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“I know I have those tools because of fandom”: The digital literacy development of a Sherlock fan

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This paper reports on a case study of the informal language and digital literacy development of a Sherlock Holmes fan who participated in fan communities on Twitter and Tumblr for the purpose of spoiling, a fan practice defined as the discovery and sharing of plot elements. Presented at EPAL, 7 June 2018, Grenoble, France.

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“I know I have those tools because of fandom”: The digital literacy development of a Sherlock fan

  1. 1. “I know I have those tools because of fandom”: The digital literacy development of a Sherlock fan Shannon Sauro Malmö University @shansauro l ssauro.info l shannon.sauro@mau.se
  2. 2. “A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional conviction about someone or something famous...” (Duffet, 2013, p. 18) Photo credit: Sake Jager
  3. 3. Online fandom: “the local and international networks of fans that develop around a particular program, text or other media product” (Sauro, 2014, p. 239)
  4. 4. CALL in the Digital Wilds Online informal learning of English (OILE)/Apprentissage informel de l’anglais en ligne (AIAL) (Toffoli & Sockett, 2010) Extramural English (Sundqvist & Sylvén, 2014)
  5. 5. Digital Literacies “the modes of reading, writing and communication made possible by digital media” (Hafner, Chik & Jones, 2015, p. 1) Art: Foxestacado
  6. 6. A Few Fan Practices • Anime and manga consumption • Fan site web design • Debating and modding • Amateur translation • Fanfiction • Spoiling (see Sauro, 2017) Art: Foxestacado
  7. 7. Anime consumption inspired and enhanced Japanese learning which inspired further engagement with Japanese anime (Fukunaga, 2006)
  8. 8. How a fan and L2 learner of English developed a new textual identity through regular correspondence in English around the design of a fan website for a Japanese pop singer. (Lam, 2000)
  9. 9. The advanced leadership and academic literacy skill development of a 13- year-old engaged in debate and moderating discussions in online forums and fan sites. (Curwood, 2013) Art: pennswoods
  10. 10. Case studies of ESL learners’ use of fanfiction in anime fandoms to transition from novice writer in English to successful writer, and the bilingual fanfiction writing practices of Finnish fans of American TV shows to index multilingualism and global citizenship. (e.g. Black, 2006; Lepännen et al, 2009) Art: pennswoods
  11. 11. The development and use of intercultural and L2 language skills of a Spanish manga fan who engaged in amateur translations (scanlation) of Japanese manga from English into Spanish in an online fan community. (Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2015) Figure 2 (Valero-Porras & Cassany, 2015, p. 11)
  12. 12. Spoiling “…the purposeful discovery of crucial developments in the plot of a fictional story of a film or TV series before the relevant material has been broadcast or released.” (Duffett, 2013, p. 168)
  13. 13. Case Study of a Sherlock Fan To explore the informal L2 language learning and digital literacy development of a Sherlock fan.
  14. 14. Steevee’s Fan History 2009 • Joined Supernatural Fandom • Joined Twitter; Created a fan FB page 2010 • Joined Torchwood and Doctor Who fandoms • Created a fan Tumblr 2012 • Joined Sherlock fandom 2013 • Began reporting on filming of Sherlock #setlock Art: Foxestacado
  15. 15. “As we have noted, motivation is never simply in the hands of the motivated individual learner but is constructed and constrained through social relations with others” (Ushioda, 2008, p. 157) Art: Foxestacado
  16. 16. I tried to shift my accent from American English to British English. I tried to learn to write colour with ‘ou’ and so on. And I started to watch Doctor Who and Torchwood. Those were my next two big fandoms. (Interview, 14 December 2015) …it was the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the English language. That was it for me. I was so stoked. I’m going to get online and I’m going to talk to people and learn English. And I’m going to learn new words. And I used to sit there with a notepad next to Twitter and write down words I’d never seen before, look them up, learn them. (Interview, 14 December 2015) Art: Foxestacado
  17. 17. Twenty-first century skills include critical thinking, information literacy, global citizenship. (Suto, 2013) Art: Foxestacado
  18. 18. “Many young people today consider what exists on the Internet freely available raw material to be used however they see fit. Moreover, tools for copying and modifying this raw material are simple and abundant. What is distinctive about the digital environment is not borrowing per say … but rather the sense that borrowing does not require an acknowledgement.” (Chun, Kern & Smith, 2016, p. 69) Art: Foxestacado
  19. 19. That was the first thing I learned on Twitter, basically. How not to steal anybody’s tweet because I got yelled at for copying and pasting because that’s what I knew. (Interview, 14 December 2015) I had no idea what Tumblr was about until I got yelled at…And from then on I knew, you give credit. You reblog. You can tag some things. So somebody took me by the hand, and I’ve taken hundreds of people by the hand over the years, letting them into the fandom on Tumblr, so to speak. Don’t steal anybody’s art. (Interview, 14 December 2015)Art: Foxestacado
