Writing in place: A case study of secondary school students' appropriation of writing and technology
Linda Yanevich Tallman, The Ohio State University, United States
The Ohio State University . Awarded
High school students in the United States need to know how to write clearly and concisely in order to pass state mandated assessment tests and college entrance exams, and to compose essays for college applications. Despite decades of writing research and changes in pedagogical methods for teaching writing, however, many high school students continue to struggle with writing. Additionally, the nation's schools have been wired for technology as a way to reform schools and to prepare students for future careers in a global economy. Implementation of computer related technologies resulting in large-scale changes to classroom practices, however, have been minimal.
In this study the researcher employed qualitative methodology framed by socio-cultural theories including activity theory and communities of practice to investigate the ways in which 9th and 10th grade high school students took up literacy learning during the second semester of a public urban charter high school's first year of charter. This school was founded upon notions of experiential learning and alternative education and organized around a two schools model. Students spent the better part of each Tuesday and Thursday at one of seven experiential learning sites within the larger community. In addition to assignments for their ‘regular’ courses, and work at their site, the students were to complete an end of semester research project related to the site on a topic of interest to them.
The author found context to have a significant effect on students' literacy learning, particularly with regard to appropriation of writing and computer technologies for school related purposes. The students' previous and current ‘places’ positioned them and thus affected the literacy practices students could take up. Students' positioning, then, further shaped these students' sense of identity as evidenced by their discourse about writing and technology as well as through the writing students produced and the technology they were able to appropriate across activity settings; e.g., school courses and experiential learning site.
Tallman, L.Y. Writing in place: A case study of secondary school students' appropriation of writing and technology. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University.
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