A text message on a mobile phone

Dr Caroline Tagg from the College of Arts and Law and Dr Deirdre Martin from the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham have received funding from the Society of Educational Studies to carry out a study entitled: ‘SMS text messaging use among low-literate multilingual adolescents and the implications for social exclusion’. 

Combining textual analysis and participant interview, the study will focus on the texting practices of adolescents in Birmingham who are perceived and positioned as having difficulties with academic reading and writing in school and who experience being marginalised and excluded from academic literacies. The aim is to explore the extent to which multimodality and situated practices afforded by phones and by SMS can encourage learning across multiple domains of activity – social, emotional, cognitive and curricular – for these ‘low-literate’ teenagers. There are implications for how adolescents’ digital practices can be recognised and exploited in the classroom.