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The Role of Technology In Young Adult (YA Literature)
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The Role of Technology In Young Adult (YA Literature)

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  • 1. The Role of Technology in Young Adult (YA) Literature A Non-linear PowerPoint Presentation by Rachel Dobbs Click here to continue
  • 2. Click on the topic that is most appealing… Generation Y Teen Pregnancy Deaf Characters
  • 3. You said ….Generation Y
    • What is Generation Y?
      • Gen. Y refers to anyone who was born after 1980. Also referred to as the “Millennials,” this generation “has lived a distinct way of knowing the world because of their connection to technology.” It has also been defined by Douglas Rushkoff as, “the child born into a culture mediated by television and computer” (7).
    • Characteristics of Generation Y Young Adults:
      • “ As a result of the psychic investment in technology and media, members of Generation Y seem to exhibit “split” selves, creating and projecting alter egos that they can perform” (8).
      • Generation Y’s believe that the “fragmentation and the performance of the self—or many selves—are empowering abilities” (8).
      • Generation Y’s hold the “belief that real life can be as interesting as fiction” (13).
      • “ That is not to say that Generation Y cannot make the distinction between reality and fiction; rather, Generation Y seems most psychically invested in media and technology and conditioned, more than other generations, to respond to virtual and mediated reality in intense, personal, and specific ways, reactions that older generations can only begin to understand” (8).
      • An online poll in 1997 suggested that Generation Y would prefer to be called, if they have to be called something, “Millennials.” However, coming in a close second was “Don’t Label Us,” reflecting a generation [that is at all times] aware of and performing with the spectacle [of technology] but cynical of it just the same” (13).
    Continue Source: Miskec, J. M. (2007, Summer). “YA by Generation Y: New Writers for New Readers.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 7-14. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 4. What does Generation Y have to do with technology in YA Literature?
    • Glad you asked! Here’s a summary of the articles’ main points:
      • Miskec’s article argues that those who are identified as Generation Y come to know the world by their connection to technology, and because of this, traditional literary adult author to adolescent reader relationships are no longer effective (7).
      • Instead, she believes that Generation Y-aged authors, who are still under 30, are more attuned to the ways of knowing and thinking that Generation Y members seem to exhibit. Because of this, young adult literature should be written by young people for young people (7.)
      • She presents her reasons for this by exploring three novels that were written by young people for young people: Be More Chill , written by 23 year-old Ned Vizzini; Doormat, written by 15 year-old Kelly McWilliams; and Never Mind the Goldbergs, by 26 year-old Matthue Roth. All three novels were published in 2004 (8).
      • Using reports from psychoanalysts and material from the novels themselves, Miskec shows why these three novels are different from traditional young adult novels that are not written by Generation Y’s peers. She states that “…these texts work toward including young people in their own ideologies and critique of their place in the world around them instead of telling it to them. The technological sensibility of Generation Y becomes clear as something more than simply their explicit use of technology and more about the distinct convergence of their selves and technology as a combined inextricable thing” (14).
    Continue Source: Miskec, J. M. (2007, Summer). “YA by Generation Y: New Writers for New Readers.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 7-14. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 5. Generation Y in YA Literature - My Perspective
    • “ I’d spent my whole life watching people through a screen, an invisible cellophane coating on the world. Talking to my friends was like reading from a script. I always knew what they were about to say, what tone of voice they would use, and how they wanted me to react” ~Hava from Never Mind the Goldbergs. (Miskec)
    • While I was reading the article, this quote stood out to me for the following reasons:
      • As a Generation Y person, I can relate to this quote, because it describes how my own life has been up until this point. I always played the part that others set for me.
      • As a generation, Y’s are extremely good at manipulating others. I personally believe that this is due in part to the fact that we have witnessed that manipulation being played out in technology, whether it be on a TV screen, during a movie, on a computer, or in a video game. We can do it because technology has taught us how.
      • Because I was continuously play-acting as someone that wasn’t truly me, I have lost sight of who I am. I am still struggling to find the “real” me.
      • From the perspective of someone who has grown up with technology her entire life, the world for me is not just limited to the United States. I feel that I am very much a part of something on a global scale. Everything I do could potentially end up on the internet, and that is a scary thought. The world was never
      • sheltered from me; I grew right along with it.
    Choose another topic OR Click here if you have visitecd all three topics
  • 6.
    • Fact vs. Fiction: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature
    You said…Teen Pregnancy Continue Source: Nichols, K. (2007, Summer). “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 30-38. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 7. The Connection Between Teen Pregnancy and Technology in YA Literature
    • Here’s a summary of the articles’ main points:
      • The author illustrates the gaps between the way pregnancy is portrayed in young adult literature, and the reality that pregnant teens face each and every day. As you saw from the pie charts on the previous slide, there are quite a few discrepancies.
      • As Kristen Nichols so eloquently puts it, “Almost one million teenagers in the United States become pregnant each year, and these same teens’ ideas about sex and related matters are strongly influenced by the media” (30).
      • She argues that these same teens who are learning about sex from the media “also read young adult literature to ‘find out about themselves.’ She goes on later to say that “young adult literature can be a method of receiving information and connecting with the experience” (30), something which is not too far off from what technology does for young teens.
