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George L. Boggs

Published October 14, 2015

George L. Boggs studies literacies that people develop to do what they endeavor to do. His writing addresses scientific, economic, cultural, and political value of literacies by looking at reading and writing in specific contexts of their use, as well as looking at those broader material and social contexts to understand the work various literacies support. In education there is much uncertainty over what literacy is and how to go about teaching it, especially among young adults. The problem affects how we view technology, work, creativity, and the whole project of teaching and learning. Boggs’ work focuses on people using literacies of various kinds to do work they value, which allows him to write about many meanings of literacies and consider possible avenues for improving teaching and learning coordinated by adults on behalf of children.

Boggs’ teaching background is influenced by years of work in alternative school settings, where he worked with children and adults in wilderness camping, sports, making music, and reform school settings. His scholarship may be viewed as a quest for authentic learning experiences that can make school better for kids who do not now see it as a place of learning and doing important things. Recent projects blurring the lines between scholarship, activism, and art have zeroed in on outsiders’ efforts to fix schools’ problems that may wind up making them much worse, as technological learning tools and data-driven efforts to reform teaching are flooding in. Boggs responded in 2014 by starting an entrepreneurial farm with high school students who attend a local alternative school. Now a technology project is in the works that positions students as creative producers (rather than consumers only) of educational technology.