LRA Pesidential Address for 2013, Richard Beach, President


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Understanding and Creating Digital Texts through Social Practices: describes research on social practices of contextualizing, interacting, making connections, collaborating, criticizing, and constructing identities through uses of digital texts, for example, use of Diigo annotations for interacting in response to texts or online discussions on Ning for collaborative argumentation.

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  • In classrooms, texts are often perceived as decontextualized, autonomous print entities Rather than perceive texts as decontextualized, autonomous print entities, texts can be
    perceived as actions or spaces that provide resources for students to engage in certain social practices. As Canagarajah (2013) notes, texts are actions or performances of social practices:
    Performance emphasizes that literacy practices are not about giving meaning to a preconstructed and preexisting text. Such practices are the text. The Internet has introduced new forms of textuality and brought out our capacity to read and write in performative ways. (p. 44)
    He also notes that texts are spaces for collaborative construction of knowledge:
    Textual meaning does not reside solely in language or texts, but in all the resources of the
    texts and context. There is thus a strong sense of performativity, as the content is not
    given but co-constructed. More importantly, the status of readers and writers gets
    redefined, as everyone is both a reader and a writer, sharing mutual responsibility in the
    construction of meaning. Invention and creativity are not left to a single writer but
    distributed, as multiple readers and writers invent the text… Although a textual object
    exists, it is not “autonomous” or independent. It is an affordance for meaning-making, in
    relation to other ecological resources. (p. 44 - 45)
  • Jim Gee (2013) cites the example of experiment in which people are given pictures of a hammer, a saw, a log, and a hatchet and asked to select the item that doesn’t belong, leading many to select the log since it wasn’t perceived as a tool like the hammer, saw, and hatchet. However, some people, particularly those with less schooling picked the hammer, because they perceived the saw and hatchet as connect to working with a log. People who picked the log were applying an abstract contextualization based on the category, “tools,” while people who picked the log were contextualizing based on their everyday experiences of working with wood. Gee critiques the presupposition that the hammer group people are smarter or more advanced because they contextualize according to abstractions, given that we are continually contextualizing in different ways. As he notes, there is no such thing as abstract thinking in the sense of thinking that is context free. We humans, no matter how smart we think we are, are all bound to context. But we are bound in different ways. (p ).
    Kris Gutierrez (2012) critiques remedial instruction as presupposing a ““cognitive reductionism” the attempts to fix students (Rose, 1988), calling for an alternative on the re-mediation of the contexts themselves designed to foster learning. Such re-mediation emphasizes alternative possibilities for students through participation in third-space contexts in which students assume the role of experts in challenging the contradictions in society, leading to their transformation.
    historicize the concept is instantiated in the community
  • As Michael Cole (1996) argues, thinking of contextualization as a one-time experience derives from the notion of contextualizing as a container, as opposed to an open-ended evolving, recursive activity unfolding over time. As people experience a text or an event they are continually revising their contextualizing as they encounter new aspects of a text or event. They are also encountering challenges to their status quo beliefs, expectations, and assumptions that lead to further revisions. This is particularly likely to happen when you switch roles from one activity system to another, for example, from a researcher who might accept certain finding to a classroom teacher who may wonder about whether some practice may actually work in the classroom.
    Recontextualizing occurs because contexts are continually evolving. As Lindstrom (1992) notes:
    Context is a field of power relations. It is not, however, a frozen field. Context rolls as people talk. Preexisting discourses and discursive conditions do set limits but they are never totally determinant. People can occasionally say the unsayable. They can contest the context, by evoking, available alternative or competing discourses. (Lindstrom 1992: 103) (Prior, 20 ,p. 135)
    The unfolding nature of recontextualizing occurs as reverberations across time. For example, you may be recontextualizing what I’m now saying to apply to your own research context, for example, a study of elementary students’ reading practices. As you recontextualize that study to redefine some ways of analyzing your data, you may then go back to what I said to critique my ideas, a further reverberation of contextualizing unfolding across time and space.
  • Practices are the recontextualized by framing the practice in repeated ways across time. Van Leeuwen cites the example of the practice of the family preparing child for the first day of school, a researcher engaging in practice of interviewing child, the researcher writing up the results from the interview, the researcher publisher a report about the first day of school, and then the researcher’s report or a news article may be read by educators or parents about aspects of the first day of school. So, each step involves recontextualizing the initial practice of the first-day-of-school experience. With each recontextualization, there’s the substitution of new elements in the discourse—the discourse becomes more particular or more general. And, the discourse my delete or exclude certain aspects of a practice, or rearrange descriptions of a practice. And, the discourse may add new elements—a focus on the repetition of actions, reactions by participants, articulations of purpose, and legitimizations and evaluations of the practice. For example, as you experience and leave this conference, you may use discourse to recontextualize the practices of attending or presenting in sessions, revising each version of that experience in different ways.
