Mediators of Inequity: Online Literate Activity in Two Eighth Grade English Language Arts Classes

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This comparative case study, framed by Cultural Historical Activity Theory and sociocultural understandings of literacy, investigated students’ online literate activity in two eighth grade English Language Arts classes taught by the same teacher - one with a scripted literacy curriculum and the other without. During a year-long research project, we used ethnographic methods to explore the nature of middle school students’ literate activity in each of these classes, with particular attention to the mediators evident as students engaged in online literate activity. Specifically, this article addresses the following research question: What mediators were evident within and across each of the classes and how did these mediators influence students’ online literate activity? In addressing this question, we illustrate how particular configurations of mediators – even those operating within the context of the same school and same teacher – significantly influenced the nature of students’ online literate activity and the literate identities available to students. This study reinforces the importance of attending to the influence of offline mediators in school settings. Without such attention, students’ formal education is likely to be transferred online rather than transformed online.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMiddle Grades Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


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