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Palgrave Macmillan

Digital Media, Culture and Education

Theorising Third Space Literacies

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  • © 2017


  • Provides a critical commentary on key issues around learning in the digital age
  • Brings together fields which are usually discrete and separate and ranges across media education, digital literacies and new technologies
  • Focuses on the mediated worlds of learners, texts and artefacts in the 21st century

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About this book

This book provides a critical commentary on key issues around learning in the digital age in both formal and informal educational settings. The book presents research and thinking about new dynamic literacies, porous expertise, digital making/coding/remixing, curation, storying in digital media, open learning, the networked educator and a number of related topics; it further addresses and develops the notion of a ‘third space literacies’ in contexts for learning. The book takes as its starting point the idea that an emphasis on technology and media, as part of material culture and lived experience, is much needed in the discussion of education, along with a criticality which is too often absent in the discourse around technology and learning. It constructs a narrative thread and a critical synthesis from a sociocultural account of the memes and stereotypical positions around learning, media and technology in the digital age, and will beof great interest to academics interested in the mechanics of learning and the effects of technology on the education experience. It closes with a conversation as a reflexive ‘afterword’ featuring discussion of the key issues with, amongst others, Neil Selwyn and Cathy Burnett.

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


“Brings to life the lived experience and creativity of young people and makes visible their meaning making practices. It surfaces ideas in ways that are theoretically and methodologically ground-breaking …  a refreshing, hopeful, and above all, challenging book, that enables, develops and supports new thinking in media education and literacy studies.  Accessibly written, this is a welcome addition to the field, which speaks to the cultural context of civic engagement for young people in and out of school, or ‘not-school’. Now, more than ever these voices are needed as resistance is a key part of survival for young people whose modes of participation need to be strengthened and supported in a challenging world. Dynamic literacies are the way forward – and this book articulates and maps out a pathway through to action.” (Kate Pahl, Professor of Literacies in Education, University of Sheffield, UK)

“This book is for all those who realize we face new and complexproblems in education today; that staying in our academic silos and engaging in business as usual will no longer do; and that digital technology can free teachers to be designers, curators, and aggregators, bringing astonishing resources to learners of all ages and in all places. It is a magnificent piece of work and a breath of fresh air.” (James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University, USA)

“This book makes a valuable contribution to the fields it inhabits, not least by refusing reductive and easy polarities such as culture and technology, school and not-school, digital literacy and media literacy. Instead, Potter and McDougall set up a dialogue between fields of research, concepts of literacy, and domains of practice, a cooperative rather than adversarial model. They elaborate their central ideas of third-space learning, dynamic literacies, porous expertise and digital curation with a rich arrayof researched examples, showing the importance of collaborative learning in practice. This will be an essential read for lecturers, students and practitioners hoping to understand the landscape of literacy and learning in the 21st century.” (Andrew Burn, Professor of English, Media and Drama, University College London, UK)

“Potter and McDougall provide a beautifully balanced overview of the field with clear ways forward for reconceptualizing literacies and developing new pedagogies.  The book synthesizes key works in the field and includes a range of case studies that illuminate important and novel concepts.  I fully expect the notion of third space literacies to be a constant point of reference in years to come.” (Rebekah Willett, Assistant Professor at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, USA)

Authors and Affiliations

  • UCL Knowledge Lab, University College London Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom

    John Potter

  • Bournemouth Media School, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom

    Julian McDougall

About the authors

John Potter is Reader in Media in Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, UK. His research, teaching and publications focus on media education; new literacies; and the changing nature of teaching and learning in response to the pervasive use in wider culture of digital media. He is co-editor of the journal, Learning Media and Technology.

Julian McDougall is Professor in Media and Education and Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University, UK. He is author / editor of a range of publications in the fields of media education, media literacies and Media / Cultural Studies and is editor of Journal of Media Practice.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Digital Media, Culture and Education

  • Book Subtitle: Theorising Third Space Literacies

  • Authors: John Potter, Julian McDougall

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan London

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-55314-0Published: 10 May 2017

  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-137-55315-7Published: 02 May 2017

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 205

  • Number of Illustrations: 5 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Technology and Digital Education, Literacy, Educational Technology, Learning & Instruction, Sociology of Education

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