  • Interest in textual meaning has also surfaced with the promotion of so-called “text-dependent” questions by David Coleman and Susan Pimentel (2011) in their instructions to publishers for creating questions in textbook geared to meeting the Common Core State Standards. They posit that these questions should focus on the texts themselves—in Coleman’s oft-quoted metaphor, that “such reading focuses on what lies in the four-corners of the text (p. 4). These questions do “not rely on any particular background information extraneous to the text nor depend on students having other experiences or knowledge.”
  • With the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the topic of how texts mean has revolved around “text complexity”—and the need to go beyond Lexile scores to identify a text’s difficulty, where based on that score, Captain Underpants is assumed to be more difficult than Of Mice and Men (Collier, 2013, p. 7), to focus on the tasks associated with use of the text and students’ abilities, as well as working with text sets with a range of complexity.
    It is also echoed in Pearson & Hiebert (2013) discussion of attempts to measure text complexity, measures that have not addressed the actions students employ in a certain task when using a text, actions that could influence the degree to which a text is actually considered “complex.” Students engaged in the task of learning how to play a video game may have less difficulty reading a highly “complex” paratext about that game than having to read a poem to analyze use of figurative language in that poem.
  • Moreover, literary historians, who examine the larger shifts in literary texts over time, take an equally dim view of close reading of texts. Franco Moretti (2000; 2013, co-head of the Stanford Literacy Lab, posits the value of distant reading:
    The United States is the country of close reading, so I don’t expect this idea to be particularly popular. But the trouble with close reading (in all of its incarnations, from the new criticism to deconstruction) is that it necessarily depends on an extremely small canon. This may have become an unconscious and invisible premise by now, but it is an iron one nonetheless: you invest so much in individual texts only if you think that very few of them really matter. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. And if you want to look beyond the canon (and of course, world literature will do so: it would be absurd if it didn’t!) close reading will not do it. It’s not designed to do it, it’s designed to do the opposite. At bottom, it’s a theological exercise—very solemn treatment of very few texts taken very seriously—whereas what we really need is a little pact with the devil: we know how to read texts, now let’s learn how not to read them. Distant reading: where distance, let me repeat it, is a condition of knowledge: it allows you to focus on units that are much smaller or much larger than the text: devices, themes, tropes—or genres and systems. And if, between the very small and the very large, the text itself disappears, well, it is one of those cases when one can justifiably say, Less is more.
  • Think pair share -- make some predictions -- what might happen? Base it on your own work with kids, what might their patterns of interaction look like?
  • When reading individually, Abby was characterized as the Thoughtful Gatherer who carefully chose relevant sections of text to attend to and gathered pertinent information as she read. Starfish was termed The Aesthetic Summarizer who often expressed concern or empathy as she read.
    However, when reading in collaboration, those tendencies appeared to shift. This data suggests that as the dialogue unfolded, Starfish was modeling integration for Abby, with Abby ultimately taking up this strategy as her own. Through the act of collaboration, Abby appeared to gradually take on a new role as The Purposeful Summarizer.
    With Abby actively integrating as the pair read, Starfish appeared to become more active in monitoring the pair’s reading. Starfish shifted her stance too from that of an aestetic summarizer to a new role as The Reflective Analyzer, wherein she appeared to more actively monitor idea gathering in an ongoing way, the dyad was more efficient and skilled in reflecting on the task.
  • Archived data.
  • Writing about his students in a course, “The Search for Intimacy in the Age of Facebook,” Andrew Reiner (2013) notes that:
    Parts of their lives that that truly matter to many of them during college—high marks and solid “A” social lives—are undermined by a widespread, constricting social anxiety that comes, paradoxically, from two of their greatest pleasures: texting and social media. A small but growing body of evidence suggests that excessive social media use can lead to an unhealthily fixation on how one is perceived and an obsessive competitiveness. (p. 38).
