Volume 9 [Issue 1], 2017


The social constructivist mode of operation for personal computing

Frédérik Lesage, Gwénaëlle André


This paper is an exploratory investigation into how social constructivist pedagogical theories shaped the development of personal computing in the mid to late 20th century. There are two main objectives for such an investigation. The first is to highlight the contingent historical nature of the application of these pedagogical theories in the development of human-computer interaction for personal computing. The second is to show how social constructivism as a theory of knowledge that links pedagogy to democratic thinking was implemented as a ‘mode of operation’ by key early designers of personal computing technologies before being taken up and adapted as part of capitalist modes of production and distribution. This account leads us to conclude that the social constructivist mode of operation for personal computing has become a technology of the self that privileges ‘interaction for interaction’s sake’. The paper concludes with a discussion of the consequences of this conceptualisation and analysis for how we understand personal computing as public pedagogy and elaborates potential implications for future research.


Teacher candidates in the urban Canadian classroom: Rereading the digital citizenship paradigm through atom Egoyan’s Adoration

Linda Radford


In this paper, inspired by the challenge Atom Egoyan provides for educators in Adoration, I offer the film as a heuristic to digital citizenship to read two university driven digital initiatives. I argue that digital citizenship is always emerging, and can be understood as a form of currere, where the personal and historical underpin “digital acts” that rewrite the notion of subjectivities as being disembodied in the seemingly atemporal space of being online. As a teacher educator who is part of the Urban Communities Cohort (UCC) team, one of the five different streams incoming Bachelor of Education students choose upon entering the program at the University of Ottawa, I am interested in exploring the concept of currere as it applies to digital citizenship and asking why it matters to urban schools in Ottawa. My inquiry is part of a larger project entitled, Developing Mobile Media Spaces for Civic Engagement in Urban Priority Schools, located in Ottawa, Canada that is supported by Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant

Imagining online research design: Is it connective case study or virtual ethnography?

Grace Pigozzi


Conducting research online that focuses on various writing genres with adolescent authors demands imagination and improvisation as their composition meanders across multiple communities, forums, and expressive modes, while it simultaneously ignores boundaries and creates new spaces. Research of online contexts is crucial as technology plays an increasing role in education policy (CCSSO/NGA, 2010). As unique windows to adolescent online writing, affinity spaces as semiotic spaces are nested between competing cultural entities in which cultural identities across differences of class, gender roles, and values are negotiated (Bhatt, 2008). Affinity spaces have the capacity to create new structures of sociolinguistic and semiotic authority as they redefine approaches to disciplinary learning, and group and individual identity. It is within the discursive spaces of online out-of-school writing that educators can strive to cultivate a similar classroom space for explicit instruction in formal writing. This paper from a study of adolescent writers in an urban Midwestern literacy center compares and contrasts appropriate methods for inquiry as it explores the instructional potential of blogging to engage students more authentically and dialogically than long-established pedagogical practices.


#donttagyourhate: Reading Collecting and Curating as Genres of Participation in LGBT Youth Activism on Tumblr

Jon M Wargo


Interested in the semiotic stretches youth employ to navigate (in)equality online, this paper interrogates the seemingly mundane practices of youth writing with new media to read how “collecting” and “curating” were mobilized as facets of youth activism. By focusing on curating and collecting as two forms of remediated communicative practice, this paper interrogates the taking on of what youth in a larger “connective ethnography” (Hine, 2015; 2000; Leander, 2008) called a #socialjusticewarrior stance. Zeroing in and tracing the connective lives Zeke, Camille, and Jack (all names are pseudonyms) led across their networked connections of writing, this paper illuminates how issues of race, gender expression, and queer identities converged to collect a social justice orientation into the larger Kilgore and San Miguels communities. Comparatively, I provide a counter-story from one young person (Ben) whose curated work of self-presentation fostered a more cosmopolitan version of self. I detail how Ben, in comparison to Jack, Zeke, and Camille curated through the acts of digital literacies to far extend his reach of what cultural justice looked like. Reading the ethos of online activism as a folksonomy, this paper works to stretch the imagination in considering what a tap, swipe, and click may do for architecting and building equity for youth and youth communities

Identity and agency in school and afterschool settings: Investigating digital media’s supporting role

Katie Davis, Anthony Ambrose & Mania Orand


This study documents opportunities for identity and agency experienced by students in urban school and afterschool contexts, with a focus on digital media’s role in shaping these opportunities. We conducted focus groups and interviews with 43 students and six teachers affiliated with an urban public high school and a network of afterschool programs in the United States, as well as participant observations of nine afterschool sessions and three school classes. Compared to school, afterschool programs afforded students greater opportunities for identity expression, with digital media generally playing a supporting role. We found that the institutional constraints and sociopolitical dynamics that shape students’ experiences in school and afterschool contexts are largely mirrored in the ways technology is used in these contexts. Introducing digital media into a setting will not necessarily change these dynamics, though we did see potential for disruption in some afterschool settings. The findings provide new insight into digital media’s role in supporting identity and agency in school and afterschool settings.