I. Digital

digital wordcloud
In our own teaching, the value of the DALN didn’t lie in its most obvious asset—its function as an archive of literacy narratives—but rather in its ancillary features, which open up opportunities for conversations about expertise, discrete digital literacy skills, research and information literacy, and potentially much more. —Lynn Reid & Nicole Hancock


[Intro music: “Stars Below Us” by spinningmerkaba]

Hello there, listeners, and welcome to Section One of The Archive As Classroom. This section focuses on the digital characteristics of the DALN, and appropriately enough, is titled: Digital.

Theorists and scholars of digital media such as Lev Manovich, Janet Murray, Laura Gurak, and others have long touted the unique affordances of digital media: the increased speed and reach of dissemination; a markedly participatory character; a high capacity for storing and serving data; the ability to flexibly manipulate, move, and transcode original material. The fact that the DALN is first and foremost a *digital* resource makes it a fairly open platform for accessing, analyzing, contributing to, and even remixing its contents.

As we consider the various ways that educators use the DALN in their classrooms and beyond, we asked contributors of this section to consider a couple high-level questions in their explorations and investigations: For one, how does the digital platform of the DALN contribute to your teaching? Also, what approaches to digital media prompt students’ examinations of composition and rhetoric?

Well, the authors in this section set about tackling these very questions, and come away from that scrum with some pretty nifty observations: In this section, you’ll see how the DALN can be used to effectively model new literacy skills for basic writers (and provide a site for those students to contribute their own compositions). Also, you’ll see how the DALN can be used to support scholars’ adoption and utilization of social media tools. Additionally, you’ll see how the DALN can be used as a resource to help first-year students think about their digital literacy practices. Finally, you’ll see how the DALN can be used as a platform to support digital video production as a means of promoting advocacy, activism, and education among refugee students.

Accompanying this podcast introduction, you’ll see links and short descriptions of the chapters included below in this section. Now go and check them out!

[Outro music]


Chapter 1Lynn Reid & Nicole Hancock, “Teaching Basic Writing in the 21st Century: A Multiliteracies Approach”
This chapter examines how use of the DALN can potentially disrupt traditional conceptions of Basic Writing pedagogy through two authors’ distinct experiences. Both authors have used the DALN in attempts to address two concerns: the role of multiliteracies in the Basic Writing classroom and the potential drawbacks of utilizing primarily professionally-composed models with students enrolled in Basic Writing courses. Rather than focusing on the politics of language and literacy that literacy narrative assignments typically emphasize, the authors offer alternative directions that allow instructors to explore 21st century literacies with their students, using the DALN as a resource and a tool.
Hashtags: #multiliteracies, #inclusion
Chapter 2 Janelle Newman, “Understanding Others’ Stories to Find Our Own: Helping Linguistically Diverse Students Analyze, Create, and Evaluate Digital Literacy Narratives”
This chapter explains a digital literacy narrative project completed in a first-year bridge program course for students needing additional support in their English language development. Within this context, students use the DALN project to develop a greater awareness of others’ stories in order to more freely share their own, while expanding their understanding of digital literacy. The assignment not only asks students to write their own digital literacy narratives but also includes student analyses of existing DALN submissions and creation of their own multiple trait grading rubrics. This chapter explains the procedure of the assignment in depth and references sample student texts and responses to the learning experience. The project combines an introduction to textual analysis and the production of multimodal communication in a context where multilingual learners can explore their own literacy histories and identities in a way that encourages them to take responsibility for their own learning.
Hashtags: #inclusion, #reflection, #rhetoricalanalysis
Chapter 3 Mary Helen O’Connor, “Teaching Refugee Students with the DALN”
This chapter describes an experience teaching digital storytelling to refugee students in a traditional college composition course. Using the DALN as a resource for primary research into the literacy practices of refugees and immigrants, students learn to critique the politics and power dynamics of language and literacy. Drawing on teaching practices of modern compositionists (Hawisher, Selfe, Norcia, Shipka, Ball, Wysocki, Hocks), this chapter will chronicle how a digital archive, digital tools, and a digital assignment offer students in my composition class a constructivist approach to learning how to communicate effectively in both print and digital spaces. Teaching digital and multimodal composition challenges traditional academic practices limiting student communication to print assignments. For students new to English, multimodal composition offers new methods for constructing meaning. This is especially important for refugee students for whom these pedagogies offer more a powerful way to control representations of themselves. The DALN also creates a space where refugee students are able to publicly share self-authored narratives of identity and experience—a public space for refugees to reclaim power. This work draws on what scholars of New Literacy Studies and, more recently, scholars of community and everyday literacy have revealed about students from marginalized groups and backgrounds. This chapter attempts to provide fellow compositionists who have access to refugee and immigration student populations insight into how alternative modes of composing (i.e., multimodal composition) can increase student agency, self-efficacy, and overall literacy, as well as provide sample assignments and best practices for those seeking to adopt these pedagogical tools in their own classes.
Hashtags: #multiliteracies, #inclusion
Chapter 4Jen Michaels, “Social Media, the Classroom, and Literacy Sponsorship: An Analysis of DALN Narratives through Positioning Theory”
When teachers introduce new technologies into the classroom, they face a series of challenges: assessing possible technologies, selecting technologies that may support learning, and supporting students as they use those technologies for scholarly purposes. The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives makes it possible to identify behaviors and attitudes that help some teachers feel supported and confident in selecting and leveraging technologies in their teaching. In this article, I model this identification process by analyzing three narratives from the DALN, all submitted by teachers of composition who use social media to support their scholarship. Using positioning theory (Bamberg, 1998, 2007; Harré & van Longenhove, 1999) and the metaphor of literacy sponsorship (Brandt, 1998) as critical lenses, I examine how the narrators describe human mentorship as a contributor to their use of social media to support scholarship. Across these narratives, four shared traits of effective mentorship emerge: 1) the mentor and mentee share an intellectual or practical goal; 2) the mentor seems willing to maintain the mentorship relationship over time; 3) the mentor encourages meaningful choice among multiple technologies that may suit the task at hand; and 4) the mentee perceives the mentor as being proficient with the technology at hand. I demonstrate how these four mentorship traits manifest in the narratives, then consider how they might improve teaching practice. Finally, I explore how positioning theory and literacy sponsorship might be useful frameworks for classroom analysis of DALN narratives.
Hashtags: #facultydevelopment, #reflection, #sponsorship