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David John Damon

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Jared Grogan

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of David John Damon

Multiliteracies and Multimodal

They engage in a range of methods to develop this study, including:

• oral history & life research (Brandt, Bertaux, Bertaux & Thompson, Lummis)
• social practice of literacy (which leads them to cultural ecology of literacy) (Street, Gee, Graff, Brandt)
• media ecology (Marilyn Cooper, Ronald Deibert, Daniel White)
• cohort analysis (Brandt)
• etc.

Discussions, (new year) Resolutions?
begins with a strikingly familiar case study
David John Damon is the first case:
● Born (Black) December
15th, 1978 in Detroit
● Family “Broke”
● Ongoing family troubles,
but enjoyed school
● Family Life took toll of his
● Athletic Scholarship
● 1999 Joined a Black
Fraternity on campus
● Learned Web design
Skills on his own
● In 2000, his skills
advanced and was being
paid by fraternities
● Sharp Computer Skills
but Poor Grades?
What does David’s story teach


David’s case is presented starkly...
○ Teachers missed important opportunities to link their
instructions to his developmental needs
○ **Claiming that, because Teacher’s missed David's facility with New Media Texts,
David was predetermined to FAIL
according to Wysocki:

Following Latoya,
I will continue to discuss different literacies and identities in relation to studies of
Digital and Multimodal literacy
, focusing on:
a few approaches by composition scholars to
the (digital) literate practices writers in (or prior to) First Year Comp.
about how to approach these in

PARALLEL EXAMPLE: a well known Case Study from Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawisher’s 2004 work,
Literate Lives in the Information Age,
a work addressing:

“...how and why people have acquired and developed, or failed to acquire or develop, the literacies of technology during the past 25 years or so... by presenting case studies of a range of technological literacy autobiographies aimed at tracing a culture of personal computer use in the lives, homes, schools, communities, and workplaces of various students, professionals, and people in daily life".

How has
Composition Studies responded?
New forms of literacy don't simply accumulate.
Rather, they have life spans.
Literacy exists within a complex cultural ecology of social, historical, and economic effects -- they emerge, accumulate and sometimes compete with pre-existing forms of literacy...
"In a post fordist and postmodern world, new media literacies may play an important role in
identity formation, the exercise of power, and the negotiation of new social codes".
(David did interesting work coding with other members of a young black community -- similar to other forms of micropolitics Wysocki admires)
"Although a complex set of factors has affected the acquisition of digital literacy from 1978 to 2003, race, ethnicity and class too often assume key roles. Because they are linked with other social formations at numerous levels, and because their effects are linked often multipled and magnified by these linkages, race, ethnicity, and class are often capable of exerting a greater force than other factors" (216)
To make it possible for students to practice, value, and understand a full range of literacies -- emerging, competing, and fading -- English composition teachers must be willing to expand their own understanding of composing beyond conventional bounds of the alphabetic. And we have to do so quickly or risk having composition studies become increasingly irrelevant.
Digital literacy is affected by levels of support (social, economic, educational, technological) and a range of ages and experiences with technology (grew up with, attended school, and learned to use computers over a period of 60 years), and temporal and historical perspectives on what literacy is/means.
Schools, workplaces, communities, and homes are the four primary gateways to access to digital literacy (223); Access to computers is not a monodimensional social formation. It is necessary but not sufficient for the acquisition and development of digital literacy.
Faculty members, administrators, policymakers, and parents need to recognize that access is a starting point, but specific conditions of access must also be addressed to assure people that productive environments where access can make a difference can exist. One such condition is an understanding and valuing of

, how the digital literacies that young people are developing, as well as the increasingly complex global contexts within which these self-sponsored literacies function.
Stuart Selber’s
Multiliteracies for a Digital Age (also 2004)
is a well-known example of a work that challenged the notion of ‘computer literacy’ as it was taught in other fields to some extent -- largely by working to challenge the 'functional literacy' we associate with the computer lab, and to broaden this to other areas of digital literacy, including:
• functional literacy,
• critical literacy,
• and rhetorical literacy.

The term
(New London Group, 1996) refers to a shift in the conception of literacy and literacy pedagogy from that of a page-bound practice restricted to an official/standard (i.e., monolingual and monocultural) language to a critical and dynamic understanding of literacy as a multiplicity of discourses. This broad conceptualization of literacy highlights diversity, both of texts and of the individuals who create and interact with them.
aaa • Emerges as both an analytic tool

• And as a post-fordist adaptation of civic rhetoric

First-Year Composition is often an introduction to the idea of Multiliteracies for students,
where instruction integrates written, oral, visual and technological communication.
Although, we increasingly see students who, since middle school, take on projects like “Graphic Journeys," multimedia literacy projects in English students or ESL students create graphic stories that expressed complex narratives, like their families' immigration experiences. The processes usually involve reading graphic novels, journaling, interviewing, and integrating written text with images, and audio components to produce original graphic stories with specially designed educational software.

