Digital Writing and the Role of Critical Pedagogy in Preservice Teacher Education

Digital Writing and the Role of Critical Pedagogy in Preservice Teacher Education

Peggy Albers
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4345-1.ch007
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This chapter focuses on writing and the work of design (van Leeuwen & Kress, 2001) in creating digital projects. More specifically, this chapter focuses on a study of the digital writing, and the choices that preservice teachers made when they designed, developed, and wrote one minute Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that addressed social issues they saw operating in adolescent literature. Located in critical multimodality as a theoretical frame, this chapter positions digital writing as a critical endeavor, one that understands that modes are not neutral, and every choice made by the designer/writer of a digital text has intention and purpose.
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More so now than ever, the Internet affords us an ease in writing; we can download photos, music, information, videos and integrate them into multimodal projects and writings. Writers choose from a huge range of media texts, and integrate them into blogs, Websites, multi-genre papers, and videos posted a range of social media sites. With such accessibility, the media choices that writers make must be taken into consideration, especially in light of the messages that these media send. Print and digital-based technologies provide opportunities for textmakers to use a range of modes as semiotic resources to shape processes of making meaning. The move from page to screen (Kress, 2003) has significantly shifted the material and social affordances of modes to carry different parts of the messages for different purposes (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; van Leeuwen, 2005). Further, learners are finding new spaces in which they can produce and re-produce messages using image, sound, video, space, linguistic resources to create complex messages. The new generation of learners is out-of-school creatives, driving how expressive technologies are used and circulated and, as a result, how schools will respond, adopt, and adapt new literacies practices (Vasquez, Harste, & Albers, 2010). Said differently, in schools, learners of all ages are being asked to remix modes to create more complex, and often digital texts, to express ideas and/or learning. The attention paid to the importance of integration of digital resources to create more complex messages has been great (Vasquez, 2010). Although a great deal of work has been done on the significance of new literacies in language arts teaching and learning (Albers, 2011; Alvermann, 2008; Beach & O’Brien, 2009; Hull, 2009; Knobel & Lankshear, 2008; Lankshear & Knobel, 2006; Norris, 2004), much less has been done in the area of analyzing critically the modes that comprise multimodal projects designed, developed and written by students, and even less with those created by preservice teachers enrolled in teacher preparation programs, the focus of this chapter. Uncritical adoption of digital modes for writing has garnered critique (Albers, 2011; Janks, 2010; Janks & Vasquez, 2011). With increased attention to the design of digital artifacts or projects, rather than use of modes to create artifacts or projects (Dobson, 2007), multimodal compositions created in classes across age levels not only must be studied in light of the compositions themselves, but the design choices that are made when composing these digital texts.

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