Young Adult Literature and Online Affinity Spaces
As part of an online ethnography, I am researching how fans engage in online affinity spaces related to young adult literature, such as The Hunger Games trilogy. My focal participants are drawn from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Through talking with fans and participating in fansites from 2011 to 2014, I am learning how the culture of online spaces can support reading, writing, and designing practices and promote the development of leadership skills. Findings from this study have been published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Language Arts, English Teaching: Practice and Critique.
The Role of Teacher Professional Development in Developing Students’ Writing Motivation
In this multiple case embedded research study, I designed and implemented writing-focused professional development for teachers at a boys’ high school in Australia. During the 2012 school year, I worked with English, Drama, Visual Art, Commerce, History, and Physical Education teachers to explore writing strategies and assessment tools. Each teacher engaged in an action research project related to writing and motivation, which involved conducting classroom observations, collecting evidence, and sharing their findings with colleagues. Andrew Martin from the University of Sydney and Alecia Magnifico from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign were consultants on this project.
Collaborating with Middle School Teachers to Improve Students’ Literacy Achievement
In this case study, I collaborated with Mary Louise Gomez and Jessica Gallo at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to design and implement literacy-focused professional development for middle school teachers in the United States. From 2011 to 2012, we worked with teachers in an urban school to support their literacy instruction across the curriculum. In order to close the school’s achievement gap, we investigated the relationship between professional development, literacy instruction, and student achievement. We also supported teachers through classroom observations, collaborative reflections, and curriculum planning in order to cultivate their use of culturally relevant pedagogy.
Digital Tools, Social Identities, and Cultural Models in Teacher Professional Development
This ethnographic case study examined how English teachers’ technology integration can be supported by professional development. Over the 2009 to 2010 school year, I designed and facilitated professional learning communities at two high schools; participants included English teachers, library media specialists, and technology coordinators. Drawing on microethnographic and critical approaches to discourse analysis, I focused on how teachers’ interactions within the learning community revealed their social identities and cultural models. Findings from this study have appeared in the Journal of Literacy Research, Teaching Education, English in Australia, E-Learning and Digital Media, and the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education.
iPoetry: Digital Literacy and the Secondary English Curriculum
In this three-year action research project, library media specialist Lora Cowell and I investigated how technology could facilitate high school students’ multimodal composition and critical engagement. As a high school English teacher, I wanted to learn more about how my pedagogy shaped meaningful technology integration in the secondary English curriculum. From 2004 to 2007, Lora and I worked to develop, implement, and reiterate a digital poetry project. We gained insight into how audience and mode shape students’ use of digital tools. We also learned how professional development can effectively support technology integration in school. Findings from this project have been published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and the International Journal of Learning and Media.