Standard Research Grant: A Comparative Study of ICTs and Literacy Attainment

Project: Research project

Project Details


In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of research devoted to understanding how young people are incorporating digital media into their everyday lives and the kinds of literacy learning and socialization that take place with the use of new media. However, in the United States, the study of literacy and socialization with new media has dealt relatively little with the cultural practices of young people who come from immigrant families. This is despite the fact that foreign-born children and those born in the United States to immigrant parents are a large and growing segment of the student population. Although digital media and the Internet are seen as global technologies that provide social and information linkages across geographical space, we’ve often overlooked the fact that youth who have experienced mobility across countries may be most inclined to use new media to create such social and information linkages. Adopting a comparative case study approach with two immigrant populations in the United States (adolescents of Chinese and Mexican origins), and using both ethnographic and survey methods, our proposed project would investigate the role of new media technologies in the lives of immigrant youth as they develop social relationships and engage with information resources that may transcend geographical and national borders. We are interested in examining the extent to which and ways in which the youth develop simultaneous relationships with different communities through the use of digital media, and how they interact with people and texts within different communities across their countries of origin and settlement. Of particular interest in this project is understanding the ways that the youth may derive diverse linguistic, social, and knowledge resources through their online networks. The proposed research would contribute to the knowledge base on new digital literacies and use of communication technology among culturally diverse populations. By situating the contextualized study of transnational media practices within a broader survey, we aim to develop both a range of conceptual ideas for an under-studied domain of media practices and an understanding of the scope and levels of engagement in such practices among youths in two immigrant communities. An increased understanding of the new media practices of immigrant students across local and transnational environments would provide the basis for rethinking the kinds of social and cultural resources that these youths bring to our schools. We would use the findings from the study to engage in deliberation and recommendation for the role of new media and technology in enhancing the literacy development and education of immigrant youths.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/17


  • National Science Foundation (SES-1331060)


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