      • She explores the answers to the discrepancies found in reality and in young adult literature by highlighting a selection of twenty novels. Originally reading forty young adult novels that portrayed teen pregnancy, she narrowed down the list by choosing novels based on three criteria: the copyright date (must have been published since 1990), the perspective from which the story was told (pregnant and/or parenting teen only), and the level of reader engagement the story encouraged (31).
    Continue Source: Nichols, K. (2007, Summer). “Facts and Fictions: Teen Pregnancy in Young Adult Literature.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 30-38. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 8. Teen Pregnancy in YA Literature - My Perspective
    • “ Young adult novels often end optimistically, so if authors decide that their protagonists will keep the children, giving the protagonists financial and familial support allows for the “happily ever after” ending. Whatever the reasons behind authors’ representations of character choices, the misrepresentations could mislead the reader” (37).
    • While I was reading the article, this quote stood out to me for the following reasons:
      • While I agree that young adult novels often end optimistically, I do not agree that most of today’s teens would be mislead by that fact. From discussions that I have had with both peers and students that I have talked to in a high school classroom setting, most do not believe in the myth of “happily ever after,” though many confess that they wish they could. It is my belief that my generation is extremely cynical: a fact that I think has as much to do with our daily exposure to the media as it does to our unexplainable link to technology.
      • This quote also stood out to me because I believe that authors choose the “happily ever after” reading to give their young adult readers a sense of closure and a sense that in the end, things can turn out alright. While it can be misleading, I feel that at this tender age in an adolescent’s life, it is important to have something that can ensure that “happily ever after” does exist, and in some cases, may in fact be possible.
    Choose another topic OR Click here if you have visited all three topics
  • 9. You said…Deaf Characters
    • Why should educators care about deaf characters in YA literature? What can their students gain by reading works that contain deaf characters?
      • Imagine this scenario: one of your students requests a list of summer reading recommendations, and her only stipulation is that she wants to read about characters similar to herself.
      • Now, imagine how that her request is complicated by the fact that this particular student is deaf. What do you do?
      • This is the exact situation that author Sharon Pajka-West found herself in when one of her former students, Carla, sent her a request. Her article, “Perceptions of Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature,” serves to answer the above questions, and shows us all how a multicultural, technology driven world has made us aware of and increased our interest in deaf people.
    Continue Source: Pajka-West, S. (2007, Summer). “Perceptions of Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 39-45. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 10.
    • Here’s a summary of the articles’ main points:
      • “ In recent decades…the general public’s awareness of and perhaps interest in deaf people has risen along with that of our increasing multicultural world. Educational legislation has increased awareness of the deaf as has news coverage of Gallaudet University protests” (39).
      • “ In addition, Deaf people have benefited from advances in communicative technology, such as Video Relay (VRS) and instant messaging pagers, more coordinated interpreting services and an increase in awareness of American Sign Language” (39).
      • Paika-West’s research indicates that despite decades of research affirming culturally authentic children’s literature and the merits of multicultural literature, a coexisting body of research reveals the lack of culturally authentic texts (40). Therefore, it is Paika-West’s hope that the study she did can provide educators and readers with a comprehensive list of six contemporary adolescent literature books with deaf characters.
      • As Sharon states in her conclusion, “I hope my research assists teachers in recommending books with characters to which our students can relate and in recommending books with multiple realities of the deaf human experience. When presented accurately, readers learn about a reality often quite different from their own experiences” (44).
    Continue The Connection Between Deaf Characters and Technology in YA Literature Source: Pajka-West, S. (2007, Summer). “Perceptions of Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature.” The ALAN Review , 34, 3 , 39-45. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from dla database.
  • 11.
    • “ Deaf characters in fiction act as role models for young adults. A positive portrayal of deaf characters benefits deaf adolescents whether or not they see themselves as biologically deaf or culturally deaf. Just like my student Carla, deaf adolescents wish to find themselves and their peers in the novel” (Pajka-West 44).
    • While I was reading the article, this quote stood out to me for the following reasons:
      • I feel that all Generation Y adolescents are trying to find themselves in the world around them. Our world today is so chaotic and disorienting to the point where I feel that books can be a wonderful, and even necessary, tool to help students discover more about who they are and what they believe in. In a technology driven world, it’s nice to take some time for oneself, and reading can be a great way to do that.
      • I enjoyed the fact that this article addressed ways that technology has benefited adolescents, through the use of things like texting, instant messaging, and computers. Several of the books mentioned in the article had deaf teens using technology to make their lives better. I thought that was a great way for these novels to connect with deaf students on a persoanl level.
      • I feel that our world today puts a lot of emphasis on “doing what everyone else is doing.” The media is especially notorious for selling products to adolescents by marketing them as being “cool” or through slogans like the age old “everybody’s doing it,” or “everybody’s buying it.” I think that finding good role models in things like novels, could really benefit students in a positive way.
    Choose another topic Deaf Characters in YA Literature- My Perspective OR Click here if you have visited all three topics
  • 12. AHA Moments!
    • Literature and technology do, in fact, have things in common.
    • Sure…books may not always stay true to real life, but isn’t that why we read them in the first place?
    • Who knew that I belonged to a generation that adults have trouble understanding? Does this mean I have discovered the perfect excuse for my behavior? “Sorry Mom, it’s a Generation Y thing. You wouldn’t understand.”
    • But most of all, my biggest AHA moment was figuring out how all three of these seemingly different topics go together. And sure enough, they do!
    THE END!

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