, I examined focal participants' participation in Schoology's online discussion forum to highlight how they revealed aspects of their identities and performed these identities in a mainstream-learning environment as well.

My analysis establishes that focal participants' access to an LMS like Schoology and other digital spaces (e.g., email) supports the language learning and literacy practices of reclassified ELLs. In addition, my analysis of focal participants' digital and communication practices shows that they contributed to their agency, positioned themselves as empowered and knowledgeable learners, and performed the role of "peer as mentor" when providing feedback to their peers. Finally, in my analysis of focal participants' inventories of digital literacy practices, I discovered that their engagement in Schoology for the purposes of learning and communication reinforced their language learning, both traditional and digital literacies, and overall academic achievement. Findings of this study emphasizes the importance of technology integration at the secondary level so that all students have equal access to digital and multimodal ways of learning in today's digital age.