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Adolescents’ New Literacies with and through Mobile Phones


Julie Warner

This book provides a deeper understanding of the phone-based composing practices of youth and their implications for literacy learning. In the United States, smartphone use among teens is nearly universal, yet many youth who are avid digital composers still struggle with formal schooled literacy. The widespread and rapid embrace of smartphones by youth from all income levels has had a substantial impact on the way that young people approach the act of composing, yet to date, little to no work has explored digital photography and text curation through popular apps like Twitter and Instagram and their impact on literacy, including formal schooled literacy. As more schools are moving to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models and lifting classroom bans on cellphones, classroom teachers need information about the affordances of phones for formal literacy learning, which this book provides.

This book will also be of interest to those in courses in the fields of education, new literacies, cultural studies/youth culture, literacy studies, communication arts, and anthropology of education/social sciences. This book could be used in a course on online/Internet ethnography. It could also be used in a more general research methods course to illustrate the combination of online and offline data collection. Outside of research methods courses, it could be used in courses on literacies, digital literacies, youth culture, popular culture and media, or mobile learning.

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Chapter 7. Digital Curation



Digital Curation


This chapter defines the practice of digital curation and discusses the ways in which curation is a practice that is easy to engage in with the mobile phone because so much semiotic richness can be accessed with the touch of a button. It shows how the retweeting function in Twitter allows composers to speak through others’ voices with the press of a button (which is much easier than typing a long-form text with the digital keyboard) and engages bricolage and remix. It explores the ways in which this communication is layered: it allows the youth to show agreement with the idea as well as to signal alignment with or to affirm the original poster. Through text curation, the practices of reading and composing are almost collapsed. There is no observed planning, and instead the process is a continuous, fluid one, one in which reader and writer collide, blurring the boundaries between author and audience. This chapter also explores highly inventive youth practices using curation tools.

Keywords: Digital curation, curation, retweet, bricolage, remix, Twitter, curation tools, mobile phone

This chapter explores the practice of text curation, colloquially known as “secondary content promotion,” “reblogging,” “retweeting,” or “pinning.” In this practice of digital curation, digital composers create or recontextualize←127 | 128→ a text using others’ content quickly and fluidly and without permissions or citation. This practice of bricolage or remix is becoming increasingly commonplace around the web; in fact,...

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