Following the 2014 iteration of the #WalkMyWorld Project, several researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association. The following takeways came from that session.
The #WalkMyWorld project highlighted the spaces provided by collaborative technologies for participants to engage in meaning-making in order to release the harnessed potential of said technologies. Exposing various lifeworlds through multiple modes gave students a greater opportunity to communicate and model civic engagement with the world at large, noting specifically that no learner can passively engage with others because the “spaces for community life where local and specific meaning can be made” are collaborative civic centers viewed, modified, and analyzed by all (New London Group, 1996, p. 70).
The transparency of mediums used also emphasized the importance of using open technologies to make information readily available. A civic understanding of knowledge as privilege, and the subsequent free-sharing of experience to the #WalkMyWorld project, enhanced participants’ understanding of the power of their multimodal contributions. Collectively, the shared singular experiences engaged all involved and encourage co-production of a newly formed community. As such, by exposing separate lifeworlds, themes of singularity can be identified and, perhaps, related to collectively in order to connect with others.
Other themes and findings included:
Teachers worked collectively online to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to construct online information. Students expressed themselves and their identity as an educator to act as critical readers and writers of online information. Affordances and understanding of specific digital texts and tools provided some challenges as teachers worked to complete the goals of the project.Results from this study explore the nature of online information and educational opportunities that are created when teachers work on synthesizing discourses of online information to create identity representations (Tierney et al., 1997; Bolter, 1991; Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004). Skills proved integral to the way teachers viewed themselves as professionals in online and hybrid educational spaces (Henry, Castek, O’Byrne, & Zawilinski, 2012).
This study utilized a content analysis approach that was directive and summative in nature. As a directive approach the pathways, pics, and poems, that were shared were analyzed using Connected Learning as a guiding theory. The study also used summative approached by tringulating findings using analytics saved from a Database of all tweets sent using the #WalkMyWorld hashtag (Hawkseye, TAGS 5.0).
“Get a life(world)!”: Expanding Perspectives of Narrative Writing
Students worked on a semester-long narrative which required them to submit weekly compositions to the #WalkMyWorld project. Using any preferred medium, they shared portions of their lifeworlds, all of which were compiled into longer, narrative responses at the end of the semester. Blog posts also served as extended weekly response opportunities to analyze submissions.