Supporting Young Authors: Exploring the Identity, Positioning, and Blogging of Adolescents

2016-07-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Grace H. Pigozzi
As educators consider the challenges of technology’s continual evolution, in tandem with young people’s skill and interest in it, innovative teaching practices capable of navigating online social landscapes of literacy are in great demand. Conceptualizing a blog space as hybrid affinity space where participants recount stories and make meaning about topics relevant to their lives, this connective case study asks two salient questions: 1) How does online writing in an affinity space affect motivation to write? and 2) How do adolescents enact their identities as they position themselves and others in a blog space? Over the span of ten weeks, four young writers used style, genre, and discourse both independently and collectively, demonstrating motivation as they organized, wrote, embellished, and shared their writing. Positioning theory analysis of interviews, participant interactions, and blog events were used to interpret identity enactments in discourse pertaining to the bloggers’ poetry, short stories, and informational pieces, showing writers’ portrayal of identity in myriad ways. Additionally, the young authors learned how to locate and use a wider range of online formats, and encorporated these new practices into their writing, thus expanding their knowledge of what writing can be.