transnational literate lives in digital times: transcripts


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Following clips from Hannah Kyung Lee's writing process video, we hear Gorjana Kisa: "We came to Sydney actually as refugees." We see papers around a computer terminal, from Ismael Gonzalez's writing process video.

Then Hannah explains, "The beginning of my writing process is usually quite unfocused and can be a bit frightening."

Tessa Kennedy: "I don't have time to go watch TV. I pick up a newspaper if it's around, but I don't make a conscious effort. I probably should, but I don't."

Mirza Nurkic: "I've gotten to a point where I'm earning money now, so I'm buying lots of CDs. For everyone who says file sharing is an equal, it's not."

Following scenes from Ismael's and Yu-Kyung Kang's writing process videos, we hear from Kate Polglaze: "But it is probably Japan that I communicate with people. I have a couple friends in Canada. I have a couple of friends around the United States." The video concludes with still images of Dipo Lashore and Pengfei Song and video clips from Vanessa Rouillon, Synne Skjulstad, and Sophie Dewayani.



Introduction to Chapter 2.1

Mirza Nurkic: All right, I'll tell you a little bit about my family. My mom and dad are married. They're both still with me. My mom turned 50 last year. My dad is turning 50 next year. I have got a sister who is turning 14 in less than a week, so she was born in '93.

Gorjana Kisa: My name is Gorjana Kisa, and I was born in Sarajevo, and I spent around eight years in Sarajevo, and then we moved to Belgrade, where I spent another 10 years, and then we moved to Australia, which was around five, six years ago. Here, I just completed my degree two weeks ago. I completed Biotechnology and Innovation Management.

Kate Polglaze: My name is Kate. I am 21 years old. I've lived in Australia all of my life, mainly in Sydney. I am currently in my third year of university, studying science, majoring in pharmacology, and minoring in Japanese. I have a fantastic interest in both science and languages.

Tessa Kennedy: My name is Tessa Kennedy. I was born in 1988, so that makes me 19 now. I am in my third year in medicine here at UNSW. I sort of wanted to do medicine since I was about 12, I think. Yeah, another three years to go to my degree. I come from Sydney, so I'm actually living only about 15 minutes away from the university at the moment, which is very convenient. I live with my family at the moment. It is much easier just to stay at home really. I've got no good excuse to move out, which kind of a shame because most of my friends actually got apartments nearby, which would be really good to share with them, at some point.



Introduction to Chapter 2.2

Patrick Berry: In this chapter, we present the life histories and literacy narratives of students from the University of New South Wales, undergraduates whom Selfe and Hawisher interviewed in Sydney, Australia, when they were attending an international conference. The conversations were held in an empty classroom that students found at the university. When they met them in 2007, Gorjana Kisa, 24, and Mirza Nurkic, 20, were both well into their studies, thinking about what they might do when they graduated from the university. Several students who were working at the conference had heard about Selfe and Hawisher's digital literacies research and were eager to contribute their stories through life history interviews, which were subsequently done over the better part of two days.



Gorjana on coming to Sydney

Gorjana: We came to Sydney actually as refugees from Belgrade. Yes, so we came five and a half, six years ago. However, in Sarajevo, because of the war, we had to leave our house and all our belongings, and we moved to Belgrade, where we settled once more. However, [in Belgrade] there was another war of 1999…and that's where we had to leave everything all over again, and that's when we came to Sydney.



Gorjana on realizing how material circumstances can change

Gorjana: Well, we just realized that all the material things around us can disappear very quickly and that what's important is that we keep our bonds really strong and that…by just loving each other and understanding each other and being there for each other, we can just keep moving on and just building everything around us again.



Gorjana discusses her parents' educational and professional backgrounds.

Gorjana: My parents are from Bosnia, Sarajevo and as I grew up…we all lived there. My dad is an economist. He has got an economics degree and my mom, she completed three years of law.



Gorjana on her own literate practice

Gorjana: Yes, we all read a lot, actually, and I love reading books, and I read—every time you can find me reading some novel at some time. And yes, we have lots of different books at home, and my parents read a lot as well, as well as my sister. I was reading from early childhood and my mom as well, I remember her telling me about all these books that she used to read when she was really little, and my dad, too. We all read a lot. Even on the Internet, my parents read the news and some articles, same as me and my sister.



More on Gorjana's language practices

Gorjana: And of course we all speak Serbian at home, fluently, all of us. My mom's English is—I think it's pretty good, actually; she works, she can communicate to people just normally. And my dad, he's been really trying really hard to improve his English because he didn't speak English when he came. And I think he is pretty good at the moment—he's doing accounting, and he's pretty good with it now. They do read newspapers ever since we came to Australia. They continued reading, but Serbian newspapers, not English ones.



Gorjana on first learning to read

Gorjana: Before I started school, I started reading, because my mom used to stay at home, and she would teach me. She taught me how to write and read. She would sing and read to me. I started school when I was 6 years old. I already knew how to read and write.



Gorjana on teaching her parents to use computers

Gorjana: Yes, I taught my parents how to use a computer; sometimes I had to write the instructions, how to do it, but as they practiced, they learned a lot more and they were starting to find out things by themselves without asking me, which is great. And at the moment they both use it quite well. I didn't have to teach my sister how to use a computer. She now—I think sometimes now I ask her some questions. As I said, young people, it's amazing: They don't need any help; they just sit there and figure out everything by themselves. My little cousins, 7 and 6 years old, and the moment they sat in front of the computer, they just figured out certain things I couldn't believe. I said, "How—and how did you do this?"…they made a PowerPoint presentation and I said, "How did you do this?" They said, "Oh, you just click around; it's so easy." I couldn't believe it, 6 and 7 years old.



Gorjana on her parents' engagement with digital media

Gorjana: When they need to keep in touch with people—friends and family overseas—it depends really who it is. If it's their parents, they don't have computers or Internet access, so they will always give them a call. If it's some other friends of their age, they send them e-mails, usually, or give them a call, probably not text messages if it's overseas, and it's a very short conversation, you can't get much out of it, so you just avoid doing that.



