Date of Award

Fall 12-21-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Learning Technologies Division

First Advisor

Dr. Brendan Calandra

Second Advisor

Dr. Gertrude Tinker Sachs

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Cohen

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Laurie Brantley Dias


This study examined the technology-enhanced lived experiences of three Mexican-American secondary students in Southwestern United States. This work extends the research of Basch, Schiller and Blanc (1994) and Faist (2000) in which they explain that immigrant teens experience dual lives due to simultaneous connections that may have resulted in barriers and stressors between their host and home countries. The study answers a call from Velez-Ibanez and Greenberg (1992) and Gonzales, et al. (2005) for research that regards household practices as "funds of knowledge" or that are encountered through lived experiences and that may support the individual in making sense of and giving meaning to life experiences.

The multi-case analysis was guided by the following question: How did three Mexican-American immigrant teens use social media and messaging apps within transnational social spaces? The three participants were second-generation immigrants from Mexico. The teens were between fourteen and seventeen years of age. Data collection took place over the course of the first months of 2018 and included three in-depth individual interviews, three focus group interviews, and observations of the participants. Findings uncovered funds of knowledge for these three Mexican-American immigrant teens that existed within a virtual transnational space that was easily accessible through the affordances of social media and communication technologies. These cross-border networks provided access to funds of knowledge that included historical, political, economic and social knowledge. The affordances of technology were used by teens to advocate for themselves for the instructional, pedagogical and social realms needed for institutional change. Considering boyd's (2014) affordances of technology theory as well as Treem and Leonardi’s (2012) affordances, this study examined the way three Mexican-American immigrant teens leveraged aspects of communication technologies to access communities and build relationships and funds of knowledge in both the United States and Mexico as they traversed the immigrant experience. Additional research should extend this work to consider the application of virtual funds of knowledge accessible by teachers for the inclusion of instructional and pedagogical structures and content of the classroom.