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Adolescents’ Online Literacies

Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, and Popular Culture – Revised edition


Edited By Donna E. Alvermann

This revised edition of Adolescents’ Online Literacies: Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, and Popular Culture features a variety of digital tools for humanizing pedagogy. For example, the book examines numerous artistic representations of young people’s self-selected graphic novels and fan fiction as part of an in-class multi-genre unit on fandom. This edition makes concrete connections between what the research portrays and what teachers, school librarians, and school media specialists know to be the case in their interactions with young people at the middle and high school level. The contributors of these chapters – educators, consultants, and researchers who span two continents – focus on ways to incorporate and use the digital literacies that young people bring to school.
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Chapter 3: The Literacy Practices of an Adolescent Webcomics Creator


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Stergios Botzakis and Jason DeHart

The current study is a descriptive exploration of how one adolescent used and made his own popular culture texts, extending from the works of cultural theorists like Jenkins (1992), who researched television and movie fans who took up those media texts and used them for their own purposes, what he called “poaching” (a term borrowed from de Certeau, 1984). This study also follows in the traditions of a number of educational researchers who focused on how adolescent youth navigate their lives in terms of popular culture and media consumption in the United States and abroad (Alvermann, 2001; Burn, Buckingham, Parry, & Powell, 2010; Guerra & Farr, 2002; Knobel, 1999; Moje, 2000; Smith & Wilhelm, 2002) and how those interactions inform their literate lives. The multitude of ways literacy is acquired and practiced (Brandt, 2001) points to “the distinctive individuality of each participant and of his or her approach to the cultural universe” (Mackey, 2007, p. 23), and one enterprise of new literacies research (e.g., Lankshear & Knobel, 2011) is documenting and describing these practices. Such literacies practices are myriad, and one consequence of their sheer multiplicity is that they often “jump [their] tracks” (Brandt, p. 9) and go off into unintended, unique directions.

Such a derailment happened to me (Botzakis) in my academic work with an afterschool comic book club at a local high school....

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