Young children's online authoring: The techno-semiotic co-construction of blogs


Adlington, Rachael 2016. Young children's online authoring: The techno-semiotic co-construction of blogs. Thesis
AuthorsAdlington, Rachael
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Blogs provide unique authoring affordances for young children. To date, however, research has focused on older children, teenagers and adults as bloggers, and is limited in accounting for the semiotic roles of facilities, such as commenting and tagging. In contrast, this thesis is concerned with the intersection of technological and semiotic affordances of blogs. More specifically, it provides an account of the linguistic nature of blogs as collaborative texts, co-constructed by young blog authors and their audiences. The study investigated 48 blogs authored by five- to eight-year-old children. The theoretical orientation was systemic functional linguistics (SFL). In accounting for the nature of blog co-construction, techno-semiotic linguistic resources deployed in the dataset were examined in terms of the three metafunctions of SFL – textual, interpersonal and ideational. The study used a small-scale corpus content analysis to describe the semiotic context of the blogs in the study. Small-scale analysis also determined the techno-semiotic resources deployed across the corpus, especially those used for realising the textual metafunction in blog co-construction. Individual text analyses were also undertaken on comment-active and tag-active blogs, to explicate the use of interactive and evaluative resources in blog co-construction, including analyses of MOOD and NEGOTIATION, as well as synoptic and dynamic APPRAISAL analyses. Individual text analyses also interrogated LOGICO-SEMANTIC RELATIONS as construed with and by tags and blog posts. It was found blog authors deployed the linguistic resources of NEGOTIATION and APPRAISAL to solicit co-authorship from reader-commenters and collaboratively achieve the social goals of the post-and-comments as text. This included bonding over the topic of posts, building solidarity between the author and readers, co-construing the evaluative stance of the author and collaborating on the text as an instance of genre. The study showed how authors used tags to create complex textual and ideational, logico-semantic interconnections across blogs. Additionally, tagging impacted on instantiation of genre, owing to the realization of simultaneous logical relations afforded by tags. Existing theory was a productive heuristic for understanding blog co-construction. The theoretical notion of a locus of authority was suggested to explain the different levels of authority given to readers as co-authors. Extensions to SFL theory were proposed to expound the techno-semiotic distinctiveness of blogs, including intermodal NEGOTIATION between author and reader-commenters and the impact of reading directionality on logico-semantic relations between posts. Further, the concept of modal hybridity was put forward to account for the realisation of the blog as both written and spoken-like dialogic text. Implications are drawn for ways in which educators and curriculum developers may take into consideration the techno-semiotic, co-constructive affordances of blogs in learning and teaching in the early years of schooling.

PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Publisher's version
Publication dates16 Jul 2016
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