Lyman Dispatch: Jenni Higgs on Digital Talk

09 Sep, 2016

Lyman Dispatch: Jenni Higgs on Digital Talk

Jenni Higgs received the 2016 Lyman Fellowship. The Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in new media, established in the memory of esteemed UC Berkeley Professor Peter Lyman, provides a stipend to a UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate to support the writing of his or her Ph.D. dissertation on a topic related to new media. The fellowship is supported by donations from Professor Barrie Thorne, Sage Publications and many individual friends and faculty.

Jenni dissertation project provides the first scholarly examination of digital talk—or what she refers to as the interactive written communication that occurs in networked online spaces—as a learning resource in and across urban, suburban, rural, private, and public K-12 classrooms nationwide.

Here's what Jenni said about the experience.

"I am grateful to BCNM for the tremendous research support provided through the Lyman Fellowship. My dissertation project examines the relationship between learning and digital talk (what I refer to as the interactive written communication that occurs in networked online spaces) in K-12 classrooms nationwide through multiple levels of analysis, including classroom design-based research, survey data, and computational text analysis. The Lyman funding enabled me to dedicate myself to transcribing video and audio recordings of design experiments conducted with teachers who collaborated with me to examine the most effective ways to integrate digital and face-to-face talk. As it is standard procedure with the design-based research model to generate a comprehensive record of the design process and its rationale, I documented all stages of the design research programs, which meant I collected a veritable mountain of audio and video data. I cannot overemphasize how important it was to have the time to sort through and transcribe the data.

"The Lyman Fellowship also allowed me to work on my qualitative retrospective analysis of these collaborations. This analysis addresses my third research question, which asks about the design and implementation of digital talk that supports student learning across digital and face-to-face classroom contexts. I am conducting a meta-analysis of the entire design dataset in order to produce a design case, or a rich description of a problem of practice, its solution, and the design procedures for a particular design experience. In my initial analysis, I have been attending to the ways in which the social organization of the face-to-face classroom context shapes digital talk in high school English classrooms. I have also started to identify patterns in talk types used by teachers and students across their digital and face-to-face classroom settings before, during, and after design cycles. My intention is to compare these patterns to those discovered by the computational text analysis. Such a comparison will provide the means to make “bottom up” and “top down” inferences about potential relationships between the social organization of classroom practices and digital talk types."

Read more about the Lyman Fellowship here.