  • LRA Pesidential Address for 2013, Richard Beach, President

    1. 1. Understanding and Creating Digital Texts Through Social Practices Richard Beach, LRA Presidential Address
    2. 2. New management firm ❖ Founded in 1984 ❖ Located in Altamonte Springs, Florida ❖ Executive Director: Lynn Hupp
    3. 3. History and Association Management Experience • 28 Years in the Industry • 15 Current Professional and Trade Association Clients • 26 Credentialed Employees Specializing in all key areas of Association Management
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    5. 5. LRA Distinguished Scholar presentation Keith Rayner, University of California, San Diego Eye Movements in Reading: Implications for Teaching Reading Thursday 2:00 Bishops Art Rm 7
    6. 6. Summary ❖ Texts as actions/spaces ❖ Digital texts: affordances ❖ Social practices mediated by uses of digital texts ❖ Research questions ❖ Research methods for studying social practices
    7. 7. Handout: Links and references ❖
    8. 8. QR: Handout
    9. 9. Texts as Actions/Spaces Performance emphasizes that literacy practices are not about giving meaning to a preconstructed and preexisting text. Such practices are the text. The Internet has introduced new forms of textuality and brought out our capacity to read and write in performative ways. (Canagarajah, 2013)
    10. 10. Continuum: Text meaning • Static Dynamic • Fixed Open • Monologic Dialogic
    11. 11. Monologic texts: 19th Century India
    12. 12. Affordances: Digital texts ❖ Multimodality ❖ Revision/copy-paste/remix ❖ Interactivity
    13. 13. Multimodality: print or digital
    14. 14. Revision/copy-paste/remix
    15. 15. Interactivity/“spreadability”
    16. 16. Texts: Jenkins: Spreadability ❖ Attention economy ❖ “Stickiness”: attention in centralized places (broadcast media) ❖ “Spreadability”: dispersing content through formal/informal networks ❖ “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.”
    17. 17. Affordances in activity mediated by digital texts ❖ Affordances not “in” digital texts ❖ Affordances created by teachers ❖ Activity leads to texts
    18. 18. Affordances: Social practices ❖ Contextualizing and recontextualizing ❖ Interacting with others ❖ Making intertextual/intercontextual links ❖ Collaborating with others ❖ Adopting a critical engagement stance ❖ Constructing identities
    19. 19. Contextualizing/recontextualiz ing ❖ Prior knowledge and experience ❖ Beliefs and attitudes ❖ Purposes and goals ❖ Reframing (Goffman,1974, Andrews, 2011) ❖ Re-mediating (Gutiérrez, 2012)
    20. 20. Contextualizing words words
    21. 21. Steps in recontextualizing (Blommaert, 2005) ❖ Decontextualizing: removed from context ❖ Recontextualizing: place in new context ❖ Entextualizing: analyze as new text
    22. 22. Recontextualizing: evolving, recursive process over time Text
    23. 23. Van Leeuwen (2008): Recontextualizing accounts of the first day of school Interview with child: first day of school Write up analysis of interview data Report or news article on first day of school
    24. 24. Rap Genius: Annotations
    25. 25. Kurt Coban’s suicide letter
    26. 26. ❖ Interactive Fiction Little Red Riding Hood app from Nosy Crow Press
    27. 27. 70% of top-selling apps: Preschool/elementary level
    28. 28. “Text-dependent questions” “The Standards strongly suggest that a majority of questions posed to children be based on the text under consideration…, not rely on students’ different knowledge backgrounds.” Authors of the Common Core Standards in ELA/Literacy
    29. 29. “Text-dependent questions”: Meaning lies in the four corners of the text (Coleman: directive to publishers) Text Meaning
    30. 30. Common Core: “Text Complexity” No one seems to have addressed the question of what students do to demonstrate their understanding of a text…a prima facie analysis suggests that task has to matter: Asking middle school students to identify the topic of a chapter out of a high school life science text is likely easier than asking them to critique E.B. White’s use of symbolism in Charlotte’s Web (Pearson & Hiebert, 2013).
