Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Renee Hobbs

Abstract

Today, anyone with a smartphone has access to a whole suite of tools to create video and multimedia that can be instantly and widely shared. While research shows the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of media production on students' learning, less is known about how media production is integrated into the context of elementary education and only a few schools have begun to experiment with video production as a means to promote literacy and learning. This research explored some effects of a two-year initiative to integrate digital literacy in a suburban public elementary school. For a period of six months, the researcher interviewed and observed four full time teachers and four support team members and examined students' work artifacts, teachers' tweets, collecting survey data from the entire faculty. Multiple case studies reveal the sequential process used by teachers to integrate media production into existing lessons through active collaboration with other faculty and support team members. One Grade 4 teacher used media production to modify a history assignment as she learned to give more control to her students. Another set of Grade 4 co-teachers supported each other to balance the playfulness of creating a videotaped book report with a more systematic approach to addressing educational standards. A Grade 2 teacher worked with the school's literacy coach in the development and implementation of a science unit as students used media production to advocate for environmental sustainability. In order to embrace this new pedagogy, all four teachers went through a set of hierarchical stages starting with building trust and relatedness with colleagues; developing their sense of mastery and competence; and becoming confident and reassured to use media production as a form of instruction that includes both play and empowerment. By reflecting on and analyzing their ability to shift their instructional strategies during the course of the year, they became digital literacy mentors. This research has implications for those interested in providing a holistic model of teacher professional development within an elementary school context, and demonstrates the value of supporting teachers' intrinsic motivation to meet the needs of their young learners.

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