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Connecting analog and digital genres: Results from a pilot study of the uses of digital pencils in a Swedish middle school
University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Department of Visual Arts and Sloyd Education. (IBIS Forskargrupp)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6537-6824
Örebro universitet.
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Practices of teaching, learning, and meaning making along with the genres that they actualize are often construed as either ‘digital’ or ‘traditional’/’analog’. Our presentation addresses this dichotomy and digitalization more broadly through the lens of the pencil – an artefact that perhaps more than any other symbolizes the virtues of schooling through its key role for handwriting, calculation and drawing. More specifically, the potentials of the digital pencil for connecting ‘analog’ genres to ‘digital’ ones in the subjects of Swedish and Visual arts in middle school are analyzed. Results from a pilot study carried out during four months in a school in the greater Stockholm area will be presented. A middle school is chosen because children at that age have experience of a number of genres of handwriting and drawing, but most of them have not used digital pencils in school. The following research questions will be addressed:

To what extent can digital pencils resemiotize specific potentials of typically analog genres into digital environments, when used by middle school learners?

And which are the limitations of the digital pencils in this respect?

This way, the analysis will provide knowledge of the semiotic potentials, affordances and actual uses of digital pencils from a genre perspective, something which is lacking in previous research, with the exception of a few recent studies (e.g. Riche et al, 2017)

The methodological framework is Multimodal Ethnography (Author 1, 2012; Flewitt,

2011) which makes use of a number of tools and techniques from ethnography (cf. Green and Bloome, 1997) in combination with detailed semiotic analyses of artefacts (multimodal texts and the pencils themselves) as designed objects and as objects in use. The digital and analog pencils will be analyzed in terms of the semiotic potentials afforded (Hodge & Kress, 1988; van Leeuwen, 2005), their potentials as resources for learning (Selander, 2022; Säljö, 2010), but also as a resource for resemioitizing genres. In the latter case, we follow Miller (1984) who states that genres are ”typified rhetorical actions based in recurrent situations” (p. 159).

Our analysis focuses on how digital pencils can be used as tools for realizing communicative actions in texts and drawings in ways that draw on how this is done in typically analog genres. All students in the class studied work with iPads, but we have provided 4 of them with digital pencils. Their teachers have then designed tasks for the learners, that prioritize genres that are traditionally analog but now move into the realm of the digital. A typical example would be the illustrated story (a type of narrative), a common multimodal text in middle school that draws on analog genres that often require drawing by hand, which, in turn, tends to lead to the use of a (analog) pencil also for the accompanying words and sentences. The methodological tools employed in the pilot study are video-recorded, ethnographically inspired, observations (regarded as visual field notes) of situated meaning-making. Written field notes will also be taken, and texts and drawings created with digital as well as analog pencils will be collected and analyzed in order to locate generic connections.

The main results point to how the digital pencils can actually be used to draw on analog genres in processes of meaning making in the classroom. However, they also show how the digital pencils have other affordances (Kress, 2010; Author 2, 2022) than just functioning as “digital ink”: they are multifunctional in the sense that they can be used as tools for an array of tasks that analog pencils cannot: moving items, framing, using lasso functions, clicking and so on. Thus, our analysis confirms the findings of Riche et al (2017) in the sense that not only can the digital pencils be used to resemiotize analog genres; they also afford new ways of creating multimodal texts and genres.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trondheim, 2023.
Keywords [en]
writing, learning, multimodality, digital pencil, middle school
National Category
Educational Sciences Didactics
Research subject
Forskningsområden, Visuella kulturer och lärande
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-8876OAI: oai:DiVA.org:konstfack-8876DiVA, id: diva2:1742500
Conference
Writing Research Across Borders 2023:From early literacy learning to writing in professional life, 18–22 February 2023, Trondheim, Norway
Note

Abstractet publicerades i appen Ex Ordo, som fungerade som konferensprogram.

Available from: 2023-03-09 Created: 2023-03-09 Last updated: 2023-03-09Bibliographically approved

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Lindstrand, Fredrik

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