Exploring Teens’ “Digital Geographies”

| July 9, 2010

Vasudevan, L. (2010). Education remix: New media, literacies, and the emerging digital geographies. Digital Culture & Education, 2(1), 62-82.

Article Review
Vasudevan (2010) explores youths’ experiences of “digital geographies” beyond the boundaries of school. The literacy term “digital geographies” is defined as “the broader landscape of multimodal literacies and digital practices involved in composing of meaning and diverse texts for a variety of purposes” (p. 62). For example, the digital geography of flickr.com for youth might include photo production, photo editing and uploading, as well as photo sharing and commenting. Thus, “digial geographies” offers the concept that online spaces are not just new/changing “playgrounds” but sites of identity production and explorations (as part of using technologies as “new ethos” argued by Lankshear and Knobel, 2007). By analyzing the digital experiences and multimedia artifacts produced by court-involved youth, a group marginalized in school contexts, Vasudevan’s study contributes to an understanding of the ways in which education is remixed/reimagined through students’ orchestration of different modes (e.g., image, music, narration, and writing) in their digital composing. Specifically, Vasudevan presents detailed portraits of two teenagers, analyzing their digital-literacy practices (e.g., uses of portable digital devices) and artifacts (e.g., video production and blogging). Findings indicate the needs to re-think youths’ engagement with technologies and to re-design spaces for composing under school curricula.

The article introduces a conceptual framework (digital geographies) built on multimodal literacies and spatial theories. The study can serve as an example piece for learning about youths’ digital experiences and identity building. The “portraits” of two teenagers given by the study are woven with dense descriptions and analyses.

EdLab Connection

What would be potential projects that fall into the EdLab development and research scope? What potential tools that might contribute to the future re-configuration of school literacy curricula? One quick thought is that as over half of American teens today are using texting on a daily basis for communication, maybe the lab can consider developing a mobile blogging tool for Pressible, aiming at communities within and beyond TC.