Digikids: Cool Dudes and the New Writing

Research into the uses of digital literacy in the classroom is still in its infancy. Despite the proliferation of theoretical literature on ‘new literacies’, ‘multiliteracies’, and ‘technoliteracies’ and their impact on education there are fewer studies based on a systematic analysis of the new literacy practices that are beginning to emerge. The work of Werry, Shortis and Merchant has begun to investigate the new, hybridized language of digital texts seen in synchronous online communication, emails and text messages. These digital texts have been described by Ferrara as Interactive Written Discourse (IWD). This article builds on this work, drawing on an analysis of the on-screen writing of 9 and 10 year-old children involved in an interactive writing project. It shows how these young writers use and share their existing knowledge of popular electronic communication, developing sophisticated insights into the characteristics and possibilities of digital writing.

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