Gorjana on learning to use computers with her parents

Gorjana: When we bought our first computer, I was the only one using it in the beginning. Then as my sister grew up, she started using it as well. It took a bit of time for my parents to get used to it, and to learn how to use it and what they can actually do with it took a bit of time.



Gorjana on communicating with friends overseas

Gorjana: I have lots of family and friends. I always communicate with them—quite often, actually—and I write e-mails to my friends, and I have a couple of friends to whom I write real letters. And we also meet in chat rooms and sometimes even video conversation, so I can see them and talk to them—all different kinds of new technologies I use to talk to my friends.



Gorjana on what determines the communication mode she chooses

Gorjana: So when I am deciding how to—which technology to use and how to communicate with my friends overseas—I think it's a matter of convenience, and sometimes we talk a lot more if we meet and we can have a chat and have video conversation. We end up telling each other a lot more than just writing an e-mail. It also depends on the level of, how comfortable with technology are some of my friends? Some of them cannot maybe afford to have video camera or something like that so they would just write e-mail or write a letter. It depends also how close I am to the person. Sometimes it's just a short e-mail to congratulate them on something or let them know something or it's—if I really want proper really long conversation then we would arrange something else.



Click on image to view Mirza discussing being Muslim.

Mirza: I was brought up Muslim. I don't consider myself Muslim anymore since about a few years ago. Up till that point, I was more or less Muslim in the way that a Christian is Christian if they don't go to church…I was Muslim in name only, pretty much. I wouldn't eat meat, at home—sorry, I mean pork at home. I did fast during Ramadan, only a few days during the whole month, but I'd say I've still got a sort of Muslim cultural leaning, I'd guess you'd say. But, yeah, I just don't believe in God anymore, so that's why I don't consider myself Muslim.



Mirza discusses his family and the political situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Mirza: My parents moved to Australia because…well, Australia in particular because my mom had an uncle who had lived here in the past, and she had visited him. But they moved because they could see the political situation in the former Yugoslavia was deteriorating, and they wanted to get out before anything happened. So they, yeah, they actually got out before any of the, any of the…tensions really started. They moved here in 1988, in October of 1988.



Mirza discusses his family in the former Yugoslavia.

Mirza: Certainly in terms of my family during Bosnian conflict. Well, my mom is Muslim, and I think my dad is basically a secular Muslim—like he doesn't eat pork but I don't think he's ever prayed in his life. So, yeah, we were definitely on the sort of Bosnian Muslim side, I guess you would say. I do remember during that whole period we would—we had family and family friends come to Australia as refugees, and they would actually stay with us at our house, our flat, when they first arrived until they found somewhere for themselves. And yeah, we had family over there during the conflict, so we were always in touch when we could be. My maternal grandfather died during the war of stomach cancer. So it wasn't like a war wound or anything, but it might have been treatable if it wasn't a war situation. We—when we first moved here, we had family friends from all over the former Yugoslavia, and then when the war started, I think a lot of them we'd lost because they were Serbian or Croatian and they were quite sort of nationalistic Serbian or Croatian, and so we just broke off all contact with them, but then we had some Serbian friends who called up my dad when the war started and said, "Look, if you want to yell at me and scream your head off at me, please do…I feel so horrible about this."



Mirza on his political views

Mirza: I guess by Muslim culture leaning, I mean that in terms of, you know, today's politics and, you know, terrorism, the war on terror and all that kind of stuff, I'm very much sort of—I feel that…Islam and Muslims have been victimized unfairly and while I do know there are terrorists out there who do want to cause damage, I think it's just been a complete overreaction. In terms of my Middle East politics, I'm pro-Palestine, so I guess that's what I mean. But I think I was sort of raised from that sort of ideological perspective, and it is still primarily the sort of the lens through which I view…politics, I guess.



Mirza on his parents' educational and professional backgrounds

Mirza: My parents' education…they both have Ph.D.'s. I am not actually sure exactly in what field. I believe my mom has a mathematics Ph.D., which she got when she was over here, but she had master's education when she arrived. My dad had a Ph.D., I think over in Yugoslavia. In any case, they both were proficient with computers—my mom doing Internet security, banking security, until quite recently, and my dad just doing IT consultancy sort of stuff. I do know that my dad worked with very early computers at university in the 70s and has worked with computers all his life.



Mirza on books in his family's home

Mirza: My parents definitely had a lot of books around the house. We've had a book collection that has grown and grown and grown and grown ever since we been here. They did buy me children's books. The Enormous Crocodile was my favorite children's book, and I think my mother would probably still be able to recite it. The Enormous Crocodile, as I remember it, is about an enormous crocodile who lives in the jungle and who's very mean and who goes to the schoolyard to eat the small children, and eventually all the animals in the jungle decide to gang up on him and deal with the mean crocodile, and I do remember right at the end, the elephant swings him around and around and around and shoots him off into the sun.



Mirza on early literacy experiences

Mirza: How I first learned to read and write—to be perfectly honest, I don't quite remember. I do know, like my parents have told me, that I learned to read from a very early age. So when I was still living in…, which would have been prior to 1992, I was already reading by then. And we actually had a computer at home, it would have been like a 386 or a 486 or something. And I do remember actually writing out in MS-DOS "Nana Fedille," which means "Grandma Fedille," which is my grandmother's name. I wrote NR, so "nana" and then FRDELR because that's how I, you know—like that was when I was maybe two or something like that and you know my parents were incredibly impressed of course, proud as punch and all that kind of stuff. I think they always had a computer as I was growing up. I certainly don't remember a time when we didn't have one in the house.



Mirza on language practices at home

Mirza: I did learn Serbo-Croatian at home. That was the language that I spoke at home, pretty much, and I learned that whenever we had family friends around, with the children I would often speak English, and the parents would come in and say, "Don't speak English; you've got to speak Bosnian," you know. And I've always used Serbo-Croatian at home but increasingly mixed with English because my proficiency [in Serbo-Croatian] isn't quite fluent. I am losing it without practice. But yeah, English, I use English in school and, you know, in the wider world, I guess. But I do remember just an anecdote: When we first got here, in our apartment we had an Australian family living next door to us who had a kidJoshua Brown, about my age—I always used to play with him. And my parents would tell me a story that we were fighting over some toy and we were both yelling, "Daime! Daime!" which means "Give it to me! Give it to me!" in Bosnian. So I obviously exposed him to that language and made him learn it a bit.



