The assignment transformed: Building a disciplinary affinity space in student blogs


  • Arne Olav Nygard
  • Atle Skaftun



blogging, disciplinary literacy, recontextualization, social practices, transformation


School assignments traditionally represent a rigidly scripted social practice with limited opportunity space for student agency and engaged participation in disciplinary communities. The performance of school assignments very often involves the reproduction of knowledge rather than problem-solving and meaning production, and at the same time the reproduction of the established practice represented by the assignment. Research into digital literacy reflects an optimistic view of how technology in general, and blogs in particular, may help to change school practices on the basis of sharing and participation. This article is a case study of the use of blogs in a Norwegian high school, focusing on how a particular assignment set on four occasions during an academic year gradually changes conditions for student participation in the literacy practice of the subject concerned (Print and Photography) by transforming the assignment into an invitation to be part of an affinity space. Further, we analyze the students' responses to this invitation, first in an overall analysis of all the student blogs and then in an in-depth analysis of one of the blogs, demonstrating how, over time, the assignment space comes across as a chain of transformations entailing increasing student influence. This transformation process is analyzed using Theo van Leeuwen's concept of the recontextualization of social practices (van Leeuwen, 2008), supported by key categories from Systemic Functional Linguistics in the in-depth analysis of student texts.




How to Cite

Nygard, A. O., & Skaftun, A. (2017). The assignment transformed: Building a disciplinary affinity space in student blogs. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 17(1), 1–32.