Reading On-Line: Contesting the Boundaries of Space

Dr. Linda Wason-Ellam
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Globalization poses a challenge to research inquiry by jeopardizing the social relations in particular communities and places. In a multimedia world, shared systems of symbols and knowledge circulate globally. These networks constitute sociospheres or patterns of social activities spanning widely different geographies. Globalization makes it possible for children to read the same books, view the same cable television shows, play the same computer games, engage in the same digital spaces and virtual worlds, own the same media-inspired possessions, and use the same language in dialogue about what they know. This blurs the boundaries between geographic neighbourhoods, joining young children throughout the world in a common virtual culture.

Using data gathered in multisited Western and Middle Eastern cultures, this presentation will demonstrate how media technologies have rapidly transformed family literacy practices such as storybook reading or storytelling from a means of personal and social empowerment and a human transaction between adult and child into an exchange between child and technology. Global parents engage in a process of “concerted cultivation” to select literacy technologies that they believe will independently enhance their children’s cultural capital (access to the skills that schools value) and academically nudge them to achievement and success in the long term. While technology creates new ways to experience reading, there are competing discourses about the value of these fast- fixed literacy practices.

The researcher will focus on the following queries 1) What happens when homes become the center of the entertainment culture and enable global family members to participate in media activities simultaneously but separately? 2) Does the globalization of Western knowledge and culture reaffirm the West’s view of itself as the centre of legitimate knowledge and the arbiter of what counts as knowledge?

Keywords: Global Literacy, Multimodal Literacy, Multisited Ethnography
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Linda Wason-Ellam

Professor, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, Department of Curriculum Studies
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Linda Wason-Ellam is a professor-researcher in the areas of Reading, Children’s Literature, and Cross-cultural Literacy at the University of Saskatchewan,Canada. She has extensive experience in inner-city and intercultural classrooms in the United States, England, Northern Ireland, Finland, Canada and the Arab Gulf States. Her ethnographic research work has lead to publications in scholarly articles, books and book chapters that highlight the social-cultural worlds of young children on their pathways to multiple, multimodal and hybrid literacies. At present, she is working with a project on Revitalizing Reading in Aboriginal band schools widely scattered in remote Northern communities.

Ref: I06P0116