The purpose of this study was to examine students' representations of their literate identities in what Gee (2008) calls Discourse that developed among 105 high school students— 103 10th-grade and two 11th-grade students—using a wiki for class work, collaboration, and social interaction. The theoretical frame for the present study was drawn from of four bodies of literature. Through a reciprocal process of positioning self and others (van Langenhove & Harré, 1999), individuals come to form and display their literate identity (Heath, 1991) within a community of practice (Wenger, 1998). Their interactions reflect norms, values, and accepted ways of being within the Discourses to which they belong (Gee, 2008). Data analysis procedures employed in this study were similar to those commonly associated with qualitative data analysis. I used a recursive process of coding and searching for patterns and themes to analyze students' writing on the class wiki. Analysis of the wiki posts revealed that students employed 18 written devices within the Discourse of the wiki. In addition, within the online Discourse that emerged on the wiki, students occupied nine positions in relation to the others in the community. Findings of this study suggest that students developed a community of practice where norms for participation in the Discourse of the wiki were constructed by its members. Students represented their academic and social literate identities online through the combination of devices they used and the positions they enacted in the Discourse of the wiki.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





Adolescence, Communities of Practice, Discourse, Literate Identity, New Literacies, Positioning Theory, Wiki