Volume 8 [Issue 1], 2016


Interests-in-motion in an informal, media-rich learning setting

Ty Hollett


Much of the literature related to connected learning approaches youth interests as fixed on specific disciplines or activities (e.g. STEM, music production, or game design). As such, mentors design youth-focused programs to serve those interests. Through a micro-ethnographic analysis of two youth’s Minecraft-centered gameplay in a public library, this article makes two primary contributions to research on learning within, and the design of, informal, media-rich settings. First, rather than approach youth interests as fixed on specific disciplines or activities (e.g. STEM, music production, or video games), this article traces youth interests as they spark and emerge among individuals and groups. Then, it follows those interests as they subsequently spread over time, becoming interests-in-motion. Second, recognition of these interests-in-motion can lead mentors to develop program designs that enable learners to work with artifacts (digital and physical) that learners can progressively configure and re-configure over time. Mentors, then, design-in-time as they harness the energy surrounding those emergent interests, creating extending learning opportunities in response.


Fluctuating Linguistic Repertoires - Upper Secondary Students’ Blogging As Part Of Learning English As A Second Language

Rhonwen Bowen, Annika-Lantz Andersson and Sylvi Vigmo


This paper presents a case study in which the implications of using social media as part of English as a second language learning are explored. More specifically two principle questions are embraced: how does the institutional setting of a shared blog co-determine the framing of the activity by the students? And what does this framing of the activity imply for the textual interaction and linguistic repertoires that the students use? The empirical material comprise of community documentation of a blog that was created in an international collaboration between two upper secondary classes in Sweden and Thailand. The study is grounded in a sociocultural perspective and the analysis of the blog postings was informed using the conceptual distinctions of frame analysis. The findings show that the students’ linguistic repertoires draw on both the language that is taught in school with rather cultured formulations corresponding to their imagined expectations of fulfilling a school task, but also to their out-of-school codemixing vernacular and jargon which are prevalent in social media. The challenge for education is how to embrace social networking sites without diminishing students’ digital vernacular yet encourage and inspire their parlance in ways that enhance second language learning that may be less present in their digital vernacular but useful in other communicative contexts


Deep assessment: an exploratory study of game-based, multimodal learning in Epidemic

Jennifer Jenson, Suzanne de Castell, Kurt Thumlert, Rachel Muehrer


In this study, we examine what and how intermediate age students learned from playing in a health-focused game-based digital learning environment, Epidemic. Epidemic is a playful interactive environment designed to deliver factual knowledge, invite critical understanding, and encourage effective selfcare practices in dealing with viral contagious diseases, using a social networking interface to integrate both serious games and game-like multimodal design projects. Epidemic invites a playful approach to its deadly serious core concern - communicable disease - in order to see what happens when students are encouraged to critically approach information from multiple or contradictory perspectives. To identify what participants learned while interacting within Epidemic, we deployed two instructional and assessment models, noting the differences each instructional approach could potentially make, and what approach to assessment might help us evaluate game-based learning. We found that each approach provided importantly different perspectives on what and how students learned, and on the very meaning of student success. Recognizing that traditional assessment tools based in print-cultural literacy may prove increasingly ill-suited for assessing emergent multimodal literacies in game-based learning environments, this study seeks to contribute to a growing body of work on the development of novel assessments for learning.


Navigating digital publics for playful production: A cross-case analysis of two interest-driven online communities

Ksenia A. Korobkova & Matthew Rafaflow


This article argues that the set of skills and strategies associated with managing digital publics online represent an emergent literacy practice of importance to literacy researchers and educators. Drawing on two case studies of online communities popular with contemporary youth to learn, play, and socialize, we articulate how youth participants strategically negotiate multiple audiences online with varying levels of publicity in order to achieve learning outcomes. In one case, players of a popular productioncentered video game share their content in ways that garner the specific kind of audience and feedback they need for their projects. In another, members of an online fan fiction community analyze and negotiate expectations of their audience in order to craft media that garners attention and sustains readership. Both examples identify how skills centered on navigating and managing publics – that is, multiple audiences that are permeable across a wider public online – constitute a recognizable and important “new literacy” in digitally mediated learning environments. We situate our empirical studies in sociocultural theories of learning and historicize the work in contemporary digital cultures and the general move from the writerreader relationship to writer-audience relationships to more complex relationships within digital publics. The article ends with considerations for literacy researchers, policymakers, and practitioners interested in technology-mediated practices of today’s youth.


Culture matters ❤ engaging students in redesigning coursework with digital components

Amy Owen


In this study tertiary level curriculum was redesigned to include online and digital components for engaging, motivating, involving and exciting students. An innovative approach is offered that involves students creatively in flexible, adaptable curriculum using cultural and instructional student preferences. Traditional lecture style cultural geography curriculum at the University of Guam (UOG) was redesigned with digital components with assistance from students. UOG students were surveyed for their digital technology preferences. Interviews provided detailed information regarding course delivery preferences. This warranted a curricular shift from content to dynamic, adaptable processes that better fit the instructional needs and preferences of students. Student culture pattern preferences highlighted the importance of connection and quality inter-relating. Undergraduate courses were restructured into living curriculum intended to adapt, including research and inquiry focused projects with highly interactive modular, short, mixed media and mode assignments. I argue the redevelopment of tertiary curriculum along the lines of cultural preferences involves and engages adult learners