Title

AMERICAN AND MOROCCAN YOUTHS’ MULTILITERACIES IN A CROSS-CULTURAL PHOTOVOICE PROJECT: A FORMATIVE EXPERIMENT

Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Reading and Language Arts

Advisor(s)

Kelly Chandler-Olcott

Keywords

critical multicultural education, cross-cultural interaction, formative experiment, multiliteracies, multimodal design, photovoice methodology

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

This dissertation presents findings from a 14-month formative experiment utilizing qualitative data collection and analysis. The formative experiment included the implementation of a cross-cultural photovoice project that paired youth from a community center in Casablanca, Morocco with youth from a suburban high school in upstate New York. The pedagogical goal of the intervention was to promote American and Moroccan youths’ multiliteracies in a cross-cultural photovoice project. Instruction occurred in both on-site and online collaborative spaces. Instructional practices emanated from a theoretical foundation in critical multicultural education, multiliteracies, and photovoice methodology. Findings demonstrated that facilitators created a basis for reciprocity in the cross-cultural exchange; attended to complexities of representation from national and local perspectives; and valued youths’ life experiences as sources for multimodal design. Modifications were made within the intervention to enhance youths’ capabilities to integrate modalities and engage in cross-cultural interaction. Increasing youths’ capacity for cross-cultural interaction on the platform required an interface that was accessible, supported a dialogic exchange of ideas, and was conducive to youths’ self-expression. American and Moroccan youths’ multimodal design process was enhanced by reciprocal cross-cultural exchange on the digital platform. Youth compared and contrasted life experiences with a broader identity narrative depicted by sources from media and formal schooling. Findings suggest implications for literacy research and instruction in the ways youth foreground relationships and question narratives of identities through multimodal design in conjunction with cross-cultural interaction. The implications underscored the transformative impact of relationship-building and the power of interpersonal connection in learning across cultural differences in a digital space.

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