Do you like dogs or writing? Identity performance in children’s digital message exchange

Guy Merchant, Paul Dickinson, Cathy Burnett, Julia Myers

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Over a number of years we have been investigating ways in which e-communication can contribute to children's writing development and how new technology re-frames our understandings of writing in the classroom (Merchant, 2003; Burnett et al, 2004; Burnett et al, 2005; Merchant, 2005). Here we analyse the digital writing of pupils from two linked primary school classes (Year 3–5) in the North of England. Part of the project involved the pupils in communicating about themselves and their interests to email partners of the same age. In this article, we track children's identity performance in informal message exchange and show how this contributed to a final knowledge product. We explore how work that had its origins in representing children's lives and identities reflected their position in wider cultural worlds. This perspective causes us to question whether there are there sufficient opportunities for pupils to explore and express ‘who they are’ in the current content-driven curriculum where public genres are central and personal voice is peripheral.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-38
    JournalEnglish in Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


    • New literacies
    • Writing
    • ICT
    • Popular culture
    • Identity


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