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The Challenges of Change in Early Literacy Instruction

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Peter Andersson
Katarina Cederlund
Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi
Anna Lyngfelt
Publicerad i SIG Writing: Conference on Writing Research 2014, 27-29 August 2014, University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University, Netherlands
Publiceringsår 2014
Publicerad vid Institutionen för svenska språket
Språk en
Ämneskategorier Utbildningsvetenskap, Didaktik


Research on the perspectives on reading and writing that come together with the digital media age are connected to a couple of different but closely related research fields such as New literacy studies (Street 2003), Multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis 2000; New London Group 1996), Digital literacies (Casey et al 2009) or New literacies (Knobel & Lankshear 2007). Those approaches to literacy undertake a broad and socio-cultural view realized as a shift from print as the primary medium of dissemination towards digital media and an appreciation of the social and cultural change (Jewitt, 2008; Thomas, 2011). Transforming the dominant print-based practices into digital practices raises questions about pedagogies and assessment in literacy education that enable “learners to become creative and collaborative producers, rather than simply consumers, of digital media texts in schools” (Mills & Levido, 2011:81). In the DILS project (Digital Arenas in Literacy Practices in Early Primary School), students at three primary public schools in western Sweden with varying socio-economic backgrounds are being followed from year one to year three. This multi-case research (Yin, 2012) applies “ethnography of communication” (Hymes, 1996) studying the challenges digital technology imposes on early literacy through a range of ethnographic techniques to collect the data: video recordings of participatory classroom observations, semi-structured interviews with teachers and students, workshops and text analyses. In this paper we present analysis of the semiotic and situational choices in technology-mediated composing and peer-response from a cross-border assignment on instructional texts between these three classes. A sample of lectures was analyzed through class room observations, screen-recordings and interviews with twelve focus students. We conclude that visual design is the mode of expression preferred in these early years. The teachers, on the other hand, privilege the print-based mode over other forms of communicating meaning not taking into account the potential affordance of modes and media (Kress, 2003; Jewitt, 2005). We observed a recurrent guidance from teachers instructing students to work in one mode at a time and thus interfering creative and multimodal expression.

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