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The ",field_main_title:"hangout was serious business: exploring literacies and learning in an online Sims fan fiction community

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The purpose of this study is to explore the literacy practices members of an online fan community engage in to participate in the space and to question what learning happens

The purpose of this study is to explore the literacy practices members of an online fan community engage in to participate in the space and to question what learning happens through that participation. This dissertation is the product of a two-year virtual ethnographic study of The Sims Writers' Hangout (SWH), a discussion forum website established by fans of The Sims to support members' interests in creating and sharing Sims fan fiction. Affinity space theory informs an understanding of SWH's organization, and a definition of literacies as situated, social practices also frames the study. Data were collected following a discourse-centered online ethnographic approach, which guided systematic observation and interactions with eight key informants. The data corpus includes hundreds of pages of discussion forum posts, member profiles, moderator-created norming texts, numerous digital, multimodal Sims fan fiction texts, virtual interview responses from informants, field notes, and additional virtual artifacts, such as informants' websites and Flickr® photostreams. Study results are presented within three separate manuscripts prepared for publication and presentation, each exploring different lines of inquiry related to SWH. Chapter 3 focuses on tensions visible in the forum discussions to argue for an expansion of affinity space theory that accounts for the “hanging out” members do in the space. Chapter 4 analyzes one informant's literacy practices using a Design perspective. This analysis reveals the collaborative nature of Sims fan fiction literacies. The final manuscript (Chapter 5) offers an analysis of SWH pedagogy using Bernstein's pedagogic device concept. Data illustrate how pedagogic discourse in this online, informal learning space aligns with and challenges Bernstein's theory. Finally, Chapter 6 offers conclusions about how these three analyses expand our understanding of adolescent literacies and 21st century learning. This chapter also contains implications for theory and practice, recommendations for future research, and reflections on lessons learned.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Analyzing digital literacy demands, practices, and discourses within a library computer programming club for children

Description

Among researchers, educators, and other stakeholders in literacy education, there has been a growing emphasis on developing literacy pedagogies that are more responsive to the ways young people experience literacy

Among researchers, educators, and other stakeholders in literacy education, there has been a growing emphasis on developing literacy pedagogies that are more responsive to the ways young people experience literacy in their everyday lives, which often make use of digital media and other technologies for exchanging meaning. This dissertation project sought to explore the nature of these digital-age literacies in the context of children learning through and about new technologies. Conducting a year-long, multimethod observational study of an out-of-school library-based program designed to engage students in self-directed learning around the domain of computer programming, this project was framed around an analysis of digital-age literacies in design, discourse, and practice. To address each of these areas, the project developed a methodology grounded in interpretive, naturalistic, and participant-observation methodologies in collaboration with a local library Code Club in a metropolitan area of the Southwestern U.S between September 2016 and December 2017. Participants in the project included a total of 47 students aged 8-14, 3 librarians, and 3 parents. Data sources for the project included (1) artifactual data, such as the designed interfaces of the online platforms students regularly engaged with, (2) observational data such as protocol-based field notes taken during and after each Code Club meeting, and (3) interview data, collected during qualitative interviews with students, parents, and library facilitators outside the program. These data sources were analyzed through a multi-method interpretive framework, including the multimodal analysis of digital artifacts, qualitative coding, and discourse analysis. The findings of the project illustrate the multidimensional nature of digital-age literacy experiences as they are rendered “on the screen” at the content level, “behind the screen” at the procedural level, and “beyond the screen” at the contextual level. The project contributes to the literature on literacy education by taking an multi-method, interdisciplinary approach to expand analytical perspectives on digital media and literacy in a digital age, while also providing an empirical account of this approach in a community-embedded context of implementation.

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Date Created
  • 2018