Volume 2 [issue 2], 2010


Digital Culture & Education: Classroom perspectives

Thomas Apperley & Christopher S. Walsh


Students’ engagements with, and exposure to, digital cultures and technologies have important implications for teaching and pedagogies. Questions arise in this constantly changing terrain, not just about content, but also what tools—both digital and analogue—best support learning. This issue of Digital Culture & Education (DCE) brings together research that focuses on learners’ and educators’ encounters with, and use of, digital culture. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this issue steps beyond the pragmatic interests of present educational policy to consider the wider issues of digital culture’s influence on classroom teaching and learning.

Linkages between motivation, self-efficacy, self-regulated learning and preferences for traditional learning environments or those with an online component

Daniel P. Auld, Fran C. Blumberg, and Karen Clayton


This study assessed 96 law school students’ preferences for online, hybrid, or traditional learning environments, and their reasons for these preferences, learning strategies, and motivational orientations. A discriminant analysis revealed that non-traditional learning environment familiarity, self-efficacy, and employment status were the strongest predictors of preferences for non-traditional learning environments. Preferences for traditional environments were attributed to students’ familiarity and ability to engage in and foster personal interaction. Preferences for hybrid and online environments were attributed to opportunities for enhanced learning given the convenience and flexible manner in which students with time and familial constraints could access these environments.

Digital publics and participatory education

Brian J. McNely, Christa B. Teston, Garrett Cox, Bolutife Olorunda, and Noah Dunker


This article—a collaborative exploration between instructors, students, and members of the broader, digital classroom community—explores how the strategic incorporation of sociotechnical networks and digital technologies facilitates literate practices that extend the classroom in productive ways. The article builds toward coauthors’ reflective practices (Schön, 1983), or “participatory perspectives”, had during an undergraduate English Studies course at a mid-sized, public, American university. Specifically, participants argue that these literate practices afforded not just information sharing, but the opening up of a traditional classroom to include broader digital publics and collaborative knowledge work (Spinuzzi, 2006). Toward this end, we ground literate practice in scholarship that attends to public writing in online spaces, and theoretically frame our argument using Jenkins et al.’s (2006) principles of participatory education. We then detail the specific curricular approach deliberately designed to create digitally connected publics and end with generalizable significance of coauthors’ participatory perspectives.


MoViE: experiences and attitudes—Learning with a mobile social video application

Pauliina Tuomi and Jari Multisilta


Digital media is increasingly finding its way into the discussions of the classroom. Particularly interest is placed on mobile learning—the learning and teaching practices done with or via different mobile devices. Learning with the help of mobile devices is increasingly common and it is considered to be one of the 21st century skills children should adapt already in early stages in schools. The article presents both qualitative and quantitative study on mobile social video application, MoViE, as a part of teaching in biology and geography in 8th and 9th grades. The multidisciplinary data was processed to answer the following question: How did the use of mobile videos promote learning? The actual research question is however twofold: On one hand, it studies the use of mobile videos in mobile learning. On the other hand, it sets out to investigate the implementation of mobile video sharing as a part of the teaching and learning activities.


Copyright, digital media literacies and pre-service teacher education

Michael Dezuanni, Cushla Kapitzke, and Radha Iyer


This article considers copyright knowledge and skills as a new literacy that can be developed through the application of digital media literacy pedagogies. Digital media literacy is emerging from more established forms of media literacy that have existed in schools for several decades and have continued to change as the social and cultural practices around media technologies have changed. Changing requirements of copyright law present specific new challenges for media literacy education because the digitisation of media materials provides individuals with opportunities to appropriate and circulate culture in ways that were previously impossible. This article discusses a project in which a group of pre-service media literacy educators were introduced to knowledge and skills required for the productive and informed use of different copyrights frameworks. The students’ written reflections and video production responses to a series of workshops about copyright are discussed, as are the opportunities and challenges provided by copyright education in pre-service teacher education.

“You should be reading, not texting”: Understanding classroom text messaging in the constant contact society

Sarah Lohnes Watulak


Cell phones are the most ubiquitous communication device owned by young people today, and students’ text messaging during class is a common occurrence in many university classrooms. Analyzing data from a qualitative study involving 34 undergraduate students at a university in the Northeastern United States, this paper seeks to explore: Why do university students text message during class, and what does this tell us about text messaging as a new literacy practice within traditional classroom settings? Drawing on perspectives from new literacies and communication studies, I argue that texting was a meaningful practice for students as it afforded the opportunity for ongoing participation in social networks, and provided a means of exercising power within the controlled space of the classroom.


Critical reading of a text through its electronic supplement

Kieran O’Halloran


A by-product of new social media platforms is an abundant textual record of engagements - billions of words across the world-wide-web in, for example, discussion forums, blogs and wiki discussion tabs. Many of these engagements consist of commentary on a particular text and can thus be regarded as supplements to these texts. The larger purpose of this article is to flag the utility value of this electronic supplementarity for critical reading by highlighting how it can reveal particular meanings that the text being responded to can reasonably be said to marginalise and / or repress. Given the potentially very large size of social media textual product, knowing how to explore these supplements with electronic text analysis software is essential.

To illustrate the above, I focus on how the content of online discussion forums, explored through electronic text analysis software, can be used to assist critical reading of the texts which initiate them. The paper takes its theoretical orientations from the textual intervention work of Rob Pope together with themes in the work of the philosopher, Jacques Derrida.