Digital literacies in two low socioeconomic classrooms: Snapshots of practice

The teaching of digital literacies is regarded as an important facet of literacy teaching in the 21st century. With many literacy tests continuing to indicate that students’ levels of achievement tend to be differentiated along socioeconomic lines, it seems timely to consider the connections between home and school and how these play out in relation to digital literacies. This is particularly important in light of the considerable evidence that has demonstrated how important home-school connections are in ensuring improved traditional literacy outcomes for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. With these points in mind, this article reports on an investigation into the usage of digital technologies in two middle-years classrooms in low socioeconomic suburbs in a regional Australian city. Using a range of ethnographic techniques, the study explored two teachers’ approaches to teaching students how to use digital technologies in one school term. Through snapshots of digital practices in the two classrooms, three issues are considered: teachers’ pedagogical approaches; students’ access to digital technologies at home and at school; and the teachers’ recognition of students’ prior knowledge of digital technologies. The article concludes by reflecting on the need for teachers to draw on the digital literacies that students are using in their out-of-school lives, to make bridges to school learning and thus address the challenge of preparing students to be literate in the 21st Century.

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