Digital Literac(ies), Digital Discourses, and Communities of Practice: Literacy Practices in Virtual Environments

Douglas Eyman
Michigan State University


I have examined the curricular and pedagogical work of a course in writing and technology that appears to support a useful framework for helping students to acquire a technology Discourse and to engage in critical reflection of their digital literacy practices. This framework follows the pedagogical practices suggested by the New London Group (situated practice, overt instruction, critical reflection, and transformed practice), enacting them in a project-based, multimodal curriculum. A unique aspect of the course is the incorporation of the multi-user textual/graphical virtual environment of the MOO (a multi-user virtual environment), which provides a space that bridges the artificiality of classroom instruction and real-world community development. The combination of the pedagogical framework and the virtual environment-as-context supports both digital literacy instruction and the development of communities of practice: two key activities required of a curriculum that seeks to both prepare and empower students who are likely to be engaged in information-based “text work”


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