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Affiliation: Assistant Professor

Program: Teaching and Curriculum

PhD, Arizona State University (curriculum and instruction-language and literacy);
MEd, University of Central Florida (reading education);
BS, University of Central Florida (liberal studies - English, education, business administration)

Research: Explores adolescents’ literacy learning, especially in online environments

Dissertation: The Hangout was Serious Business: Exploring Literacies and Learning in an Online Sims Fan Fiction Community
Jayne Lammers


Jayne Lammers

“I had always been the kind of English and reading teacher who had the impression they were a waste of time, that kids should be outside playing or reading a book instead,” says Lammers, an assistant professor in teaching and curriculum at Warner and director of the School’s secondary English teacher preparation program. “So when I was asked in graduate school to be a research assistant on a project with girls in an afterschool gaming club, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I going to do with this?’”

Turns out plenty. While working at Arizona State University with James Paul Gee and Elisabeth Hayes, leading researchers in the gaming field, she realized that thousands of girls around the world are using video games to engage in meaningful, complex learning systems—and becoming equipped for the computer science industry in the process.

Lammers learned that through a strategic life-simulation computer game called “The Sims,” which has become the best-selling video franchise in history, girls are writing elaborate narratives (some of them hundreds of pages long), pairing them with pictures to create digital graphic novels, and posting their work to online communities for feedback. One such discussion board inspired her dissertation, The Hangout was Serious Business: Exploring Literacies and Learning in an Online Sims Fan Fiction Community, a virtual ethnography of storywriters who use Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, and personal websites to promote and seek support for their work.

“I tried to make sense of what was really going on here,” she says, “and ultimately, I was also asking the question of why should English teachers care. I knew I was passionate about this and could find some answers.”

In an effort to heighten awareness of how digital media can help prepare students for successful futures in the 21st century, Lammers has been advocating for broadening definitions of literacy learning in the classroom—a job she hopes to soon share with a teacher/research partner.

In the meantime, she incorporates digital literacies into her own classroom, encouraging the use of laptops and promoting their capacity for cooperative learning.

“It’s just this idea of not having to hide those devices,” she explains. “We can maximize their potential. I infuse that into my teaching right away.”

(Published September 2011)


Tags: english education, Jayne Lammers