Year

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Education

Abstract

Children’s lives have changed due to the increased access to, and focus on, information technology in contemporary western cultures. These new technologies enable children to access new forms of content, and they provide them with opportunities to contribute their own digital texts. Despite this, there have been few studies conducted that explore the literacy practices children require to construct digital texts, and fewer that have focused on the construction of digital literary texts, a significant expectation in Australian Curriculum English policy documents.

This inquiry examines the literacy practices of six Year 5 children during the construction of their own digital literary texts. It draws on two events – the children’s deconstruction of two digital literary texts, and the subsequent construction of their own digital literary texts. It explores the literacy practices associated with the children’s experiences, writing practices and resource selections.

Ethnographic principles and collective case study were used in this qualitative inquiry. Data were collected from six Year 5 children and their classroom teacher in a primary school in New South Wales, Australia. The data were collected over a six-week period from interviews, observations, work samples and artefacts.

Two complementary theoretical frames inform this qualitative inquiry; literacy as social practice and new literacies. Together these theoretical orientations recognise how literacy can be mediated by digital technologies and how, as a consequence, new social literacy practices may be needed.

The findings of this inquiry show how the previous literacy experiences of the participants invited particular forms of literate practices. Further how digital literary text construction often demands new and dynamic literacy practices that vary according to circumstances and the context of an evolving digital environment.

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