Seeking and problematizing the conceptualizations of “new” in literacy pedagogy: A case study of one primary teacher’ (digital) literacy practices in Greek – Cypriot educational settings

Submitted by: Evie Poyiadji
Abstract: This presentation explores the different conceptualizations of ''new'' in (digital) literacy practices of one primary teacher in the Republic of Cyprus, who is make part of the modern generation of “digitally savvy teachers” (Flores & Day, 2006) in order to answer questions on how literacy is (re)conceptualized as ''new'' in performative acts of teachers that combine (im)material forces within and across the school. The different meanings of ''new'' are discussed in connection to the varied interpretations of digital tools, digital media and new technologies, which were employed in teachers' practices of their engagement with the digital over the research of their personal lives and in the classrooms (Burnett et al., 2015; Gruszczynska et al., 2013).
The study is theoretically grounded in New Literacy Studies that understand literacy as social practice and identities/subjectivities (Gee, 2010) in the context of Discourse(s), the embodied performance of normalized meanings of literacy, and the emergence of experience with/in material conditions (e.g., artifacts, texts, spaces) (Burnett et al.;2014; Burnett, 2016; Youdell, 2006). Methodologically, the suggestion is part of my PhD thesis, aiming to identify the digital literacy practices of Primary Education teachers within (language lesson) and outside school (personal space-time), the conditions which may affect their choices, as well their realizations which refer to (a) specific conceptualization(s) of literacy in a personal, local/school and broader institutional context(s). Thematic analysis was used, is multilevel: it was utilized to compare the teacher’ literacy practices with tools, (im)material resources both in two spaces, to conceptualize the ‘’new’’ in literacy pedagogy by examining the teacher’ practices and to (re)frame the teachers as pedagogical and literate subjectivities through their specific practices and realizations.
Finally, it reviews the power of digital literacy in L1 settings as an hybrid practice, being understood that “new” is subjected, mediated and redefined by “old”, given that there were notable complexities and paradoxes across as well as within the cases under study, which are referred to the use of digital media. This multiplicity in paradoxes allows, accordingly, the understanding of literacy as an equalizer or/and reproducer in a society of inequalities both for children and for teachers.

Keywords: technology, new, digitally savvy teachers, digital literacy practices

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