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Jenni Higgs at AERA 2017

This spring, we were pleased to offer several grants to help support our students in sharing their research at the premiere conferences in their field. Below, Jenni Higgs reflects on her experience at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) this May in San Antonio, Texas.

I am so grateful to have received another BCNM travel grant, which allowed me to present dissertation findings at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), held in San Antonio, Texas this year. My dissertation study focuses on the relation between learning and digital talk, which I define as the interactive written communication that happens in networked online spaces, particularly in K-12 classrooms. I integrate multiple levels of analysis, including computational text analysis, survey data, and design-based classroom research, to examine (a) discourse features of classroom digital talk, (b) the social and cultural contexts that mediate it, (c) online and offline practices that influence it, and (d) relationships between types of digital talk and types of learning.

As a recipient of a 2016-2017 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, I presented findings from my design-based research in a special session featuring research by doctoral students funded by NAEd/Spencer and other prestigious funding programs. Being part of the session was an excellent opportunity to present my work and receive feedback from an audience that included senior scholars, education school deans, and foundation officers. A highlight was speaking with Professor Barbara Rogoff (University of California, Santa Cruz) about possibilities for exploring and extending my work on digital talk in socially and culturally diverse classrooms.

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