27 SES 08 B, Literacy and Learning
The classroom today exists in a changing media-ecological landscape, where tensions are created between different digital and paper-based literacy practices. The presence of digital resources has led to new conditions for literacy practices present in the classroom and new media ecological relationships (Erixon, 2012; McLuhan 1964/1999; Tanner et al 2017).Previous studies have shown that school's text repertoires are dominated by printed teaching materials (Schmidt, 2013) and that digital tools are mainly used to search information and words (Law, Pelgrum, & Plomp, 2008; Player-Koro, Tallvid & Lindström, 2014). However, other studies also highlight how classroom literacy practices in the connected classrooms bring new challenges to learning and instruction as they emerge in the intersection of increasing individualization processes and the collective framing of the classroom (Asplund, et al; Juvonen et al.). But there is a great need to know more about how teachers and students navigate between digital and analog literacy practices for different purposes.
This study takes its starting point in Knobel & Lankshears (2007) understanding what is “new” in the research field of New Literacies, i.e. New Technical Stuff (NTS) and New Ethos Stuff (NES). Knobel & Lankshear (2007:19) describe "New ethos stuff" as more "participatory," "collaborative," and "distributed" in nature than conventional literacies. This means also that they could be described as collective, multimodal and multifaceted and that they are constantly changing in relation to changing technologies. The major challenge for schools, as pointed out by Lankshear and Knobel (2011), is not to incorporate new technology (NTS), but to relate and orient to the new ethos stuff (NES). In our analysis, we specifically focus on the movement between new technological stuff (NTS) and new ethos stuff (NES) in the classroom literacy practices in the classroom. In relation to new ethos stuff, we mainly highlight two dimensions: aspects related to multimodality and digital resources, and how new literacies bring almost unlimited possibilities to easily collaborate, share and distribute texts in a broader sense. We explore the literacy practices that take shape in connected classrooms, and the shared norms and expectations that are created and related to in these emerging new literacy practices. Some of these shared norms and expectations could be described in terms of didactic contracts (Brosseau, 1997), meaning a relation that shape the patterns, positions and expectations that teachers and students make in relation to certain instructional contents. Here, our interest is directed to how teachers and students in the classroom interaction refers and make relevant different didactic contracts while using digital resources in different tasks, which we suggest could help to deepen the understanding of the challenges that teachers and students face in the connected classrooms. The purpose is to develop knowledge about new literacy practices in classrooms due to the digitalization of upper secondary schools in Sweden and Finland. The research questions are
- How do teachers and students orient to aspects of “new technical stuff” and “new ethos stuff” in using digital resources in classroom literacy events?
- What didactical contracts do teachers and students, explicitly or implicitly, make relevant in these literacy events?
- How could the challenges that teachers and students face in new literacy practices in the connected classroom be understood and described?
In our analysis we use video data from two larger corpuses collected for the projects Textmöten (Finland) and Connected Classrooms (Sweden). The methodological approach in both these studies is video-ethnographic, where a special attention is paid to occasions where students’ smartphones, laptops or other digital devices are used. In total, we have studied classroom activities in three upper secondary schools with a primary interest in studying these activities from the students’ perspective. 15 focus students participated in the studies, where the Swedish students attended theoretical programs in the first, second or third (final) grade (16-19 years) and the Finnish students (aged 16-18) all attended general upper secondary schools ending with a national matriculation examination. The data consist of video-recorded face-to-face interaction and simultaneous recordings of the focus students’ smartphones and laptops, where the smartphone screens have been mirrored and recorded. In addition, we have also recorded the students’ activities on computers and/or with pen and paper during the lessons. In total, the material consists of 163 hours of video recordings. Even though the main focus is on the students’ participation in the classrooms, the video recordings also capture teachers’ verbal instructions to the whole class and desk interactions between teacher and student. As a first step in the analysis, we have selected all lessons where the teacher explicitly refers to digital resources during his/her instructions, which resulted in a selection of 30 lessons. As a second step, literacy events during these lessons were analyzed in relation to what aspects of NTS (i.e. technical aspects of the use of digital resources) and NES (i.e. aspects of participatory, collaborative and/or distributed communicative practices) that could be identified. In the analysis, aspects of NTS and NES were not seen as contradictive, but as intertwined and mutually depending on each other, but where aspects of NES could be more or less used and made visible in the task related activities. As a third step, we have more in detail further analyzed four lessons showing a variation in NES in the task related activities from a very low degree of NES to a more elaborated orientation to NES. The focus has been on what didactical contracts (Brosseau, 1988) that students and teachers orient to and make relevant in their interaction around different tasks, and how different texts (digital or non-digital) interplay in these different literacy events.
The analysis revealed big differences between different lessons and students, where most lessons showed patterns where aspects of NES were limited in task-related literacy practices but more apparent in social uses of digital resources. During most lessons, teachers’ instructions mainly orient to technical or administrative aspects of digital resources, and the students’ use of digital resources does not go beyond what could also have been possible with traditional, analogue resources. The result also shows how both teachers and students spend quite a lot of time discussing technical issues about saving, correcting or finding digital texts. We also found limitations in certain software that brought constraints for how texts could be processed without having to rewrite them. However, we also found some lessons with a higher degree of NES integrated in the task-related practices. During these lessons, digital resources where used for example to make shared collections of student texts, promoting collaborative writing processes or making it possible for the teacher to supervise and take up students’ individual work in the collective classroom discussions. A preliminary conclusion from this study is that a lot of tensions arise between the digital organization of a task and the classroom paper based literacy practices. Partly, this could be understood through differences in didactic contracts, where norms and expectations from traditional paper based literacy practices clash with the didactic contracts that is required in order to make use of the pedagogical potential of connected classrooms.
Asplund, S-B., Olin-Scheller, C. & Tanner, M. Under the teacher’s radar: Changed conditions for literacy practices and teaching in the connected classroom. (submitted manuscript) Brosseau, G. (1997). Theory of Didactical Situation in Mathematics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press Erixon, P-O (2012a). ”Skola och skrivundervisning i ett medieekologiskt perspektiv”. I: Edlund, Ann-Catrine (red.) (2012). Att läsa och att skriva: två vågor av vardagligt skriftbruk i Norden 1800–2000. Umeå: Umeå universitet. Juvonen, R., Tanner, M., Olin-Scheller, C., Tainio, L. & Slotte, A. ‘Being Stuck’. Analyzing text-planning activities in digitally rich upper secondary school classrooms. (submitted manuscript) Knobel, M. & Lankshear, C. (red.) (2007). A new literacies sampler. New York: P. Lang. Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New literacies. Everyday Practices and Social Learning. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. Law, N., Pelgrum, W. & Plomp, T. (2008). Pedagogy and ICT Use in Schools around the World. Findings from the IEA SITES 2006 Study. Springer McLuhan, Marshall (1964/1999). Media. människans utbyggnader. Stockholm: Norstedts. Player-Koro, C., Tallvid, M. & Lindström, B. (2014). Traditional teaching with digital technology. Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education Interactional Conference 2014. Schmidt, C. (2013). Att bli en sån som läser. Barns menings- och identitetsskapande genom texter. Örebro Studies in Education 44. Örebro University. Tanner, M., Olin-Scheller, C., Buskqvist, U. & Åkerlund, D. (2017). Ett papperslöst klassrum? Utmaningar för det uppkopplade klassrummets literacypraktiker. I B. Ljung-Egeland, C. Olin-Scheller, M. Tanner & M. Tengberg, Textkulturer. (red.). Karlstad: Karlstad University Press
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