DISSERTATION PROPOSAL ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program Janelle N. Jenkins: ” Varied Literacies: Digital Integration in ELA Classrooms”

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Although youth tend to inadvertently use English Language Arts (ELA) competencies and twenty-first century skills on their cellphones to access, create, read, write, search for, and evaluate content for entertainment purposes, digital experiences are far from equitable. Technology access and usage varies from person to person for a multitude of reasons. This was apparent during the coronavirus pandemic when many families in low-income urban districts lacked access to laptops and Wi-Fi during remote learning. Furthermore, since traditional forms of literacy have cultivated other forms of literacy, such as digital and media literacies, lack of physical access placed a spotlight on those that lacked technology skills to analyze, communicate, create, and harness resources during a contagion and time of civil unrest.

Although many schools have access to technology, similar inequalities are prevalent in educational institutions. Reynolds et al. (2022) contend that teachers in low-income schools are not as likely to use technology “in constructive” and “meaningful ways” compared to educators in high-income school districts (p. 3). This leaves students at a disadvantage because it prevents them from learning how to use their technology skills and various literacies in multiple situations within a global digital society. Moreover, it prevents learners from using critical literacies, which Doerr-Stevens (2016) describes as an essential social practice allowing people to name and rename their circumstances and surroundings.

Undergirded by critical literacy, this qualitative case study design seeks to understand how ELA teachers, particularly high school educators, in low-income urban districts use and view technology in their classrooms. Teachers within this study will be interviewed and their lesson plans analyzed to help inform the research. Currently, studies on how secondary ELA teachers use technology in urban settings are minimal. Learning about their experience integrating technology with ELA curriculum, if at all, could help strengthen research on this topic and inform educators and fellow researchers to study additional ways to empower underrepresented youth in secondary English Language Arts classrooms.

To access the Zoom link required to attend this defense, please contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu.