Toward authentic audiences: Blogging in a high school English classroom
Michael Patrick Ayers, The University of Iowa, United States
The University of Iowa . Awarded
Though researchers have discussed adolescents' uses of social media and Web 2.0 texts outside school, little research has analyzed how such texts are used in classrooms. This study examines various perspectives on a group of high school students engaged in blogging as part of two language arts courses over an eight-month period. Research questions focused on how students conceived of and interacted with their readers, how they used structural features of the blogging platform to connect their blogs to one another, and how discourses of freedom of speech online led a few students to transgress school norms. To answer these questions, I studied examples of eighty classroom blogs from my own high school students, conducted interviews with eight students, and maintained researcher field notes. I analyzed this data using a combination of discourse analysis, multimodal analysis, while applying social network analysis to understand how the blogs were connected through the key feature known as Following. My findings suggest that the connectivity offered by Web 2.0 enabled students to reach and communicate with authentic audiences who could recognize and validate their identity performances. Further, I argue that though certain features of Web 2.0 media are incongruous with many conventional classroom norms, teachers should work to bridge those gaps.
Ayers, M.P. Toward authentic audiences: Blogging in a high school English classroom. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Iowa.
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