Learning from Newcomers – Ivana Espinet

Learning from Newcomers documents and explores the evolving ideas of a group of six high school newcomers who choose to participate in an internship program, assisting elementary school students, some of whom are also emergent bilinguals. Through their participation in the internship, the youths interrogated and made sense of their experiences in their home countries and in the United States.

Using collaborative ethnographic methods and visual research methods, this research seeks to provide an insight into how the experience of participating in internships at a school site shaped the youths’ understanding of teaching, learning, and languaging, and their roles as agents in it.

Growing Up Online: Identity, Development and Agency in Networked Girlhoods – Claire Fontaine

Young women’s digital media practices unfold within a postfeminist media landscape dominated by rapidly circulating visual representations that often promote superficial readings of human value. Meanwhile the dominant framing within educational policy and practice of digital media literacy insufficiently captures young people’s motivations for engaging in multimedia production, online gaming and blogging. In addition to using digital media for social purposes, and to navigate dimensions of social difference like race, class and gender, working class young women of color also use digital media to develop internal awareness of their selves. The processes of documenting the self, reflecting on the documented self, and laying claim to the intrinsic value of the self are expressions of identity, development and agency.

These practices can thus be understood as projects of self-making operating on multiple levels: 1) as articulations of agency against contexts that suppress this agency; 2) as documentations of and reflections on change and growth over time; 3) as explorations of relationality and related themes of care and obligation; 4) and as a means of critiquing structures of power.

A (Visual) Tale of Two Parks: Using Online Visual Data to Examine The Public/Private Economics of Urban Public Space – Scott Lizama

I’m currently completing a visually based empirical analysis of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a privately financed public space in Brooklyn, New York. This project examines the differences in socio-spatial relationships within the park space as depicted by the private residential development and their marketing and sales websites and the Instagram images of the park going public. Through a critical evaluation of the visual intersections between the two groups I’m identifying conflicts and cohesion within a private/public urban waterfront renewal plan.

Children Framing Childhood & Looking Back  Wendy Luttrell

Children Framing Childhood, and its follow-up study, Looking Back, explore the shaping role of gender, race and immigrant status in how thirty-four children represent themselves and their perspectives on immigration, social and cultural differences, and family-school relationships through photography and video. The follow-up study follows a sub-sample of twenty-two of these young people from ages 10-18 and traces the multiple meanings they attach to their images over time as a window on their changing identities, desires, aspirations and educational trajectories.

A key objective of the project is to build an audio-visual archive that challenges dominant (mis)representations of fear, stigma, broken-ness and blame often associated with children and youth growing up in urban, culturally diverse, poor and working-class communities so that teachers are better prepared to recognize young people’s funds of knowledge and agency.  There is an urgent need for spaces where educators can look beyond the limits of narrow assessment frames, stereotypes, and failings, and to train their gaze instead on young people’s strengths, agency and funds of knowledge. The audio-visual archive is also used to support the training of doctoral students in visual methods and to conduct multi-modal research.

Visualizing Value: Reimagining Teacher Evaluation – Victoria Restler

This study explores the social relations of visuality under neoliberal education and how these discourses are taken up and contested by radical educators. Working with a group of ten public school teachers during a time of flux and new policies in teacher evaluation, I consider the ways that teachers take up, create and remix digital images to make sense of their school experiences and broader school discourses. This project documents the production, circulation, and multiple meanings of pedagogical images, particularly those focused on teacher value and assessment.

My dissertation is multimodal in form—I draw on visual and digital data including photographs, drawings, videos, and a participatory blog created by the participant teachers. I also create new works of video, sound, and collage as tools of inquiry and scholarship. Ultimately, the study will take shape as an interactive website that presents these multimedia pieces—both the teachers’ and my own—alongside textual analysis.

“Dropouts” Drop in: Revisualizing the “Dropout” Stereotype  Rondi Silva

My dissertation takes the form of an interactive website and aims to challenge conventional views of both “dropping out” and “dropouts.” Working collaboratively and longitudinally with three former students from the Bronx, we built on autobiographical videos made in my digital storytelling class in 2008 with new footage and interviews from 2012 to 2015. We explored their individual journeys from out of school to and through college. The films, along with the rest of the website, may serve as portals for teachers, counselors, parents/guardians, and other young people facing challenges around school and schooling, to shed light on what it actually takes to make the jump from out of school through higher education. We intend the website to be a space to share stories (through text, image, or video), ask questions, offer ideas, and provide resources.

“Is That Me?” Photographs of Young Children in School – Tran Templeton

This study examines the converging interests of neoliberal politics in early childhood education and progressive education’s child-centered pedagogies – an unlikely partnership that underwrites the emerging practice of photo-documentation of young children in school. It troubles the adult gaze implicit in photos of children as well as the representations of childhood that preserve the romanticism of childhood innocence and the modernist conception of children as market investments.

In this work, the children/co-researchers represent themselves and their early childhood experiences through images that are eagerly collected, discussed, exhibited, cut up, reconfigured, and sometimes cast off. Looking cute and learning useful skills for college are hardly things to think about when you’re busy being a kid.

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