I take an interdisciplinary approach to literacy and language studies to interrogate how writing with a variety of communicative resources (e.g., visuals, audio, material items) facilitates new spaces for human diversities. Below, I highlight three current research projects exploring such concepts.
Exploring Early Digital Literacy Practices and Creativity in Early Childhood Classrooms
"Making” and “makerspaces” are quickly becoming more and more popular, and prevalent, in discussions of education (for an overview of ‘maker’ research, see EdWeek, 2016). While practicing teachers and educational researchers alike have engaged in exploring the potentials of “maker ed,” little attention has yet been paid to the possibilities and practicalities of engaging our youngest learners in practices of making (MakEY, 2017). A distinct opportunity exists to consider how the “MakerMovement” might enhance young children's digital literacies and creativity development. In collaboration with an early career teacher and with funding from MSU's College of Education, this project explore how all parties--children, teachers, parents, and researchers--learn to “make-do” as children engage in making practices. While this exploratory study occurs in a formal learning setting, it is not done in isolation. Rather, this research and learning will be shared with international research partners through the MakEY Project (http://makeyproject.eu/).
Cultivating a Compositional Fluency in the Elementary English Language Arts Classroom
Funded in part by the International Literacy Association's Helen M. Robinson Dissertation Grant and MSU's College of Education, this multiple-case study used ethnographic methods to amplify the voices of diverse children as they developed a compositional fluency, or an expansive skill set of communicative practices inclusive of multiple cultural, linguistic, and modal ways of knowing. Findings, to be shared in ILA's Literacy Today in January 2018, provide new resources for literacies educators about how to enhance and sustain children’s raced, classed, and gendered identities.
(Re)Educating the Senses to Community Literacies
This collaborative inquiry explores the affordances of writing with and through sound. Discussed in an article in Multicultural Education Review—elementary prospective teachers produced soundscapes as they inquired how hearing difference and listening to community re-educated the senses towards community literacies. Through our second collaborative effort, #hearmyhome, we seek to collectively develop curricular materials for teachers and youth to engage with sound as a mode of composition and for learning about cultural communities. Now in its third year, #hearymyhome was first funded in part by a National Council of Teachers of English-CEE Research Initiative Grant. You can read more about it on the SoundingOut! Blog.