First-Year Composition is now often an introduction to the idea of

for students, where instruction integrates written, oral, visual and technological communication.
(Although... we increasingly see students who, since middle school, take on varied multimedia literacy projects like “Graphic Journeys," where students create graphics of complex narratives, or graphic arguments. Such projects usually involve reading graphic novels, journalling, interviewing, and integrating written text with images, and audio components...with educational software).
Compositionists hitched their wagon to the notion of
introduced by



(1996) proposal for "the teaching of all representations of meaning including, linguistic, visual, audio, spatial, and gestural, [as] are subsumed under the category of multimodal." The NLG defined multiliteracy broadly as:
(1) an analytical tool to understand changes that are taking place in the means and channels of communication and
(2) as an organizing principle for a literacy curriculum that enables students to participate fully in public, community, and economic life.

As such it is a marks a main effort by Composition scholars to "come to grips with" post-Fordist, globalized societies [...that] are increasingly fragmented culturally and linguistically, [as] new text forms associated with multimedia, information technologies, and a knowledge economy are altering people's personal, public, and working lives" ( 16).
Functional Literacy
The computer as the “tool” and the student as the “user.”

The goal of functional literacy is employing the computer in an effective manner. Failing to do so will turn all classes that use technology into skills-based classes. However, when computers are used effectively/functionally (or, as Selber prefers, postcritically), this literacy of technology is a form of empowerment that can further educational and social goals.

Five Parameters for promoting Functional Literacy in Composition:
1.FL students Establish
Educational goals
: functional literacy= success in school
2.FL students understand that
Social conventions
help determine computer use
3.FL students can use
Specialized discourse
4.FL students use
Management activities
(manage online life)
5.FL students can resolve
Technological impasses

Critical Literacy: Computers as Cultural Artifacts, Students as Informed Questioners of Technology
Critical literacy places the computer [and computer mediated discourses or designs] as cultural artifacts and the student as the critic so students can gain a fair assessment of technology. Through this approach, students learn to examine the contexts of technology and to create their own designs within the technology. Selber argues that students should begin questioning the academic decision of specific websites, software packages, etc. to understand how the the body with administrative power and functional literacy is guiding the decisions of the students.
Rhetorical Literacy: Computers as Hypertextual Media, Students as Reflective Producers of Technology
Rhetorical literacy places computers as the hypertext and the student as the creator. Students focus on the rhetorical structure of the technology and the ways they can make the rhetorical design of technology work for them in persuasion, rhetoric, and social action.

Students should begin to evaluate technology in rhetorical contexts and then move on to re-evaluate the technology itself to identify positive and negative aspects. Selber hopes that this will move students beyond the point of passive reception of the technology and to a place where they begin to contemplate (and hopefully put into action) their own technology ideas.

Four Parameters of Critical Literacy
1. (critically analyze)
Design cultures
Use contexts
(to understand/critique texts)
3. Understands
Institutional forces
haping text)
4. Analyzes
Popular representation
and its
effects/affects on public imagination)

Four Parameters of a Rhetorically Literate Student
Understands Persuasion
(as permeating interface design contexts)
Understands Deliberation
(and how it takes shape in mediated environments)
Uses Reflection
(to articulate the above knowledge and their own decisions in composing/designing)
4. Sees such work as a form of
Social action

Examples in Practice
Example One:
Part one:
When Teaching Rhetorical Analysis of Argument
Student's read Lessig's argument on Copyright, Originality, and Remix Culture, mapping out the rhetorical situation and key claims, evidence, and rhetorical appeals in the argument...
Part Two:
REMIXED argument presented in RIP: A REMIX MANIFESTO, introduces
argument within new genres, (Documentary, Manifesto) and
Introduces students to a "Multimodal Composition".

Part Three:
Students asked to engage in Comparative Rhetorical analysis,
thinking about the two texts through a critical and rhetorical
literacy approach...
The study begins with a similar
and ends with similar conclusions that:
“because students from different cultures, races, and backgrounds bring different literacies and different experiences with literacy to the classroom, focusing so single-mindedly on only one privileged form of literacy encourages a continuation of the literate/illiterate
that perpetuates violence and functions in a conservative, reproductive fashion to favor existing class-based systems” (Selfe 232).

