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‘It Was Worth Every Minute, I’m Proud of the Way It Turned Out!’ Defining Reading and Writing in the Digital Age

Darmanin, M; Levy, R; (2021) ‘It Was Worth Every Minute, I’m Proud of the Way It Turned Out!’ Defining Reading and Writing in the Digital Age. Journal of Education and Practice , 12 (26) 10.7176/JEP/12-26-02. Green open access

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Abstract

Drawing on research conducted in a Maltese government school, this paper presents a definition for the terms ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ in a digital age, given that definitions tend to be dominated by traditional concepts of reading and writing that ignore the role of digital technology (Lankshear and Knobel, 2008; Levy, 2011). Data were mainly collected through classroom observations with two different groups of children. One of these classes was participating in the One Tablet per Child Pilot Project, a project part-financed by the European Union Social Fund under the Ministry of Education and Employment. Children’s drawings, focus group interviews and semi-structured interviews were analysed in order to explore what it means to read and write today and understand how these terms are defined by teachers and students. This paper answers the two research questions: ‘How do students and teachers define reading and writing in the 21st Century?’ and ‘How are children reading and writing in the digital age?’ The definitions provided by teachers and students focused on conveying, presenting and comprehending texts through the use of paper-based resources, however this contrasted with the observations. Reading and writing on-screen involved a complex array of skills that differed from reading and writing on paper. Reading was seen as a collaborative activity which often involved physical interaction as well as a need to follow multidirectional pathways and interact with various modes. Similarly writing on-screen involved a high element of ‘design’, physicality, touch and collaboration with others.

Type: Article
Title: ‘It Was Worth Every Minute, I’m Proud of the Way It Turned Out!’ Defining Reading and Writing in the Digital Age
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7176/JEP/12-26-02
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7176/JEP/12-26-02
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: digital literacy, definition, reading, writing, digital age, digital technology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135952
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