Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, and Popular Culture – Revised edition
Edited By Donna E. Alvermann
Chapter 10: “I Think They’re Being Wired Differently”: Secondary Teachers’ Cultural Models of Adolescents and Their Online Literacies
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“I THINK THEY’RE BEING WIRED DIFFERENTLY”
Secondary Teachers’ Cultural Models of Adolescents and Their Online Literacies
Kelly Chandler-Olcott and Elizabeth Lewis
The American media have shown significant interest in young people’s online literacies in the past few years. A columnist in a major paper framed social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace as “drugs” to which youth were addicted (Zimmerman, 2009). “Technology leaves teens speechless,” read the headline for another story about oral communication skills declining among adolescents who text message extensively (Barker, 2006). In spring 2009, reports appeared on television and in print about adolescents’ engagement in sexting, sending sexually explicit pictures of oneself via cell phone or posting them online (Richmond, 2009). The images that emerge from such coverage are of youth who are technologically proficient but whose choices threaten the development of their intellect, language, relationships—even their safety.
Qualitative research in education confirms the centrality of online literacies to many adolescents’ daily lives, but it often presents a more positive spin on their practices than reporters do. Lewis and Fabos (2005), for example, found that teens who participated in instant messaging (IM) demonstrated sophisticated thinking “as they critically analyzed the language of IM in terms of the rhetorical context within which it was framed, and in terms of what the texts could do for them” (p. 493). Other researchers have documented ← 183 | 184 → the value of literacy practices associated with zine...
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