A timely
in Composition Studies becomes:
Sum of the findings from the Book beyond ‘finding failures' in David's story...
In 2009, The National Council for Teachers of English developed a statement saying that "21st century writing marks the beginning of a new era in literacy, a period we might call the Age of Composition, a period where composers become composers not through direct and formal instruction alone (if at all), but rather through what we might call an extracurricular social co-apprenticeship.
Scholars of composition (e.g., Beaufort; Ding) have discussedsocial apprenticeships: opportunities to learn to write authentic texts in informal, collaborative contexts like service learning sites, labs, and studios. In the case of the web, though, writers compose authentic texts in informal digitally networked contexts, but there isn’t a hierarchy of expert-apprentice, but rather a peer co-apprenticeship
Increasingly we've seen "Multimodal composition assignments" introduced into traditional composition courses, which include any texts that “exceed the alphabetic and may include still and moving images, animations, color, words, music and sound and consist of web pages, films, and podcasts. Multimodal assignments take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies that include social networking sites, file sharing sites such as Flickr, and an emphasis on immediate, content-driven publication rather than a knowledge of programming skills" (Peek 17).
While these texts remain the exception, not the norm, students often compose via multiple modes in their non-academic lives, connections between in- and out- of class literacies are not explicitly separate categories for many students (especially first year writers),
and in 2009 NCTE sent out a statement (tweeted?)
that writing programs must treat "all composers" as multimodal composers learning to write in "formal and informal contexts". This formal statement also marked new requirements for the support and training faculty, one-on-one services with technology and literacy specialists, and program wide initiatives.
This past decade, a wave of research into Multimodal teaching methods became influential to how most departments teach composition...
One highly adapted/adaptable method is...
2 examples:
from "Computers In Human Behavior":
Mirror or Megaphone?: How relationships between narcissism
and social networking site use differ on Facebook and Twitter
also from "Computers In Human Behavior":
Social networking sites and cognitive abilities: Do they make you smarter?
Rhetorical Analysis Project – Film Trailers
: As the 1st or 2nd Project, Students are free to choose any trailer. The Paper examines the rhetorical appeals, and…

Explores elements:
•Three-Act Structure
•Intended Audience

Works Cited entries for:
•Video link

The Presentation:
Screen Trailer
Student’s Interest

Collaborative Analysis of Birth of a Nation
Defending Comic Book Literacy/Exploring Multimodal Design.

The comic book medium conveys meaning and tells a story using six design elements.
Linguistic: the words on the page (dialogue, captions, etc.).
Audio: The use of sound effects. This has become a cliché element in comic books (the “POW” when someone is punched).
Visual: At its most basic, this has to do with color theory, line work, and the overall visual presentation of the comic.
Gestural: the use of facial expressions or body language to tell a story.
Spatial: essentially the size and spacing of panels. It also applies to the placement of caption boxes and dialogue bubbles.

Multimodal Design:
Basically, multimodal design means how a creative team uses the previous five elements together and in relation to each other for one specific goal: telling a story.

Jeff Grabill, Troy Hicks and Kristen Hawley Turner
note that such work encounters the most "counter force" from "The Five Practices That Destroy Digital Literacy" (2013)

1. Counting Slides (or images, links, or any other digital component of a task)
2. Using a Blog without Blogging
3. Criticizing Digitalk
4. Asking (only) Questions That Can Be Answered by a Search Engine
5. Using “Cool” Technology to Deliver a Planned Lesson

Conclusions from
"No Longer a Luxury:
Digital Literacy Can’t Wait"
1. Put Yourself Out There / Model online identity construction through blogging, wiki construction, digital portfolios...
2. Be an Advocate for reform through teaching circles that support digital literacy in revised teaching practices + programmatic goals.
3. Invite Students to Take (Reasonable) Risks In the spirit of the National Writing Project (http://www.nwp.org), which supports the idea that teachers must write to teach writing, we have suggested
first that you develop your own digital literacy by participating and becoming an advocate for your profession. Now we recommend that you model your own digital activities for your students by asking
them to put themselves out there and to engage in larger conversations. Ask students to find, read, and comment on real blogs. Have them write and invite comment on their own blogs. Help them to
understand the purpose behind wikis (including Wikipedia) and to build repositories of knowledge. Encourage them to find and interview experts in various subjects via social networks.

1st reason:
2nd Reason
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