That Sounds So Cooool: Entanglements of Children, Digital Tools, and Literacy Practices

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Toohey, Kelleen; Dagenais, Diane; Fodor, Andreea; Hof, Linda; Nuñez, Omar; Singh, Angelpreet; Schulze, Liz
TESOL Quarterly
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07-18-2017 3:54 PM
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Many observers have argued that minority language speakers often have difficulty with school-based literacy and that the poorer school achievement of such learners occurs at least partly as a result of these difficulties. At the same time, many have argued for a recognition of the multiple literacies required for citizens in a 21st century world. In this study the researchers examined a specific case in which English language learners (ELLs) made short videos about sustainability and social justice, to determine the diverse literacy practices such activities entailed. The researchers found that children produced storyboards and scripts, and videos with titles, and engaged in several other literacy activities, discussing what made sense in sequencing in a documentary story, what sustainability and social justice meant, how to report on information they had gathered, and so on. They also examined how new materiality theories might assist us in analyzing how ELLs engage in digital literacy activities. These theories encourage us to think about how human beings interact with other kinds of materials to accomplish perhaps novel tasks. With respect to language learning, such a view might challenge our conceptions of language and literacy learning. For new materiality theorists, language and literacy cannot be an out-there kind of thing that learners put inside themselves. Rather, languages and literacies and people and their activities and other materials accompany one another, and are entangled in sociomaterial assemblages that rub up against one another in complex and as yet unpredictable ways.
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