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Digital literacies through an intersectional lens: the case of Javier

Jessica Zacher Pandya (Department of Liberal Studies, California State University, Long Beach, California, USA)
Nat Hansuvadha (Department of Liberal Studies, California State University, Long Beach, California, USA)
Kathleah Allene Consul Pagdilao (California Conference for Equality and Justice, Long Beach, California, USA)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 1 November 2018

Issue publication date: 6 December 2018




The purpose of this paper is to examine, through an intersectional lens, how digital video composing can be an act of redistributive social justice for students with learning disabilities.


The authors draw on two years’ worth of observation, interview, survey and digital video data to present a case study of Javier (all names are pseudonyms), a Latinx English Learner with several learning disabilities. The authors worked with him, making digital videos in a general education classroom as part of a larger design-based study. The authors describe how he made meaning in various modes, across modes, and how his intersectional identities inflected his meaning-making and were visible in his video artifacts.


Javier was an able digital composer, made meaning across modes and was attentive to audience. His videos offer a portrait of a child with learning disabilities navigating his complex cultural worlds.

Research limitations/implications

This is a single case study built to bridge multiple theoretical and disciplinary backgrounds. Javier was able to compose semiotically powerful messages with socially powerful digital tools.


The authors argue that the use of such tools is a chance for redistributive social justice. Children traditionally underserved by innovations in digital making should not be left out.



Pandya, J.Z., Hansuvadha, N. and Pagdilao, K.A.C. (2018), "Digital literacies through an intersectional lens: the case of Javier", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 387-399.



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