Education remix: New media, literacies, and the emerging digital geographies

Lalitha Vasudevan
Published Online: May 31, 2010
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Abstract

This article explores instances of youth educating themselves beyond the boundaries of school through engagement with and production of “digital geographies,” or the emerging landscapes that are being produced through the confluence of new communicative practices and available media and technologies.  A framework of digital geographies, which is grounded in theories of spatiality, literacies, and multimodality, is used to analyze the social media practices and multimedia artifacts produced by two court-involved youth, who are part of an ongoing, multi-year ethnography of an alternative to incarceration program.  Attention to digital geographies, and attendant communicative practices, can yield important insights about education beyond the school walls. The conclusion addresses the implications of this research for meaningful educational contexts for adolescents’ literacies and how learning might be conceptualized and designed within school.

Keywords: Literacies, new literacies, digital, youth, social media, geographies, education, multimodality

Biographical Statement

Lalitha Vasudevan is an Assistant Professor of Technology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  She is interested in how youth craft stories, represent themselves, and engage in ways of knowing using different literacies, technologies, and media.  Currently Lalitha is studying education, literacies and media in the lives of court-involved youth using a multimodal storytelling methodology. Her research has been published in Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, E-Learning, Review of Research in Education, and English Education, and she is co-editor of the volume titled, Media, Learning, and Sites of Possibility (2008, Peter Lang).

Email: lmv2102@columbia.edu

Acknowledgments

My thanks to the anonymous reviewers and the editors of Digital Culture and Education for their insightful feedback; to Dana Wilber, Sarah Lohnes Watulak, and Kevin Leander whose responses during earlier discussions of this work were instrumental to its development; to Kristine Rodriguez and Mathangi Subramanian for their research assistance in the study reported here; and to the audiences who raised helpful questions when I presented these ideas at the Digital Media and Learning Conference (San Diego, CA) and the Media in Transition Conference (MIT6, Cambridge, MA).  I am also indebted to the participation of EJ and Joey, who continue to work with me as research collaborators and whose literate lives continue to inspire my ongoing inquiry.


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