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Bridging divides through technology use: transnationalism and digital literacy socialization

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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

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.

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2011

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Language policy, ideology, and identity: a qualitative study of university-level Chinese heritage language learners

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This research investigates the experiences of Chinese heritage language learners (CHLLs) in a federally funded program of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language in the United States. Most pertinent studies on Chinese heritage language education focus on stakeholders such as

This research investigates the experiences of Chinese heritage language learners (CHLLs) in a federally funded program of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language in the United States. Most pertinent studies on Chinese heritage language education focus on stakeholders such as teachers and parents. Instead, this study explores the agency of heritage language learners in their efforts toward heritage language maintenance. Adopting a three-pronged conceptual framework of language planning and policy as a sociocultural process, language ideology, and language identity, this study applies an ethnographically-informed qualitative approach to understanding how CHLLs develop and exercise implicit language policies—taken-for-granted norms about language that guide their language choices and practices—their language ideologies that undergird these policies and the relationship of these informal policies to these learners’ language identities.

This study suggests CHLLs participate in Chinese learning activities to reconnect to their family and culture. Their language maintenance efforts, however, do not necessarily change their language use dramatically. In CHLLs’ everyday social interactions, their language choices depend on the interlocutors, locations and topics of the conversation and are impacted by the dominant language ideologies toward Chinese and English. CHLLs’ Chinese language maintenance practices strengthen learners’ relationship with both the language and culture. But Chinese language can be absent from learners’ pursuit of their cultural heritage. Furthermore, the multilayered identities of CHLLs are constructed and negotiated in the heteroglossic and multicultural environments.

This is an endeavor in connecting the initiatives of increasing foreign language capacity at the national level with the efforts of maintaining heritage language at the individual level. This study can contribute to a holistic picture for teachers and parents to understand CHLLs’ language learning experience. It also offers strategies that can benefit heritage language education.

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Date Created
2016

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Spontaneous wanderers in the digital metropolis: a case study of the new literacy practices of youth artists learning on a social media platform

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This qualitative case study of 12, eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds from seven countries provided insight into the learning practices on an art-centered, social media platform. The study addressed two guiding questions; (a) what art related skills, knowledge, and dispositions do community

This qualitative case study of 12, eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds from seven countries provided insight into the learning practices on an art-centered, social media platform. The study addressed two guiding questions; (a) what art related skills, knowledge, and dispositions do community members acquire using a social media platform? (b), What new literacy practices, e.g., the use of new technologies and an ethos of participation, collective intelligence, collaboration, dispersion of abundant resources, and sharing (Knobel & Lankshear, 2007), do members use in acquiring of art-related skills, concepts, knowledge, and dispositions? Data included interviews, online documents, artwork, screen capture of online content, threaded online discussions, and a questionnaire. Drawing on theory and research from both new literacies and art education, the study identified five practices related to learning in the visual arts: (a) practicing as professional artists; (b) engaging in discovery based search strategies for viewing and collecting member produced content; (c) learning by observational strategies; (d) giving constructive criticism and feedback; (e) making learning resources. The study presents suggestions for teachers interested in empowering instruction with new social media technologies.

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Date Created
2012