Concepts, Assessments, Subversions
Beyond ‘beyond schools’: Young People’s Unsanctioned Digital Media Use In And Around Schools and Classrooms
David Elliott & Scott Bulfin
School classrooms employing digital media are often romanticised as places of revolutionary, technologically augmented learning, despite often replicating the traditional processes and power structures of more typical school environments. Indeed, in order to facilitate formal curriculum objectives, digital technologies are often subject to an expanded set of constraints, limitations, and restrictions, in comparison to more traditional classroom media. These constraints are often in response to a perceived need to protect students from harmful online content, the assumption being that all young people need protecting from online ‘dangers’. In challenging this deficit framing of young people’s ‘digital literacies’, we explore two case studies of the ‘underlife’ of digital learners, in which secondary school students participating in a games-based curriculum used digital media in transgressive ways in order to merge in-school and out-of-school literacy practices. Students engaged in a kind of self-directed digital ‘learning’, employing creative and collaborative strategies in overcoming the restrictions placed on school technology. These underlife strategies drew on a range of tech-based solutions and helped students share knowledge and extend their technological expertise. We argue that this underlife, in which students employ an informally-developed repertoire of techno-cultural skills to subvert school digital regulation, have a range of potentially desirable consequences for both teachers and students.
This chapter presents two case studies of young people’s unsanctioned digital media use in a public secondary school located in a low socioeconomic area in Melbourne, Australia. It uses these cases...
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