Mirza on speaking Bosnian at home

Mirza: As I was growing up [my parents] definitely preferred for me to speak Bosnian at home and certainly when we had, you know, family friends over and guests and things like that, but I think increasingly they've given up because—I mean, I tend to use it when I can, but my sister, who was born here in '93, she understands Serbo-Croatian pretty well, but she can hardly speak a word, or she's too embarrassed to speak a word, really. I think increasingly as well my parents are sort of losing their Serbo-Croatian bit by bit, and they'll insert English words when they forget. I must say…[it's like a?] second language, and I guess particularly because we do visit, you know, go back to Bosnia every two or three years or something like that. They, you know, they would like for me to be able to talk to family over there.



More on language practices in high school

Mirza: The German came in—that was a bit random, really. In Year 7 at high school we had to do four languages, which was German, French, Japanese, and Latin, each for a term—and then in Year 8 we had to choose one of them for the whole year, and I chose German because I thought it was the closest to English and therefore it must be the easiest, but of course it turns out, not so much. But I kept at it on my own until my HEC, which is like the SAT in the States. Yeah, I just kept at it, and I have really enjoyed it ever since, so I'm continuing on with that at university.



Mirza on learning to type

Mirza: I don't know how I learned to type. Well, I imagine that I probably would have recognized the letters somehow. I definitely grew up watching Sesame Street, and I definitely had all the sort of—"A! B!"—all that kind of stuff. That's my guess.



More on learning to type

Mirza: I did learn how to, like, type on a—like, write on a computer—like extended sort of pieces probably during primary school. I think a lot of our stuff at the time was still probably handwritten, and we wouldn't have gotten many…assignments to take home. But I do definitely remember using a computer for some sort of written report… I definitely used computers more in secondary schools. We had computer class, design and technology or…we had computer classes where we'd edit, like an Excel spreadsheet or something like that. Increasingly during high school we used computers, certainly for assignments and things like that.



Mirza on dating and communication technologies

Mirza: In terms of, you know, communication technology when dating, I am not sure that there is a protocol. There's definitely a protocol when it comes to breaking up. You never break up by text message or online or anything like that—you got to at least call, preferably in person.



Mirza on using Facebook

Mirza: I do have my own Facebook account, which I do use regularly; I sign on there every day, and I consider that almost like a halfway point between e-mail and MSN Messenger because it's not quite a conversation like you would have in a messenger application, but it's not quite an e-mail—you know, it's sort of [short] bits of conversation back and forth. It's also quite interesting because it's a public conversation for the most part, because you're writing on other people's websites and everyone can see that. Yeah, it's the way that I interact socially with a lot of people because I don't necessarily see them at uni very often or see them, you know, at the pub or anything like that. So yeah, Facebook is how I keep in touch with people.



Mirza on issues of access

Mirza: Actually, my mom's sister is married to a man who was the mayor of Sarajevo during the war, and…he's now in some sort of high-ranking position. I don't if it is a corporate position or what, but he's quite well off compared to a lot of people back there. And so they've got broadband at home…and they use Skype to keep in touch with their daughter, who's studying in Austria.



Mirza on media use

Mirza: The way I tend to stay in touch with my friends here is, yeah, a bit of everything: cell phones, MSN Messenger, Facebook increasingly, particularly because I started volunteering at the union…and that sort of opened up a whole new social sphere for me and everyone there keeps in touch via Facebook. So that's probably the primary way I keep in touch with most people. Certainly messaging, so, SMS text messaging—MSN Messenger probably more with school friends, but some of them are migrating towards Facebook now. E-mail as well, but that's a lot more.…I think a lot of people consider that to be old form, and I do, certainly, so that would be maybe to invite people to a birthday party or something like that.



Click on image for a video introduction to chapter.

Cynthia Selfe: At about the same time that Gorjana Kisa and Mirza Nurkic were growing up in Bosnia, Kate Polglaze and Tessa Kennedy were coming of age in Australia. When we first met the two, Kate was 21 and in the third year of her studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, where she was majoring in pharmacology and Japanese. Tessa was 19, studying medicine at the same university.

Although both women had grown up in Sydney, they were also part of the increasing number of students inhabiting what Carmen Luke calls the "global eduscape" (C. Luke, 2006). They had both traveled abroad for "gap year" stays, and both maintained a strong connection with friends and identifications with other cultures. Both were intent, as Jarrett, Losh, and Puente (2006) note, on "cultivating their own linguistic and ethnic identities as well as in exploring identifications across national and linguistic boundaries" (p. 40). It is also important to note, we think, that both young women have maintained their transnational identifications through their use of ICTs and digital communication environments.



Tessa tells us about her parents.

Tessa: My parents grew up in Melbourne, as did my grandparents, so the whole family is from there. They went to the local public schools for primary school and then I think although my mom went through and had a traditional Catholic education all the way through school, which was like a private college run by the local convent, I think, my dad went to Trinity Grammar in Melbourne which is just sort of one of those—I guess it's one of the private schools there, I don't think it's actually a private school but it's sort of one of the more selective kind of schools in Melbourne. And then they both went on to university, actually, and did various bits and pieces before moving up to Sydney and that is something they actually wanted us to do as well, so they wanted us to start in public schools and sort of in the co-education system, which is what I did for infant school, as did my brothers.



Tessa discusses her early memories of literacy.

Tessa: I remember my parents always reading to me as a little kid. We always used to have like heaps and heaps of books at home, story time and all of that, because my brothers are about two years younger—like two of them, two years apart. They used to always climb around as well; we'd all read little stories, and then after we'd have like the little kids' stories and then the slightly older stories, with older kids. And as soon as we went to school, I remember in kindergarten we used to learn a letter a week, and we'd take that letter and we'd learn words associated with that letter, drawing little pictures and make a little cartoon thing. Just to get you familiar with the alphabet, so that took a good few terms, and then we would have started doing little bits of maths and reading, writing. We used to take home little, like, hard reader books, and there were boxes that were graded so that you've got, you know, K1, K2, et cetera. I loved reading when I was little; I used to go through [many] books a week and my parents used to always say they would come in and want me to turn off my lights and I was just like, "No, one more page!" and I would, like, sit under my covers and stuff. Yeah, but I guess we would always take the little books home and then I just remember you had to go through sounding out each letter and word and go through the sentence and, yeah, my parents used to always do that with me.



