Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Campbell, B. S. (2015). From literacy to literacies: Negotiating multiple
literacies in the English classroom (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning), Under the Supervision of Professor Guy Trainin. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Breanne S. Campbell


This dissertation is a narrative description of my teaching moves as I attempted to negotiate within my classroom both traditional print literacy and new literacies afforded by emerging technology. In this study, I sought to reconcile my rhetoric with my reality (Zeichner, 1999) by teaching students how to read and design multimodal compositions within the traditional framework and curriculum required by my school district. Students composed traditional memoirs and then participated in the synaesthesia process by remediating their memoirs using technology. Students were also asked to write a Statement of Goals and Choices (Shipka, 2011), reflecting on their own rhetorical and design choices.

To study the negotiation of multiple literacies in my classroom, I developed a study in which I sought to understand how I operationalized a Multiliteracies pedagogy and teaching multimodal composition; and how my students made sense of composing multimodally and their rhetorical and design choices in the composition process. To answer these questions, I drew from a phenomenographic research tradition, which aims at the “understanding of experiences” (Marton, 1981, p. 177). Participants included 21 of my ninth grade advanced English students, myself, and Elizabeth, a colleague. Data collected took the form of an interview, field notes, and student-created artifacts including their Remediated Memoir and Statement of Goals and Choices. All data were analyzed using an open-ended protocol where utterances of interest were identified and organized into categories of descriptions, which served as themes which were further explored.

From this project, I discovered a profound shift in agency where my students’ voices were elevated while my role as teacher transformed more to that of facilitator. This research contributes to current discourse by presenting my teaching moves and representing students’ perspectives, where previously there has been little representation.

Advisor: Guy Trainin