Almost 20 years ago, Pope and Golub (2000) published their seminal work on teaching with technology in English language arts (ELA) classrooms in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Journal (CITE Journal). The purpose of this systematic literature review was to learn how subsequent research about ELA teaching with technology has taken up (or not) Pope and Golub’s ideas in CITE Journal since their initial publication. In addition, the authors were concerned with how articles about teaching and technology use have incorporated thinking about issues of access and equity to digital and online literacies in relationship to Pope and Golub’s principles. Findings of the review are presented and implications are offered for supporting teachers and educational researchers as they enact and study ELA teaching with technology to promote socially just classrooms.
This qualitative multicase analysis investigated the role of “educational niceness” and “neutrality” (e.g., Baptiste, 2008; Bissonnette, 2016) in preservice English teacher feedback on sociopolitical issues in student writing. As part of the field experiences for several ELA methods courses at two universities, one urban and one rural, the teacher-researchers used Google Docs and other technologies (e.g., screencasts and Google Community) to connect preservice teachers (PSTs) with high school writers at a geographical distance so that urban-situated PSTs could mentor rural-situated writers and vice versa. Five methods courses over two semesters served as cases, and 12 PSTs from those courses participated in focus groups. Data included audio recordings of nine focus groups and PSTs’ digital responses to student writing. Using thematic analysis, the authors explored how PSTs responded to sociopolitical perspectives in students’ writing — both engaging them and staying neutral. Although authentic opportunities for responding to student writers supported PSTs’ critical reflection on teaching writing, analysis of PSTs’ responses indicate that such authentic practice may not be sufficient for preparing PSTs to navigate sociopolitical issues and may, in fact, exacerbate PSTs’ impulse to enact educational niceness.
The Internet and other communication technologies can provide a powerful tool for social justice and civic action. These digital devices and social media have shown enormous potential by activists to mobilize the public, document their activities and the injustices they witness, and spread information to a wider audience. Individuals are often inspired to identify ways they can leverage digital technologies to work toward positive social change. The challenge is that youth are watching and learning from these events and texts as well. As youth utilize these digital, connected texts, educators need to know what makes their voices uniquely powerful. Perhaps more importantly, English language arts (ELA) educators need to consider ways in which they can bring these skills, practices, and texts into the classroom. This study examined how activists used digital, social technologies for the purposes of amplifying marginalized voices and enacting social change. Furthermore, the study explored how acts of digital activism can be leveraged to inform ELA teachers as they support inquiry, empathy, and connection in their classrooms. The findings identify opportunities for teachers to educate, empower, and advocate for youth as digitally literate citizens.