Tessa recalls an incident of racism and cultural insensitivity.

Tessa: [It's] fantastic, on this campus to have just thrown in there so many different cultures and so many…. It's always such a ridiculous cliché: "You're so multicultural, so many different backgrounds," but so true. When I was doing the orientation week program, we had a lot of first-years logging on to the website and talking in the chat rooms to each other, but occasionally there'd be this sort of, you know, "Oooh" kind of comment, and we're like, "We should do something about that," but people would start maybe saying, "So many Asians. I hear so many Asians go to that [university]…that's fucked up. What's wrong? Why is that?" It was quite distressing to hear that those attitudes still exist and to try and figure out, you know, why they still exist and why, how people can get so sort of locked into their own little worlds. One of the squad leaders of the program, there's a whole organizing team above us, and there was very careful monitoring of any comments that went on, even little things that were always treated not just by deleting the post or anything, but they were always responded by the organizing team in sort of a fairly diplomatic manner, saying "You know, that's just not cool here. That's not what we're about. Why don't you come in and actually find out what else this campus has to offer?" rather than just shutting them down and saying "Oh, what's up with you?" and picking a fight. I think that's one of the most important things that we found dealing online. Like I said before, there's no tone online, so you've got to be careful of the way that you say things…give people the opportunity to go, "Oh, OK, well, I was an idiot," but not feel too defensive about it, and actually give them an opportunity to sort of fix that in themselves.



Tessa discusses how she chooses technologies for communication.

Tessa: When deciding how to contact someone in terms of particularly whether to call them or text them, I think it comes down to mobiles being sort of a very integral part of the way that we talk to our friends at the moment. And the choice between calling them or texting them depends largely on sort of what you actually want from that exchange. If you just literally need to ask a question, sometimes it's just so much easier to be able to use a text and just go, "What's this person's number?" rather than have to call them and like "Hi, how are you?…small talk…"Really just need this, thanks, bye." And it's almost, I feel almost ruder doing that than going, "Yeah, so I don't really care, I just want this," and I just feel sort of mean just calling sometimes and asking them just for that, whereas when you text them it's kind of expected. But at the same time, sometimes you find yourself falling into the trap of not knowing how to quite start your message off. It's like, "Drat, I want this person's number, but I feel I should have some kind of small talk within my text just to make it feel like you know, I am not just using you."

But no, text is great because, well, you can use it in class; it's particularly useful if you are trying to organize something, you just go back and forth very quickly, very cheaply, that's definitely a factor as well, and the call cost can be quite high whereas text generally kind of less, there's all kinds of crazy deals and how many thousands you can get per month with particular call plans and stuff. But I find also like using things like e-mail as well, that's how, I generally communicate with I would say school friends whom I don't see as often. It could be hard to kind of call them and be like, "Hi, what are you doing?" and just randomly chat for a while if you haven't spoken to them in ages. But if I can send them an e-mail and even if I sort of do it while I am doing my assignment or something, even if you are crazy busy, then at least you can still kind of keep in contact like that. I'm a big fan of the e-mail…checking it 100 times a day.

Also making plans, it's much easier to drop an e-mail than to have to call. It's less confronting and it means you can do it at midnight if you suddenly realize, "Ah, this is not going to work, my assignment is totally not going to be in." You can send an e-mail or you can just ask a question about something that I might be doing at 12:00 and if I am not going onto campus perhaps the next day, it's particularly useful to be able to e-mail them as well. Some of our tutors that we have occasionally, we will have their mobile phone numbers…we have what is called a scenario group and that's like your core tutorial group. And some of the scenario group facilitators will give you their mobiles, so you can text them any particular queries or worries or let them know that you are running late, which is great. And also I find that it's really useful doing that because you are running up and down between hospital and you know, on campus, off campus, and yeah it's so much more convenient to be able to use those sort of means that don't require you to be operating within business hours.



Tessa discusses communication and miscommunication.

Tessa: I think that when you are speaking online, you have the ability to go into like lots of different chat rooms particularly if you're…spending a lot more time talking in, like, chat rooms to different societies, that's when you'd be open to lots of different attitudes and one of the things that really interests me is…the way that people communicate and sort of like the different levels of like language and communication that exist. When you look at something as simple as a text and the number of times that something has been misinterpreted because there is no tone in the text or in instant messaging, it just creates dramas left, right, and center. But I think that it's quite interesting…to think that there is such sort of ethical kind of consideration behind the way that we speak to each other. You just realize how many different perspectives there are out there and how many different, kind of, approaches to speaking to each other there are.



Tessa remembers going to the library.

Tessa: We moved when I was in about Year 3, I think, and prior to that, I don't really remember going to the library, but after that there was one really close to our house, so we used to go down to the library and yeah, just go get out the books. I used to love going down there because they had this, like, little kids' section…they sort of had the adults' section and then they had little picture books for little kids, but then they had a sort of young adults' kind of kids' section. We used to always think we were really cool kind of going in there, getting the thick books with no pictures at the age of 8 or something.



Tessa remembers her family's first computer.

Tessa: The first computer we had was one of those ancient Apple Macs…that my Dad brought home when I was 6. I remember playing those little games [like] Treasure MathStorm! That was just the one game that we had and we used to sit there and…[it] was fantastic because it was all colored and moving and stuff compared to the ones we had at school—this was at Bronte, my infant school. I remember going to my first computer lessons, we had this massive floppy disks and the little tiny monitors that had like green and orange kind of digital writing on the black background, like it was incredibly basic. But, yeah, it was great to have like the computer at home, to actually learn how to use…various programs, and we had that till I was about 12.



Tessa discusses learning computers.

