Media + Literacies + Identity

My experiences at the Digital Youth Network had a major influence on my work when I moved to Pittsburgh. I extended the work from DYN on identity, literacy and media production to classrooms in a local charter school. I collaborated with an amazing high school teacher to understand his effort to develop high school students’ high-level media literacies (i.e. to be critical consumers and constructive producers of media) in English Language Arts. This was done through observing and documenting two course assignments and students’ experiences with them. These assignments included a creative writing narrative and a visual media project (e.g. movie trailer, poster). Results showed that the opportunities to develop high-level media literacies served as pivots for developing new identities and figured worlds (Holland, et al., 1998). High-level media literacies became tools for evoking students’ identities as writers. I expanded on Holland et al.’s (1998) and Vygotsky’s (1978) concept of pivots by suggesting pivots can be more than artifacts. Despite artifacts playing an important role in the course, it was the development of literacies that was pivotal in developing new identities as constructive media producers.



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