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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 8. Critical Digital Literacies



Critical Digital Literacies


This chapter argues the need for a new conceptualization of critical digital literacies in an age where so much youth composing happens in networked digital contexts with and through the mobile phone. Through illustrative data collected over the course of this study, this chapter shows how youth take up marketing discourses used in advertising in digital spaces in their digital composing practice. The chapter closes with a discussion of the need for a kind of critical digital literacy that accounts for reading digital spaces in addition to digital texts especially in an age of curation, meme-sharing, and identity construction with and through digital texts.

Keywords: Critical literacies, critical digital literacies, marketing discourses, advertising, identity, curation, memes, mobile phone, digital spaces

This classroom has “Read 180” stuff everywhere. This is a Scholastic moneymaker. A large poster hangs, “This is a Read 180 Classroom!” “Read 180 Software Station.” “Read 180 Level 1 Books.” “Read 180 Instructional Model.” “This is apparently a derivative of AR (Accelerated Reader).” Some of the Read 180 books are audiobooks. They are mostly YAL (Young Adult Lit). That hardly existed when I was teaching five years ago. A poster on the wall near all the Read 180 Stuff:←143 | 144→

Stay focused on reading your book daily.Complete your reading log entry for the day.Complete the quick write as you come to it while reading.When finished reading book, complete the Graphic Organizer...

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