  20. 20. Symbolic Competence “the ability not only to approximate or appropriate for oneself someone else’s language, but to shape the very context in which the language is learned and used” (Kramsch & Whiteside, 2008, p. 664) Art: Foxestacado
  21. 21. Due to the massive increase of hits and followers due to setlock, I somehow became someone who was consulted on various things and I realized that if I wanted to help/give answers etc., I’d have to make myself understood in the way I wanted to be – that’s when my answers got longer and more in-depth, as I wanted to make sure my arse was covered XD (Email, 7 January 2016) Art: Foxestacado
  22. 22. The non-native speakers are really the lose canon because they might understand something incorrectly because of their own lack of knowledge of the English language or sarcasm or whatever is being used as a metaphor for example. (Interview, 14 December 2015) Art: Foxestacado
  23. 23. “…a vast amount of information is now available in written form and this writing varies tremendously in terms of quality and trustworthiness. When learning to read, language learners need to develop a host of information management strategies: how to find texts online, evaluate those texts, distinguish genuine from fake websites, and so on.” (Hafner, Chik & Jones, 2015, p. 1) Art: Foxestacado
  24. 24. “The first thing for interviews that I usually look for is who’s the author, what else have they written and how have they written it. Are they trying to create some panic or some sort of media attention…. What is the paper trying to reach, the writer trying to reach with it? Did they have their own agenda because they always do....Trying to take a step back and for me not immediately joining the gossip and rumour fun but rather waiting for a minute or two and trying to critically approach everything, especially where it’s from, what is the agenda behind it, what is their usual reputation regarding fandom.” (Published Podcast Interview, 6 January 2015) Art: Foxestacado
  25. 25. I know I have those tools because of fandom. To think differently. To think critically. Especially to try to see it from a different point of view. And fandom has provided me with so many tools regarding my own everyday life and also accepting the other lives around me as part of the whole. (Interview, 14 December 2015) Art: Foxestacado
  26. 26. Meanwhile, in London 1. Experience working with clients from multiple countries 2. Social media savvy 3. Internet research skills 4. Native writing skills in both German and English. (Job Announcement, 20 June 2016) Art: Foxestacado
  27. 27. Acknowledgements Sherlock Graphics Fox Estacado of The Art of Fox Estacado: Fine Fan Art and Geekery (artbyfox.storenvy.com). All rights reserved and used in this presentation with permission. Photographs of #setlock Shannon Sauro.
  28. 28. References Black, R.W. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-learning, 3, 180–184. Chun, D., Kern, R., & Smith, B. (2016). Technology use, language teaching, and language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 100 (Supplement 2016), 64-80. Curwood, J.S. (2013). The Hunger Games: Literature, literacy and online affinity spaces. Language Arts, 90(6), 417-427. Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom: An introduction to the study of media fan culture. New York/London: Bloomsbury. Fukunaga, N. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222. Hafner, C.A., Chik, A., & Jones, R.H. (2015). Digital literacies and language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 19(3), 1-7. Kramsch, C. & Whiteside, A. (2008). Language ecology in multilingual settings. Towards a theory of symbolic competence. Applied Linguistics, 29(4), 645-671. Lam, W. S. E. (2000). Literacy and the design of the self: A case study of a teenager writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 457-484. Lepännen, S., Pitkänen-Huhta, A., Piirainen-Marsch, A., Nikula, T., & Peuronen, S. (2009). Young people’s translocal new media uses: A multiperspective analysis of language choice and hetero-glossia. Journal of Computer -Mediated Communication, 14, 1080–1107. Sauro, S. (2017). Online fan practices and CALL. CALICO Journal, 34(2), 131-146. doi: 10.1558/CJ.33077 Sauro, S. (2014). Lessons from the fandom: Task models for technology-enhanced language learning. In M. González -Lloret & L. Ortega (Eds). Technology-mediated TBLT: Researching technology and tasks, (pp. 239-262). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L.K., (2014). Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden. ReCALL, 26(1), 3-20. Suto, I. (2013). 21st Century Skills: Ancient, ubiquitous, enigmatic? Research Matters. A Cambridge Assessment Publication,15, 2-8. Toffoli, D., & Sockett, G. (2010) How non-specialist students of English practice informal learning using web 2.0 tools. ASp, 58: 125-144. doi: 10.4000/asp.1851 Ushioda, E. (2008). Language motivation in a reconfigured Europe: Access, identity, autonomy. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 27(2), 148-161. Valero-Porras, M.-J., & Cassany, Y. (2015). Multimodality and language learning in a scanlation community. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 212, 9-15. Slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/Shansauro

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