You are here

New Media in the Classroom

New Media in the Classroom
Rethinking Primary Literacy

May 2018 | 160 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

‘This an exciting publication that offers authentic approaches for educators to meet challenges of the literacy that students need in our evolving digital landscape.’

Maureen Walsh, Adjunct Professor, Australian Catholic University and Honorary Professor, The University of Sydney

‘In this significant new text, Cathy Burnett and Guy Merchant foreground the affective, embodied and emergent nature of making meaning with new media.’ 

Teresa Cremin, The Open University

The rise of new media technologies has changed the ways in which children engage with texts and this has implications for literacy provision in schools. Drawing on research exploring new media practices within and outside school, this book explains and encourages classroom activity that makes purposeful and appropriate use of these literacies and is underpinned by a set of guiding principles for teaching literacy in contemporary times.

Key topics include:

  • Building on children’s experiences in and out of school
  • Supporting children to draw on multiple modes and media to develop and convey meaning
  • Developing a responsive approach to literacy provision
  • Investigating ways of encouraging collaboration through and around digital media
  • Encouraging children to use digital media safely and advantageously

This is essential reading for primary English or elementary language arts modules on initial teacher education courses including university-based and schools-based routes into teaching and also for current teachers wishing to enhance their own literacy teaching.

Cathy Burnett is Professor of Literacy and Education at Sheffield Hallam University.
Guy Merchant is Professor of Literacy in Education at Sheffield Hallam University.


Chapter 1: The challenge of 21st century literacies
Chapter 2: Acknowledge the changing nature of meaning making
Chapter 3: Recognise and build on children’s linguistic, social and cultural repertoires
Chapter 4: Acknowledge diverse modes and media
Chapter 5: Recognise the affective, embodied and material dimensions of meaning making
Chapter 6: Encourage improvisation and experimentation
Chapter 7: Use playful pedagogies
Chapter 8: Create opportunities to work with the provisionality of digital media
Chapter 9: Provide contexts that facilitate criticality
Chapter 10: Promote collaboration around and through texts in negotiating meaning
Chapter 11: Making the future together

Two established and innovative scholars partnered with classroom practitioners to generate new knowledge of how to support expansive meaning making for children in contemporary times—what’s not to love? The book’s pedagogical principles are essential and expertly explicated and illustrated. This book will be cherished by academics, students, and teachers.

Rachel Heydon
Professor, Faculty of Education, Western University, Canada

In this significant new text, Cathy Burnett and Guy Merchant foreground the affective, embodied and emergent nature of making meaning with new media. They offer fascinating examples of children and young people engaged in improvising their way forwards as they compose and collaborate in different digital environments.  Illuminating the playfulness and provisionality involved, the authors skilfully show teachers how to create space for such experimentation, enabling children to engage both creatively and critically in this digital age.


Teresa Cremin
The Open University

This book is a great read for educators and folks concerned with the impact on digital technologies on young people’s literacy learning. It grapples with all the main questions teachers are asking about how and whether to incorporate communication technologies into their curriculum. It offers a set of principles to consider when working with new media in the classroom, which are both ethical and pragmatic. Burnett and Merchant’s writing is uncluttered, entertaining and wise. I can imagine teacher study groups, staff meetings and seminars organized around this very helpful book. While these authors are exploring new theoretical ground in their scholarship their treatment of this complex area is light, accessible and fresh.


Barbara Comber
School of Education, University of South Australia

This an exciting publication that offers authentic approaches for educators to meet challenges of the literacy that students need in our evolving digital landscape. Cathy and Guy apply ongoing educational research to justify their proposal of a “Charter for 21st Century Literacies”. While acknowledging extant polarisations and tensions, the nine principles of their Charter are designed around specific pedagogical approaches that allow for the diversity of students, their environment and the media. Through each chapter the authors demonstrate the need for classrooms to enable “creative, collaborative and experimental meaning making that draw on different elements of one’s communication repertoire”. Examples are offered to demonstrate the multidimensional potential of literacy across linguistic, media and social contexts.

Dr Maureen Walsh
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Arts and Science, Australian Catholic University and Honorary Professor, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, The University of Sydney

'New Media in the Classroom' recognises the importance of drawing technology into day-to-day learning in order to develop 21st century literacies. This book considers issues such as the range of modes and media available to teachers and learners and how to develop criticality through the use of these. There are helpful questions for reflection at the end of each section.

Dr Louise Campbell
School of Education & Social Work, Dundee University
December 17, 2018

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781526420855
ISBN: 9781526420848

SAGE Knowledge is the premier social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press book, reference and video content.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.