Tessa: We had a couple of lessons in school with sort of ones we played little math games on and little, like, grammar games. They used to try and integrate that into the curriculum, but it was still a very new thing and sort of taught up in the loft in the hall at school. But apart from that at home I think I just sort of sat there and figured it out myself. I think a lot of the time you just sort of sit there and work through the games, work through the programs, and figure out what you can do and just exploring, my goodness, [when you're] 6 or 7 years old. That's sort of the most fun way to do it. My dad didn't know much about it anyway, and he certainly wouldn't have particularly enjoyed Treasure MathStorm! as much as I did.



Tessa on how she gets the news

Tessa: Whenever you check your e-mail, like, you can have coming up on your home page or in your e-mail thing like a newsreel, like to show you what's happening in the world—like I don't have time to go and watch TV…. I'll pick up a newspaper if it's around but I don't make a conscious effort, maybe I should, but I don't. You can get like bulletins, posted out like a Sydney Morning Herald kind of bulletins, but it can be your home page as well. A startling number of people I know have Sydney Morning Herald as their home page so that as soon as they log on to their computer in the morning, the news is in front of them. Same thing if they go to check the e-mail at uni—then you can just log in to that straightaway and see what's happening rather than even having to go so far as the newsagent across the hall and grab a paper and read through it. And also it allows you to get, like, the snapshots, which you can then, like, click on to get more details about the stories rather than going through the entire paper. I think by putting it all online makes it so much more accessible.



Tessa on computer use

Tessa: I guess I use my computer a lot. I check my e-mail a good five times a day or more. But that's basically 'cause when I sit at home I sort of have it downloading e-mail, so I have to keep, like, clicking and see if there's new stuff. But yeah, I'm always contactable like that. I generally have my phone on me, always sort of waiting for text messages and calls and things like that.



Tessa on the shrinking world

Tessa: Yeah, absolutely, I mean, I think the world has shrunk a lot, not just because of the accessibility to all kinds of Internet, being able to communicate with people around the world like I was saying before. I've lived in England and so now some of my friends who I had actually lost contact with for a good four years or something. You can search for them on Facebook; they turned up, and so I now have spoken to them several times in the last couple of months, and it's quite ridiculous 'cause I can see their photos, I can see what they are doing; it sort of tracks, you know, what events they've gone to and everything, seeing, you know, how school is going by the comments they are posting. And so that makes me feel a lot closer in that way; the geographical distance becomes so much less relevant. People that I know who have gone on exchange in particular have found this, that they can keep in really close contact with their friends via e-mail just by, some of them will post, like, blogs and little travel blogs and stuff, which is actually quite cool; then you can follow in their travels and see all the photos and see what they are doing. It's really quite lovely.



Click on image to view video of Kate discussing global ethics.

Kate: After I finished high school, I took a gap year before I started uni and went to Japan for 7 months on exchange, and after I changed to science from engineering…. I think, like, my particular age group or my clique of friends are highly ethical. I do think that I get a broader understanding of ethics through my friendship with people from other countries, particularly those that are indigenous to culture…because you are learning about so many other things and you kind of take the best bits and become a better person for it if you are willing to do that.



Kate remembers her early days with computers.

Kate: I first learnt to use a computer in about Year 2 or 3, so when I was about 7 or 8. We had a computer in the classroom, and we used basic word processing. We also used a program called LogoWriter, which was fun because there was a little turtle that we got to steer around the screen, but I didn't get a computer in the house until I was in about Year 8. So it was a while before I had a personal computer that I could use.



Kate describes the networks she later formed around the world.

Kate: Well, it is primarily [in] Japan that I communicate with people. I have a couple of friends in Canada. I have a couple of friends around the United States, a couple in London…[when] I do go overseas, I'm guaranteed [a place] almost anywhere I go."



Kate on writing fan fiction

Kate: I like writing fan fiction, so I wrote a lot. There were some stories that I wrote that were original, but particularly I wrote fan fiction for a show called Dragon Ball Z, and I really love the characters and I had other friends that wrote fan fiction, so I wrote my own, I still do write fan fiction, but it's now based on Japanese boy bands, which are my current obsession.



Kate describes her online communication practices

Kate: Most people that I meet online and speak to online, I'll start off by meeting them in a forum, and then if I get along well with them, I usually ask them what their address is for programs like Messenger, and so I'll talk to them on that, because it is instantaneous feedback. I do have one or two friends that live in, like Malaysia, that I can SMS from my phone in Australia. I use that when they're without Internet and I really want to talk to them and send them a message. But SMS is just for brief messages and not really conversations. I tend to avoid chat rooms because there's a whole range of people in there. E-mail I don't use so much, although I do use Gmail, which is almost similar to a chat program in terms of how instantaneous[ly] the messages can be sent and received and refreshed. I use chat most of the time because it's instantaneous feedback. It's like real interaction and the closest sort of interaction I get to someone that lives in another country. If they weren't online at the time and I really wanted to get a message to them, I would send an e-mail, but for the most part, if I want to talk to someone, I'll just wait till they come online and chat to them that way.



Introduction to Chapter 3.1

Gail Hawisher: In this chapter and the next, we meet coauthors who were in my graduate seminar at the University of Illinois. In this class, inspired by Maria Lovett and Joseph Squier's course on writing with video, I asked students to represent their writing processes on video. The thinking that informs this move is the increasing realization that writing (alphabetic literacy) often represents only a portion of the meaning writers might want to convey; that literate practices need to embrace a full range of modes and media (alphabetic, photographs, video, color, sound); and that video, and multimodal composing more generally, can encourage students to write, learn, and reflect. We began the semester by having students create drawings of their writing processes. Here are a few examples of the kinds of transparency overheads that students were likely to create. As the semester continued, we turned to video and reflected on an expanded understanding of writing processes and literacy narratives. In this chapter, we meet Shafinaz Ahmed, Sophie Dewayani, and Yu-Kyung Kang, who ground their literacy narratives at least in part in their cultural experiences with writing and digital media.



