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Critical literacy practices in digitalized classrooms

Conference contribution
Authors Anna-Lena Godhe
Lisa Molin
Published in The 11th conference on International Association for Research in L1 Education (ARLE), 15-17 June 2017, Tallinn, Estonia
Publication year 2017
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Subject categories Learning


The rapid development of digital technologies has expanded the traditional notion of text and what it means to read and write. Apart from traditional reading- and writing skills, one must master an extensive amount of texts of many different modalities. This increases the need to take a critical stance towards texts, i.e. critical literacy, which becomes an important challenge for schools. In ongoing ethnographic, qualitative studies, Swedish lower secondary students’ use of tablets is observed and video recorded. The focus of the studies is students’ activities and their opportunities to engage in cross curriculum critical literacy practices. The students’ activities are framed and categorized in relation to Janks’ Interdependent model of critical literacy (2010), and uses the four interdependent conceptual critical dimensions described in the model: power, access, diversity and design/redesign as analytical tools. Freebody & Luke’s (2003) Four Resources Model is also used in order to categorize the reading and writing practices that the students engage in. The findings from the first part of the study suggest that digital technologies may contribute to critical literacy work in classrooms, e.g. extended access to texts, diverse perspectives and multiple opportunities to design and redesign texts. This becomes particularly obvious when the students’ experiences become resources in the activities. However, since tasks and end products designed by the teachers in this study, rarely explicitly focus on critical aspects, students’ critical literacy remains largely invisible and limits the potential for engaging in critical literacy work. A conclusion is that the design of tasks and end products explicitly need to address critical literacy aspects in order to develop critical literacy perspectives in the classroom. By drawing on previous results, a further study will involve an intervention where the classroom task has an explicit focus on critical literacy. Tentative findings of the data from this study, conducted during the spring 2017, will be addressed in the presentation.

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