"Tracking and examining the diversity of Hong Kong??s youth and the young??s patterns of engagement in new media and the resultant new literacies practices, inside and outside school contexts. "

Project: Research project

Project Details


This research examines Hong Kong youth and young people’s outside school patterns of engagement in new media and the resultant new literacies practices that emerge from this engagement. It sets out to compare these literacies practices with practices inside school.

Web 2.0 has facilitated new social practices, patterns of knowledge consumption and production; these social practices represent a digital literacy-scape that educationalists claim influence young people’s learning (Gee, 2007). Education policy makers have been slow to acknowledge such impacts, and even slower to conceive of what shape pedagogies might take in response.

Grounded in theoretical perspectives of literacy as socially situated practices of meaning making (Street, 1993), the research aims to identify and describe new media and the literacies that new media may generate. In a somewhat artificial shift, the research separates new literacies from the notion of digital technologies as technical aspects of technology itself, is not the focus here; instead the focus is on the intersection between new media and the literate practices they generate.

The research poses three questions in the process of unravelling how young people handle/take advantage of new media;
(i) what patterns of access, and what range, frequency and intensity of usage of new media is evident across genders and across diverse ethnicities, socio-cultural, socio-economic and linguistic groups?
(ii) does engagement with new media demand new literacies? If so what are their characteristics and what implications can be drawn for school pedagogies?
(iii) what patterns of access, range, frequency and intensity of usage of new media is evident inside school and what 'relevancy gaps' are identifiable between this and outside school contexts?

A three-step design will employ;
1. An empirical comparative study mapping terrains of access and the nature of engagements in new media and embedded new literacies inside and outside school;
2. Careful qualitative documentation, examination/analysis to understand new literate practices;
3. A conceptual model drawing on findings (1) and (2)'s will articulate principles, and the potential implications for future school pedagogy.

The third step in the process – drawing inferences for school pedagogies – signals the research’s boundary. Beyond this boundary new research is emerging on how engagement in digital environments is activating new cognitive processes (Weigel, James & Gardner, 2009) and how new literacies practices impact learning outcomes (Moje, 2009). Such investigation in the Hong Kong context would be a next phase of new literacies research. However, such research needs to be first built on regional understandings of the patterns and nature of youth and the young’s new media engagement (which is what is being attempted here); a future phase – of close study of schools' successful uses of new literacies - could address critical pedagogical questions arising from this initial research.
Effective start/end date1/11/1230/04/15


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