    31. 31. Recontextualizing/remediation of curriculum: Leander (2009) ❖ “resistance” to using digital literacies ❖ “replacement” of old literacies with new ❖ “return” to older print literacies ❖ “re-mediation”use digital literacies to transform uses of print literacies
    32. 32. Recontextualizing reading (Leu et al., 2009) ❖ Reading as writers to produce multimodal texts ❖ Reading within social contexts to achieve uptake ❖ Reading to produce texts as actions and spaces
    33. 33. Social practice: Interactivity
    34. 34. Pew: Increase in Texting
    35. 35. Pew: Device use in class
    36. 36. Interactivity: Subtext: book discussions
    37. 37. Interactivity: Google+ Hangout
    38. 38. LRA Research Repository: LRA website
    39. 39. LRA Research to Practice Show: disciplinary literacies (November), graphic novels (December)
    40. 40. Survey: Print vs. e-book Yearbook (n = 388/ 28%)
    41. 41. Survey: Costs considerations
    42. 42. Cross-cultural interactivity: Space2cre8
    43. 43. Pew: Teachers: Students having an audience
    44. 44. Civic Engagement: Audience Out the Window Project in Los Angeles Youth create videos for 7 millions bus riders Pose questions related to civic issues
    45. 45. Interactivity: Social networking ❖ Social presence: Sense of comfort/engagement ❖ Sense of potential audience uptake ❖ Sense of agency/change: something at stake
    46. 46. Online Role-play research (Beach & Doerr-Stevens, 2011) ❖ formulated arguments: should access to certain websites be blocked? ❖ adopted roles and created fictional bios ❖ challenged each other’s arguments
    47. 47. Social-networking: Ning
    48. 48. Mapping: Roles and relationships
    49. 49. Creating Persona: Emo Girl • I think the internet usage policies are ridiculous. The policies are almost impossible to find. I spent half an hour trying to find them and I'm a young, computer savvy person
    50. 50. “Strict Father” persona: Charles Hammerstein • The issue with sites like YouTube is that it is a helpful site when used correctly, but the ratio of students who would use it to the students who would abuse it would greatly favor the later of the two. R-rated sites are not ok because they usually contain information and content that may be considered offensive. The internet policies are very clear, if your grandmother would not appreciate it, then you probably shouldn't be doing those kind of things at school.
    51. 51. Value of collective activity I'm realizing that a few students working together to create change on a subject they feel passionate about can actually make a difference, whether it be in the school or community.
    52. 52. Question: How do students establish a sense of social presence and agency through online interactions?
    53. 53. Connectivity: Intertextuality ❖ Navigation of hyperlinks ❖ Connecting the dots ❖ Transfer of meaning across contexts (Intercontextuality, Bloome, et al., 2005)
    54. 54. Wiki annotations to a Munro story (Dobson, 2009)
    55. 55. Connectivity: Distant Reading ❖ Value of distant reading, Franco Moretti: Stanford Literacy Lab ❖ Digital/database analytics ❖ Patterns: Numerical representations
    56. 56. Readers’ connections
    57. 57. Reviewers’ connections on Amazon: Infinite Jest
    58. 58. Voyant: Analysis of Moby Dick
    59. 59. Use of data to inform interpretation whale Ahab
    60. 60. Mapping student’s intertextual connections ❖ Current texts previous texts ❖ Links based on genre conventions, topics, themes, author, etc. ❖ Database for assisting students in making selections
    61. 61. Question: How does use of digital texts mediate students’ ability to make connections?
    62. 62. Collaboration ❖ Modeling of alternative response strategies ❖ Building on individual responses to create composite responses ❖ Applying alternative perspectives to generate broader interpretations
    63. 63. Acquiring strategies from each other: Think Pair Share (Corio, Castek, & Guzniczak, 2011)
    64. 64. Findings: Shifts in Abby and Starfish’s Individual and Collaborative Stances Thoughtful Gather Purposeful Summarizer Aesthetic Summarizer Reflective Analyzer
    65. 65. Methods: Participants Three classes of 7th graders (n=68). School Demographics 67% Latino, 17% African American, 8% Asian, 3% white 73% free and reduced lunch 62% English Language Learners
    66. 66. Methods: Data Collection Unit on wind energy produced by wind turbines Hands-on activities making wind turbines and measure output of energy pro article arguing that wind power has a number of positive benefits 2 articles arguing that wind power is not cost effective and has negative effects
    67. 67. Affordances of Diigo: Collaborative Annotation
    68. 68. Results: Diigo Annotations ❖ 34% questioning, ❖ 22% integrating/connecting, ❖ 13% evaluating, ❖ 10% determining important ideas, ❖ 9% inferring, ❖ 8% reacting to other’s comments, ❖ 4% monitoring
    69. 69. Alternative perspectives derived from annotations I am perplexed in choosing if wind energy is a good source or bad source. While wind energy is a good source because it’s renewable and needs nothing more but construction, it can also cause irritation and attention of some people. Wind turbines are loud, noisy, and risky. Even though, it doesn’t cause any greenhouse gases in the air, wind turbines are harmful to wildlife and space. More birds die by getting hit by wind turbines which is very dangerous to our wildlife.
    70. 70. Equivocation: Alternative perspectives I am perplexed in choosing if wind energy is a good source or bad source. While wind energy is a good source because it’s renewable and needs nothing more but construction, it can also cause irritation and attention of some people. Wind turbines are loud, noisy, and risky. Even though, it doesn’t cause any greenhouse gases in the air, wind turbines are harmful to wildlife and space. More birds die by getting hit by wind turbines which is very dangerous to our wildlife.
