“Constructing the Child at Play: From the Schooled Child to Technotoddlers and Back Again”
Dr. Karen Wohlwend
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
January 15, 2012; 7:00 p.m., EST/USA
GSU Student Host: David Brown
Dr. Karen Wohlwend is an assistant professor in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education at Indiana University. In this web seminar, Karen will discuss the following: How do century-old discourses converge in modern notions of childhood, making it difficult to justify play in kindergarten while constructing young children as digital prodigies on line? These discourses shape our literacy practices in classroom mandates and on YouTube where babies tap through iPhone screens or toddlers browse nursery rhyme videos.
Karen studies play as an embodied literacy that young children use for producing multimedia and as a social practice for participating in early childhood settings and digital spaces. Her research in this area has been recognized through the International Reading Association’s 2008 Outstanding Dissertation Award and the 2007 American Educational Research Association’s 2007 Language and Social Processes Emerging Scholar Award.
Karen is the author of numerous articles published in international research journals on literacy and early childhood. These articles provide a critical perspective on children’s play and literacy, popular media toys, gender, and identity. Her ongoing work in new research methodologies develops innovative methods for analyzing talk, activity and media in digital environments. Building on her award-winning research (featured in Playing Their Way into Literacies ) which emphasizes that play is an early literacy, Wohlwend has developed a curricular framework for children ages 3 to 8. The Literacy Playshop curriculum engages children in creating their own multimedia productions, positioning them as media makers rather than passive recipients of media messages. The goal is to teach young children to critically interpret the daily messages they receive in popular entertainment that increasingly blur toys, stories, and advertising.
Karen’s book entitled Playing their Way into Literacies: Reading, Writing, and Belonging in the Early Childhood Classroom (Teachers College Press) reframes the concept of play viewing as a literacy practice along with reading, writing, and design.
Current research projects examine young children’s play with toys and digital technologies in online communities, looking closely to see how play intersects with peer teaching in virtual world and how identity texts circulate through popular toys and media.
Collaborative research projects include a project with early childhood teachers to develop film-making curriculum with popular toys and a multi-national project on young children’s play and literacy practices in virtual worlds such as Webkinz, barbiegirls, and Club Penguin. She has presented on these topics in keynotes at national and international conferences on educational research, literacy, and discourse analysis.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2013). Literacy Playshop: New literacies, popular media, and play in the early childhood classroom. NY: Teachers College Press.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2012). “Are you guys girls?”: Boys, identity texts, and Disney Princess play. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 12(3), 3-23.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2011). Playing their Way into Literacies: Reading, Writing, and Belonging in the Early Childhood Classroom. NY: Teachers College Press.
- Wohlwend, K. E., Vander Zanden, S., Husbye, N. E., & Kuby, C. R. (2011). Navigating discourses in place in the world of Webkinz. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 11(2), 141-163.
- Wohlwend, K. E., & Lewis, C. (2011). Critical literacy, critical engagement, and digital technology: Convergence and embodiment in glocal spheres. In D. Lapp & D. Fisher (Eds.). Handbook of Research on Teaching English Language Arts, (3rd ed., pp. 188-194). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2010). A Is for Avatar: Young children in literacy 2.0 worlds and literacy 1.0 schools. Language Arts, 88(2), 144-152.
- Wohlwend, K. E., Vander Zanden, S., Husbye, N. E., & Kuby, C. R. (in press). Navigating discourses in place in the world of Webkinz. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (In press). “Are you guys girls?”: Boys, identity texts, and Disney Princess play. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.
- Wohlwend, K. E., & Lewis, C. (In press). Critical literacy, critical engagement, and digital technology: Convergence and embodiment in glocal spheres. In D. Lapp & D. Fisher (Ed.). Handbook of Research on Teaching English Language Arts, 3rd Edition.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2010). Mapping Modes in Children’s Play and Design: An Action-oriented Approach to Critical Multimodal Analysis. In R. Rogers (Ed.), An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2009). Damsels in discourse: Girls consuming and producing identity texts through Disney Princess play. Reading Research Quarterly, 44(1), 57-83.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2009). Dilemmas and discourses of learning to write: Assessment as a contested site. Language Arts, 86(5), 341-351.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2009). Early adopters: Playing new literacies and pretending new technologies in print-centric classrooms. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(2), 119-143.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2009.) Mapping multimodal literacy practices through mediated discourse analysis: Identity revision in “What Not To Wear”. In K. M. Leander, D. W. Rowe, R. Jimenez, D. Compton, D. K. Dickinson, Y. Kim & V. Risko (Eds.), Fifty-eighth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference. San Antonio, TX: National Reading Conference.
- Wohlwend, K. E. (2009). Mediated discourse analysis: Researching young children’s nonverbal interactions as social practice. Journal of Early Childhood Research.