Education in Late Modernity

Abstract:

There has been a great deal of research and pedagogical experimentation relating to technology use within second and foreign language (L2) education. This presentation broadens the scope of inquiry to examine entirely out-of-school L2 digital engagement in environments such as social media, fan fiction communities, and online gaming. The presentation argues first for the importance of a distributed, ecological, dynamic, and usage-based approach to second language development and the benefits of explicitly addressing genre awareness and pragmatic appropriateness as core assets in the language learning process. I then present a pedagogical framework designed to increase the relevance of instructed L2 education through the structured juxtaposition of digital vernaculars with more formal 'classroom' genres of language use, an approach I and colleagues are calling bridging activities (e.g., Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008; Reinhardt & Thorne, 2011; Thorne, in press). In conclusion, an argument is made for the continued exploration of new media genres of language use and their selective inclusion into instructed L2 pedagogy, processes, and curricula.