Shafinaz Ahmed's Writing Process Video

In this video, we see Shafinaz eating, as many of us do as we prepare for and begin writing, although she chooses to be unencumbered by the Western custom of using a fork. Metaphorically, the dish out of which she eats plays on the confusion Shafinaz encounters among those outside of Bangladesh over her homeland's name, and she points to such misunderstandings by titling her video "Born-in-a-Dish." After showing Shafinaz writing on her bed, books at her feet, while she also reads, Shafinaz's video presents viewers with Bangladeshi music in the background as we focus on Shafinaz, who now sits at a computer screen. Then, as the music stops, we shift to Shafinaz's voiceover describing scenes from Bangladesh, though speaking from her apartment in the United States.

Shafinaz reads her poem "Benni Advice":

From the bedroom window,
we look out
at the glistening night sky.
The grimace of the moon
glimmers in the frozen night,
a fusion of gossip, song, and laughter.

Each night my grandma braids my hair,

gliding the comb through the glossy black mass.

Her fingers slip through the thick silkiness,

weaving the strands into a single stream.

"A woman is like a braid,"

my grandma tells me.

"Simple, yet complicated,

delicate, but strong
plain, but elegant.


she is a bun,

hidden and constrained"

my grandpa tells me,

"a woman's true beauty,

is Not
what lies on top of her head,

but what she possesses
 beneath it."

[Shafinaz sharing writing with Lisa, a peer]

Lisa: I'll tell you what I love about it. You know, it's like, there's such emotion, you know, that goes…there's kind and sweet images to this…you know, to this drop and dramatic and heaviness, you know, is like, also, there's just so many contrasts, it keeps going back and forth….

Shafinza: Oh, I'm glad.

Lisa: Yeah, I think it's fantastic.

Shafinaz then reads her poem, "Born-in-a-Dish," which is included in chapter.



Introduction to Chapter 4.1

Patrick Berry: This chapter attempts to take into our field of vision those who cross national borders, with our focus turned towards local and global influences on the languages we speak and write. We also attempt to heed Nedra Reynolds' [2004] contention that "places are hugely important to learning processes and to acts of writing because the kinds of spaces we occupy determine, to some extent, the kinds of work we can do or the types of artifacts we can create" [p. 157]. And we attend as well to Christopher Keller's [2004] admonition of the importance of connecting classrooms to other crucial locations in research participants' lives. As he notes, "Ethnographic practices…need to consider how the classroom is a location that connects to other locations, locations that subjects constantly inhabit, dwell in, and move between" [p. 210].



Hannah Lee's Writing Process Video

[We see through the front windshield of a car as it is driving and, above music, hear a voice:]

"You know what I miss sorely about college, though—I miss talking about…writings. Just 'cause, like, you know, this girl here, she's filming something."

Hannah Lee: When I was asked to talk about my writing process and to portray it through video, I didn't know where to begin, which is actually kind of what the beginning of the process looks like for me. The beginning of my writing process is usually quite unfocused and can be a bit frightening.

It's like you're in uncharted territory, traveling to a place you've never been to, where you don't speak the language. Now it's up to you to learn that language, to familiarize yourself with the territory, so that you can carve out a space for yourself and make yourself feel a little bit at home.

In the beginning of my writing process, I try to find as much information as I can about the topic that I'm exploring. I immerse myself in the material, trying to get a sense of mastery over it, so that I don't feel so lost. I need to see the connections that I can make between the ideas that I'm reading about and let these thoughts stew in my mind. It's in this process of making connections that I come to my own ideas on the topic.

When I finally feel as if I've read through enough sources, or when a deadline is looming over my head, I begin writing. I often procrastinate as this stage. I think this might be one of the most difficult stages in my writing process. Once I get started, things pick up, but I often have to really push myself to get through the first hurdle of putting words on a page. This part of the process can be agonizing. It takes so much energy out of me, and so much time. I get stressed to the point of being in pain.

I can't sit and type out my paper in one sitting. I usually write a page or two before my mind starts wandering or I need to get up to stretch, or take a quick walk, or check my e-mail, or write something in my blog, or call a friend, or clean my room, or get a drink of water…or anything.

I drink lots and lots of water. It's like I need to constantly refresh myself, both mentally and physically, in order to keep going. There's usually a point in the process when I start to see how everything is going to fall into place, and sometimes I get into what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls "flow." Words just start flowing, and ideas start connecting, and the piece seems to write itself. This doesn't happen often enough in my writing process, though. Usually, it's grit, sweat, lack of sleep, and sometimes tears that carry me through the process. When I finally feel as if I can wrap everything up, it's like I've come to the light at the end of the tunnel. I've said everything that I needed to say, and it's time for me to wind down and find my concluding remarks. Afterwards, there is a lot of editing and cutting and pasting and throwing away, but the worst is over.



Hannah Lee's DALN Video Interview

Hannah Lee: Growing up Korean-American: I was born in Chicago. My mom was born in South Korea, as was my father, and I just remember growing up with two languages and always kind of being that mediator. My mom still doesn't speak English as well as she would like. My father was fairly fluent; he translated at our church. But I always just remember being a mediator or, like, a translator. And so when mail came, like credit cards or whatever came, or something came, and my mom couldn't understand, she would give it to me, and I would read through it and translate for her. And I don't remember being burdened by it; it was just something that we did. Or that I did, and my sisters did it, too. But because I was older, I was always the one who got asked to do it first.

And then my mom started losing her hearing when I was in high school. And she became almost completely deaf, probably by the time I graduated high school. So we had that language barrier of me always translating in English to her, and then, now all of a sudden, there was this other barrier, this sound barrier. And so, like, I had always acted as a mediator growing up, but now it was very, like, it was my job—like, every time I would come home from college, my mom would have a stack of bills or whatever, and she would ask, she would be waiting for me, asking me, "OK, can you call this company, can you call this doctor?"

And so I would have to communicate and call these people, and she would be sitting next to me, communicating in Korean. So it was not only the sound barrier, but it was also the language barrier. And so I just remember always getting frustrated, wondering "Why is it that my entire life, I've just had to be this mediator or this translator?" And when I look at other people who communicate with their parents, I just marvel, 'cause they can speak in a common language, and they understand each other perfectly. And it just amazes me. It's just such a foreign thing, when I see that. And I remember maybe sometimes feeling a little bit bitter. Like, "Why do I have to struggle so much in trying to communicate with my mom?" But then at the same time I think it helps me to have more empathy and to understand people better.