    71. 71. Benefits of annotations Focused, targeted reading Inquiry-based responses Collaborative argumentation Acquiring alternative perspectives
    72. 72. Teacher: Value of collaboration This is natural way to build community through content so you don’t have to plan something extra, you’re creating dialogue…it provides an opportunity for more kids to be participating especially if you have a large class, it’s impossible for every kid to be heard, but in a setting like this every kid has a platform to be heard in terms of equity.
    73. 73. 2013: 6th grade: Mindmeister, Diigo, and VoiceThread ❖ Difference between weather versus climate ❖ Multimodal affordances ❖ Collaboration
    74. 74. Affordances: Organization/Multimodality It organizes your thinking. When you put in bubbles you could tell the difference and you can put it on each side that you think it is. It’s better than writing because you can think of more ideas when you’re using that and you can put images when you’re explaining.
    75. 75. Affordances: Collaboration You can communicate with other people like if you have a question or a comment on other people’s sticky note or if they have a question you can clarify. Sometimes the people who you know they don’t know the answer but if you post it online a lot of people will be online then they will probably answer for you.
    76. 76. Teacher: Multimodality The multimodal aspect of this helps kids gel their understanding and further their understanding of whatever their particular part of the carbon cycle was in a way that was not as rich had we been doing a whole class discussion or another reading on the carbon cycle or all watching a video.
    77. 77. VoiceThread: Multiple audiences share responses to images
    78. 78. Analysis: VoiceThread Annotations 77%: inferences about relationships between phenomena 23%: description of phenomena in the images
    79. 79. Question: How does use of digital texts mediate productive collaboration?
    80. 80. Critical Engagement ❖ Emotions driving use of digital texts (Lewis & Causey) ❖ Frustrations: coping with competing systems (Engestrom, 2001)
    81. 81. Creating Persona: Emo Girl • I think the internet usage policies are ridiculous. The policies are almost impossible to find. I spent half an hour trying to find them and I'm a young, computer savvy person
    82. 82. Judith Rosario, President, Youth Against War and Racism Club (Online role-play) I fight for what I believe in and will take stands against issues, even if the rest of the student body is too afraid to. . . . I don’t take anything lying down…I came to see how a person could come to feel so strongly about privacy in the academic setting. At the beginning, I saw the blocking of websites an educational benefit that would only help students, not hurt them. I thought that blocking websites that are crude or vulgar should simply guard students against features that they would not want or need to access at school, but then I looked further into it. The school blocks sites such as YouTube that can actually be used by teachers as an educational asset.
    83. 83. Google autosearch: “shouldn’t,” “cannot,” etc.
    84. 84. Question: How do certain emotions evoked by digital texts precipitate critical engagement?
    85. 85. Identity construction: Online impression management ❖ Concern with how others perceive one’s online identity ❖ Need to be perceived in a positive manner ❖ Need to be continually connected and responsive
    86. 86. Research methods: Analysis of social practices ❖ Activity as the primary unit of analysis ❖ Inquiry-based, open-ended framing of activity ❖ Use of social practices to collaboratively construct knowledge
    87. 87. Mediated discourse analysis (Jones & Norris, 2005) ❖ ❖ “Nexus of practice”: Same set of actions/practices as shared, aggregate meaning Shared understanding of how digital text/tool use mediates use practices
    88. 88. Research methods: Analysis of social practices ❖ Conflation of assessment versus description of use of social practices (Ellis, 2013) ❖ Ability to make connections (analysis of CCSS “text sets” connections) ❖ Computer scoring of Smarter Balance/PARCC writing assessments
    89. 89. Conflation: Digital “people analytics”: Class Dojo app
    90. 90. Class Dojo: “Positive behaviors”
    91. 91. Class Dojo: “negative behaviors”
    92. 92. Feedback for Cameron
    93. 93. Knack: Games for assessing dispositions/practices for hiring
    94. 94. Balloon Brigade app
    95. 95. Longitudinal research: Selfreflection on social practices ❖ Long-term changes in social practices ❖ Digital repositories/e-portfolios: track changes in social practices
    96. 96. Digital texts as descriptive data ❖ Digital annotations ❖ Digital mapping ❖ Wikis ❖ Blog posts ❖ Games
    97. 97. Digital inequality: Class differences Significant differences in middle school students’ online reading comprehension ability according to the economic status of their school district (Henry, 2007) Significant effects of SES on college students Internet use for information seeking (Hargittai, 2010)
    98. 98. Research agenda ❖ Acquiring social practices: Economic and social success in a knowledge economy ❖ How use of tools fosters use of social practices
    99. 99. Dreaming the future 50 years ago ❖ Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation. John F. Kennedy