31 SES 09 B JS, Literacy and Digitalisation in Education
Joint Paper Session NW 16 and NW 31
The aim of this paper is to discuss multimodal literacy in the digitalized foreign language classroom by presenting results from a study conducted among foreign language students (in Danish and English) in the upper classes in compulsory schools in Iceland.
Today, more than ever before, attention is being given to the role of the media, the internet, and new literacies as they relate to research and practice in foreign language classrooms. Modern foreign language teachers must be able to read and create a range of paper-based and online texts (newspapers, pamphlets, websites, books, e-books, and so on), participate in and create virtual settings (classrooms, Facebook, Elluminate, blogs, wikis etc.) that use interactive and dynamic Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools, and critically analyze multimodal texts that integrate visual, musical, dramatic, digital and new literacies (Albers, 2007; Doering, Beach, & O'Brien, 2007; Miller, 2007). In response to these needs, 21st century literacy and language classroom practice and research have become focused on multimodal literacies and ways to re-conceptualize and re-envision what constitutes literacy (Albers, Vasquez, & Harste, 208; Harste, 2003; Lewinson, Leland, & Harste, 2008; Miller, 2007; O'Brien & Beach, 2009).
As articulated among other things in the works of Halliday (1985), Kress and van Leeuwen (2006), and Farias et. all. (2011), multimodal communication is comprised of multiple “modes” or communicative forms (i.e., digital, spatial, visual, musical, etc.) within various sign systems that carry meanings recognized and understood a social collective. In multimodal theory, Jewitt and Kress (2003) identify four aspects that comprise one’s representation of meaning: materiality, framing, design, and production, all of which come into play when texts are constructed.
In this study the intention is to find answers to these research questions:
- How do students relate to and use multimodal communication in the foreign language classroom?
- How do teachers relate to and use multimodal communication in the foreign language classroom?
The research is based on interviews with language teachers, observation, video recordings and a collection of results produced by students. The data demonstrates how students work with different designed materials and how they prefer to present their own results connected to the assignments done.
The results indicate that adolescents feel comfortable with using IT and digital technologies when producing a “text” in connection with solving an assignment. However, some of the teachers didn´t feel comfortable with “all that technical stuff”. Teachers who lack skills or experience digital technologies are not like the students who often struggle to incorporate IT technologies into their products – instead, the teachers try to avoid what they are not good at. The results also indicate that students are more willing to integrate free sources such as You Tube, Wikis and Wikipedia into their work. Teachers on the other hand seem to be more connected to the traditional textbook. The findings also indicate that in those cases where the learning and teaching is conducted as a multimodal literacies instruction enables more students to enter into academic thinking/reflection, than uni-dimensional forms of literacy instruction. Finally, the findings suggest that multimodal literacies instruction has the power to reach students marginalized because of a mismatch in school and home cultures. Multimodal literacy instruction seems to reach out to those students who do not conform to the traditional institutionalized academic learning styles.
Albers, P. (2007). Visual discourse analysis: An introduction to the analysis of school-generated visual texts. In D. W. Rowe, R. T. Jiménez, D. L. Compton, D. K. Dickinson, Y. Kim, K. M. Leander, & V. J. Risko (Eds.), 56th-year book of the National Reading Conference (pp. 70-83). Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference. Albers, P., Vasquez, V. M., & Harste, J. C. (208). A classroom with a view: Teachers, multimodality, and new literacies. Talking Points, 19(2), 3-13. Doering, A., Beach, R., & O'Brien, D. (2007). Infusing multimodal tools and digital literacies into an English education program. English Education, 40(1), 41-60. Farias, M. A., Obilinovic, K., & Orrego, R. (2011). Engaging multimodal learning and second/foreign language education in dialogue. Trabalhos em Linguistica Aplicada, 50(1), 131-151. Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). An introduction to functional grammar. . London: Edward Arnold. Harste, J. C. (2003). What do we mean by literacy now? Voices from the Middle, 10(3), 8-12. Jewitt, C., & Kress, G. R. (2003). Multimodal literacy. New York: P. Lang. Kress, G. R., & van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: The grammar of visual design (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. Lewinson, M., Leland, C., & Harste, J. C. (2008). Creating critical classrooms: K–8 reading and writing with an edge. New York: Erlbaum. Mayer, R. (2001). Multimedia Learning. New York: Cambridge University Press. Miller, S. M. (2007). English teacher learning for new times: Digital video composing as multimodal literacy practice. English Education, 40(1), 61-83. O'Brien, D., & Beach, R. (2009). Students’ engagement with digital literacy/writing tools. Paper presented at the International Reading Association Research Conference, Phonix, AZ.
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