It's pretty entertaining when you see me communicating with my mom, and also my sister and my brother. 'Cause we've invented a kind of language that we speak amongst each other. And I didn't even realize it until someone pointed it out to me that I gesture a lot. I try not to do it in public. But I gesture a lot, with, when I communicate or when I talk. And especially when I talk with my mom, I make sure—and she also lip-reads, so I make sure that I distill, if she gives me a piece of paper to translate, I make sure to distill everything on that piece of paper into words that she'll understand, in Korean that's easy to recognize when you lip-read. And if I have to translate into English, I also translate using words that are easy to lip-read. If she doesn't understand that, then I'll write it down for her—and all the while I'm gesturing. And we've invented a kind of sign language that we only use in the family, that's just kind of regular gestures, but amplified so that she understands. And so in a sense, we've created this language just so that we can communicate with each other. And I didn't really think about how unique that is until someone pointed it out to us, 'cause it's just normal, it's just something that I've grown up with.



Introduction to Chapter 5.1

Cynthia Selfe: In recent years, sociologists, economists, and technology scholars have begun to pay increasingly close attention to the global digital divide: the disparity between people who have access to and use of computer technologies, computer networks, and the specialized technological education needed to maintain a digital infrastructure and those who do not. Although the relationships among technology, literacy, poverty, and education are complex, our work here begins with the premise that digital technologies may help bring about change—especially in regard to improving the environment for the acquisition and development of writing and literacy, increasing people's access to knowledge, and connecting them with others who have similar interests and needs.



1994 BBC audio clip ("World: Africa, Profile: Moshood Abiola," 1998, July 7)

Nic Newman: What is happening at your house? Are you being arrested?

Chief Abiola: I am being arrested; I am just going out now with the police.

Nic Newman: Hello? Chief Abiola: You see, [inaudible] started here and I have been, I am being escorted out…[inaudible]

Nic Newman: Why are they arresting you?

Chief Abiola: They are arresting me on an allegation of 70 nameless treason or something like that. They are not doing anything; they are just taking me away. Please let me go! You know I am delaying them.

Nic Newman: And so where are you now? Are you in your car?

Chief Abiola: I am in my car now.

Nic Newman: Is it police who are with you in your car, or are they escorted, they…

Chief Abiola: The commissioner of police is in the car with me, and my senior wife is in the car with me.

Nic Newman: Why are they letting you talk on the phone to the BBC while they are in the middle of arresting you?

Chief Abiola: They have come to arrest me, not to arrest my mouth.

Nic Newman: You sound very cheerful about it, Chief Abiola.

Chief Abiola: Of course. [Laugh] It’s all part of democracy here.

Nic Newman: And you are happy to go to the police and await whatever charges they are going to file against you?

Chief Abiola: Not in any way, in any way [inaudible]. Any sacrifice is in order if it will bring democracy, peace, and prosperity to Nigeria.

Nic Newman: Is it possible to talk to the commissioner of police who is with you in the car?

Chief Abiola: I don’t know if the commissioner of police is authorized to talk. He cannot talk to the press.

Nic Newman: What is your advice now to your supporters, many of whom we heard a moment ago?

Chief Abiola: Well, I told them before I left home to just stay calm. It is very, very important that they stay calm.

Nic Newman: So you are appealing for calm, you don’t want them to take any direct action in your support?

Chief Abiola: No, no, no, no, no.

Nic Newman: You still say you are the president of Nigeria, but it’s not much good if you are going to be in jail.

Chief Abiola: Mandela was in jail for 27 years; Kenyatta was in jail as opposed—that is one of the qualification in this part of the world. Don’t worry yourself, my friend.

Announcer: Chief Abiola talking to Nick Newman in Newshour on the World Service.



Global Pulse video: "Nigeria, Kenya, and the Rule of Law" (2008, March 12)

Female Speaker: Two African nations vote. Both elections are disputed. One is settled in court, and one turns violent. Next on Global Pulse: a comparison of how broadcasters worldwide are covering this story. In April of last year, Nigerians voted in the nation's first civilian transition of power. As China CCTV and Nigeria's NTA reported, the result was contested.

Female Speaker: Governor Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has been elected Nigeria's new president.

Female Speaker: Election results came as no surprise. Fifty-six-year-old Umaru Yar'Adua, a Muslim governor of the Northern Katsina State, was declared the winner on Monday. Yar'Adua is said to have won around 25 million votes, more than three times the number garnered by runner-up General Muhammadu Buhari. But Buhari says he will not accept the results. The country's main political parties also rejected the vote as fraudulent.

Female Speaker: In December, Kenya voted for a new president as well. But immediately there was violence, as reported by NBC News.

Male Speaker: Kenya: Tens of thousands took to the streets to accuse President Mwai Kibaki of stealing Thursday's election. [Background shouting.] The result: chaos. At least 185 people killed as protests spread across the country. Police told reporters they had orders to shoot to kill.

Female Speaker: The election results brought Kenya to the brink of a civil war. France's TV5 explains the roots of this violence.

Male Speaker: Kenya, which today is falling into violence, was once one of the calmest countries in East Africa. After independence in 1963, the country's 50 ethnic groups lived in peace. The largest ethnic group is the Kikuyu, who hold power and run the economy. The Luo, the main ethnic group of the opposition, demands a share in the riches. The president, Kibaki, is a Kikuyu, but his rival, Raila Odinga, is a Luo.

Female Speaker: In contrast, in Nigeria, previously a country known for political instability, the disagreement went like this, according to Nigeria's NTA:

Male Speaker: President of the Nigerian Union of Political Parties Dr. Perry Opala said even though the country is passing through a difficult phase of democratic experience, a solid democratic foundation will evolve.

Female Speaker: In other words, it all came down to paperwork, a massive re-counting of ballots including arguments and close scrutiny of the documents.

Male Speaker: The presidential election petition tribunal has upheld the election of Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in April 2007 as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Male Speaker: The tribunal said the petitioners did not provide enough evidence to void the election.

Female Speaker: Consequently, there are no riots or violence in Nigeria. In an unprecedented step, the political disagreement was left to the Nigerian judiciary system.

