Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Colvin, Carolyn

First Committee Member

Devane, Ben

Second Committee Member

Graham, Laura R

Third Committee Member

Sunstein, Bonnie S

Fourth Committee Member

Thein, Amanda Haertling


This dissertation study focused on complications and opportunities that surface for classroom learning in the intersections of a teacher’s methods, students’ literacies, and digital space. Though researchers have discussed adolescents’ literacies and participation in out-of-school digital spaces, there persists a need to explore and document the ways educators and students use classroom digital spaces. This study examined the teaching and learning experiences of one teacher and eight students as they collaborate, compose, and produce a literature-based digital role-play.

Research questions focused on how the activity of a classroom digital role-play might connect with current literacy reforms, in what ways the teacher’s incorporation of the digital space might shape her classroom identity and pedagogy, and in what ways students’ digital participation might reflect, extend, and negotiate their school-ascribed identities as non-proficient learners. To address these questions, I collected data between March and June 2014 in a 10th grade English language arts classroom of a rural, Midwest public high school. This particular course was designed as an academic literacy support for students labeled as non-proficient school readers. I amassed my data collection from multiple interviews with teacher and student participants, series of classroom observations, student writings, surveys, classroom documents, teaching journals, classroom audio-recordings, and field notes.

I analyzed these data using a combination of qualitative methods: ethnographic approaches, narrative inquiry, discourse analysis, and virtual methods. I first created a narrative portrait and analysis of the teacher and students to illuminate participants’ multiple social identities. I next used methods of discourse analysis to examine the teacher and students’ language use in the classroom and digital spaces, to extend my understanding of the way their speech and writing helps them to construct social identities.

My findings complicate the way teachers might approach the use of digital spaces. Data reveal ways that the digital role-play space presents disruptions to the teacher’s ways of thinking about her classroom identity and practices. My findings also suggest that the use of a classroom digital space affords opportunities for students to explore their classroom social identities; the digital space flattens traditional school hierarchies in which the teacher leads and students learn. My study is potentially significant in that I explore the way the teacher and students experience and make meaning from the blend of their classroom interactions and digital literacy practices. Further, I argue that folding a digital space into daily classroom life reveals significant possibilities for classroom collaboration, distributed knowledge, and shared learning among students and teacher.


Adolescent literacy, Digital literacy, English language arts, Literacy, School technologies, Teacher professional development


xi, 253 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 202-236).


Copyright © 2016 Stacy Haynes-Moore