Date of Award

5-17-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Michelle Zoss

Second Advisor

Troy Hicks

Third Advisor

Jodi Kaufmann

Fourth Advisor

Nadia Behizadeh

Fifth Advisor

Donna Alvermann

Abstract

Remix, a type of digital multimedia composition created by combining existing media to create new texts offers high school teachers a non-traditional approach to teaching English Language Arts (ELA). As technology in the U.S. has become more accessible and affordable, literacy practices outside school classrooms have changed. While there is a growing body of research about remix and remix culture, most of it is set outside the ELA classroom by focusing on activities after school hours or specialty courses in creative writing or technology classes. Teachers’ points of view are largely left out of studies that examine in-school experiences with remix. Additionally, existing studies are often set in either higher education or elementary schools. This case study sought to understand how two high school ELA teachers experienced using remix as a tool for teaching and how practicing remix informed their pedagogies. The study revealed insight into why teachers find it challenging to practice new pedagogies in their teaching. I grounded my theoretical framework in sociocultural theories and a remix of Peirce’s (1898) semiotic theory with Rosenblatt’s (1938/1995) transactionalism. Designed within a case study methodology, data sources included teacher remixes, recorded conversations in online meetings, emails, texts, telephone calls, and a detailed researcher journal. Data analysis included multiple iterations of open coding of transcripts, informed by grounded theory and tools of discourse analysis, as well as visual analyses of teacher-created remixes. Key findings showed that, while teachers desired to incorporate remix teaching tools for meeting student needs, constraints of professional learning obligations, state standards, and administrator expectations limited their use of non-traditional practices. Both teachers approached remix differently, encouraging their students to construct meaning through multimodal tools, while still finding paths to meeting administrative requirements through remix. Further, remix allowed teachers to increase the student-centeredness of their pedagogy and at the same time support multiple student learning styles. This study also extends prior theoretical scholarship about remix by contributing a study of knowledge-in-action, focusing on teachers as their remix experiences unfolded.

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