Atiku Abubakar: I have instructed my team of lawyers to compile the records of today's proceedings and to immediately file an appeal at the Supreme Court of Nigeria to overturn this judgment.

Female Speaker: Finally, in Kenya, after two months of violence, a power-sharing agreement was reached, as reported by Al-Jazeera English.

Male Speaker: There will be a post of Prime Minister of the government of Kenya with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government of Kenya.

Female Speaker: Neither fight is completely over, but the differences in reaching an agreement are striking. Nigerians put their faith in the rule of law, and now Kenyans hope for the politicians to fulfill their promises. For Global Pulse, this is Erin Coker.



Chiang Kai-shek, after 12 years in Formosa (Taiwan), in a "News in Brief" video (Formosa, 1961, October 16), still hoping for freedom in Mainland China. Click on image to view video.

Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the peoples of Free China on the island of Taiwan, heads the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty. Eleven million Chinese, strong with their dream of someday wresting their homeland from the Communists, are marking the day that saw the end of 4,000 years of monarchy in China. More than 10,000 marched before the generalissimo, and the country's small but powerful military is very much in evidence. Climax of the patriotic display comes as the troops form the sign of the Double Ten, a symbol to these Chinese that once more freedom will reign in their mother country.



Introduction to 5.4

Gail Hawisher: These two studies represent an early attempt to look at digital literacy and the digital divide in a global context—and, clearly, they provide only limited perspectives and uneven information about these larger phenomena. We recognize, for instance, that both people represented here have achieved a high degree of digital literacy—and that some would rightly consider them success stories in connection with the digital divide. We also recognize, however, that many other young men—and women—in Nigeria, in China, and in the United States and western Europe, for that matter—have not had the same opportunities as Dipo and Pengfei.

TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 1.1

Introduction to Conclusion 1

Patrick Berry: An overarching goal for the book included telling the diverse stories of 13 individuals who can be characterized—each in a different way and to a different extent—by their own identification with transnational perspectives, as well as by other personal and professional identifications as language majors, writing and language teachers, scientists, designers, medical students, daughters and sons, friends, writers, and readers. In the literacy narratives we have presented, we asked coauthors to describe their reading and writing practices within digital communication environments, but along the way they have told us much more. They have spoken of the wars that tear us apart, of dispositions that ultimately bring us together again, of parents who try but sometimes falter as they adopt new languages and new homelands, and of their own successes in life, school, and work, of which we continue to stand in awe. We also meet Synne Skjulstad, a digital media researcher who helps us describe a collection of research approaches using digital media.


TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 1.2

Synne Skjulstad and Andrew Morrison present "Toward Embodied Interaction."

Andrew: The title of our talk is "Towards Embodied Interaction." And what we're trying to do today in this talk is to give you a sense of the work that we've been doing and where we see some of it as going towards. We also are not trying to map out a whole field by doing that, and we're in particular, trying to place some of the ground for the other presenters in the day. So perhaps there'll be lots more questions for our session than we can answer, and we can take some of those up as we go through the day.

…In particular, we're trying to also reflect on our own research and practice, research that has been driven by experimentation and improvisation and by going into fields that we don't know and in partnerships with people who are professionals in different ways to ours.

Synne: This is a picture taken from a project called Extended that was a collaboration between master's students from Media Studies here at the university, and…choreography students from the college of dance. This is a screenshot from one of the pieces, called Proximal….

Andrew: We're going to be talking about the notion of extending performance, something which the choreographers and dance specialists are in a sense always doing, finding modes of performing and ways of communicating that from our sense, we've been also trying to find out how to understand and implement digital technologies in dance performance in particular.

So we are looking at a technologically enhanced performance, but we're drawing on a body of literature that is now quite considerable on augmented spaces, the role of technologies in building virtual but mixed realities…with digital and non-digital elements.

And in particular we've been interested to look at the relationship between actions and actors. In that sense, we're going to show you a kind of trajectory of moving from environments in which there is more system-related actions from the information/communication system.

In particular, as with many other people in this field, we've been looking at the increasing role of audience as participants. The first parts of the work we'll show you don't have audiences as participants, as such. The media is more the participant. But then we do move to looking much more at systems as being responsive.

And in order to do this, we place this work in a general theoretical framework which is drawn from activity theory, which we feel is a very strong overarching theoretical frame, which allows us to focus on the mediating artifact, the designed digital artifact, that is incorporated inside the dance performance work, and increasingly in terms of which has an agency or an action of its own. So we have a theoretical framework that lies behind this.


TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 1.3

Synne Skjulstad discusses her activist activities.

Synne: Our joint writing session is about Oslo City Council's plan about renting out a very nice pavilion in a park area…. This is the letter. So that I can publish it on the Internet in our campaign to save the pavilion and the park via an online

Partner: So that would be the pavilion, right?

Synne: Yes, this is the pavilion.


TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 2.1

Synne's description of her composing processes

Synne: Here, that's the best place to sit. [Synne moves to the sofa and adjusts the lighting.] That's a demonstration of the place I usually do a lot of writing. What happens to all the books that I'm using is that they pile up behind one of the chairs.

This is my kitchen. I usually work here as well as in the living room.

I think I actually do like this…. I sit down, like this…. It's very usual that the kitchen table looks like this. This is my computer. My partner's computer is usually lying here.

I just got a text message, and I'm going to check what it is. 


TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 2.2

Click on image to view a video of Synne discussing her research of Web interfaces.

Synne: This is the website of a Norwegian design studio. I'm analyzing aspects of this website in my Ph.D. that I'm writing. This website is the case for analysis in a chapter for a book.

I do think that the dynamic aspects of Web design done like this is interesting and really difficult to deal with theoretically. I think it is really interesting to look at how the transitions between different parts of the site are visualized. It is interested how this website is using layering as a technique to display previous work in their portfolio section.


TRANSCRIPT Conclusion 3.1

Introduction to Conclusion 3.1

Gail Hawisher: Here we begin with some closing observations that have emerged out of our collaboration with coauthors and participants. The coauthors' stories have expanded our understanding of transnationalism to include individuals who claim various locations as their physical home and build bridges through virtual and face-to-face exchanges as they inhabit digital landscapes, speak multiple languages, and resist national borders.