This month iRead researchers Yvonne Vezzoli and Mina Vasalou (UCL) attended the 2018 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) in Jersey City to present a research paper on dyslexia and social network sites.

CSCW is the premier venue for research exploring technical, material and theoretical challenges of designing and using technology supporting collaborative work. The conference attracted about 1000 researchers and practitioners from all over the word who participated in workshops, paper presentations, panel discussions and poster sessions (and funny conversations about the location of the conference: New York was just on the other side of the Hudson river!)

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The view on Manhattan from the conference location

The paper, co-authored with UCL colleague Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, was included as part of the technical session on Disability and Accessibility. We presented a qualitative study exploring the multimodal literacy practices and identity work of a group of young people with dyslexia in Facebook and Instagram.

We conducted a series of interviews with participants, discussing a set of their social network posts. Our questions focused on the different modalities of expression available, such as videos, images, geotags and feelings statements, and their use in meaning-making.

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Two of the posts collected

Our analysis identified a strong preference for visual modalities. Furthermore, most of the participants considered social networks as “safe spaces” for self-expression, thanks to their opportunities for visual communication. However, we also identified how difficulties with literacy were reconstructed in other forms, by reclaiming status and power publicly. An interesting paper by Ingunn Moser exploring the complex relationship between disability and technology in a similar fashion is available here.

If you are interesting in knowing more about the study, you can read our full paper here.

 

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