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Abstract and Figures

Changes to literacy pedagogy are gradually occurring in classrooms in response to contemporary communication and learning contexts. These changes are diverse as teachers and educational researchers attempt to design new pedagogy to respond to the potential of digital technologies within existing curriculum and assessment policies. This paper discusses evidence from recent classroom research where 16 teachers worked in teams in nine primary school classrooms to develop new ways of embedding technology for literacy learning. Data from the nine case studies provides evidence that teachers can combine the teaching of print-based literacy with digital communications technology across a range of curriculum areas. Findings from this research confirm that literacy needs to be redefined within current curriculum contexts, particularly in light of the emergence of a national curriculum. New descriptors of language and literacy criteria are proposed within the framework of multimodal literacy, the literacy that is needed in contemporary times for reading, viewing, responding to and producing multimodal and digital texts.
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Multimodal literacy:
What does it mean for classroom practice?
Q
Maureen Walsh
A  C U
Abstract
Changes to literacy pedagogy are gradually occurring in classrooms in response to
contemporary communication and learning contexts. These changes are diverse as
teachers and educational researchers attempt to design new pedagogy to respond
to the potential of digital technologies within existing curriculum and assessment
policies. This paper discusses evidence from recent classroom research where 16
teachers worked in teams in nine primary school classrooms to develop new ways
of embedding technology for literacy learning. Data from the nine case studies
provides evidence that teachers can combine the teaching of print-based literacy
with digital communications technology across a range of curriculum areas.
Findings from this research conrm that literacy needs to be redened within
current curriculum contexts, particularly in light of the emergence of a national
curriculum. New descriptors of language and literacy criteria are proposed within
the framework of multimodal literacy, the literacy that is needed in contemporary
times for reading, viewing, responding to and producing multimodal and digital
texts.
Introduction
Within the context of two national initiatives, the Digital Education Revolu-
tion (Australian Government, DEEWR, 2008) and the development of a Draft
Australian Curriculum for English (ACARA, 2009–2010), it is timely that the
challenges and implications of digital communication technologies for literacy
education be considered. Rapid changes in digital communication provide
facilities for reading and writing to be combined with various and often
quite complex aspects of images, music, sound, graphics, photography and
lm. At the same time, educational policy and national testing requirements
are still principally focused on the reading and writing of print-based texts.
If multiple literacies (Simpson & Walsh, in press) or multiliteracies (Cope &
Kalantzis, 2000; Unsworth, 2001; Healy, 2008) are now essential prociencies
for communication in a contemporary world, the challenge for literacy educa-
tors is to consider to what extent digital technologies can be incorporated
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within classroom literacy programs without reducing the importance of the
rich, imaginative and cultural knowledge that is derived from books.
As with all innovation, we are currently in a transition stage where educa-
tional policy and curriculum documents have not yet adapted to changes that
have occurred with the range of digital media that are becoming embedded in
people’s lives. In several sections of the Draft National Curriculum for English,
there is reference to the importance of students reading and producing multi-
modal and digital texts. However the document does not articulate clearly
how these texts can be incorporated into teaching, learning and assessment.
Nor does the Draft Curriculum take into account the contradiction between
students working with multimodal and digital texts while being assessed
through national tests that occur with print-based materials. It is essential
that we become specic in the way we describe new processes of reading
and writing that are occurring with digital communications technology; that
we allow for appropriate changes in pedagogy; and that we develop relevant
procedures for assessment.
This paper discusses the results of ongoing research, specically focusing
on a study conducted in nine primary classrooms (K-6) in Sydney during
2008. The aim of the research was to investigate the literacy strategies that
students need for reading and writing with multimodal texts; and to identify
the most appropriate pedagogy for combining print-based with digital tech-
nologies. The results of the study provide specic examples of how teachers
and students can engage with digital communication. In each classroom
teachers worked within teams to develop integrated programs across different
curriculum areas, combining print and digital texts for students’ engagement
in reading, responding to, viewing, writing and producing texts. The analysis
of the classroom data conrms that literacy needs to be redened within
current curriculum contexts.
Review of recent research
The increased accessibility and mobility of digital technology have rapidly
changed the way we communicate and these changes intensify the need to
clarify the relationship between literacy and technology. Currently we are
able to communicate instantly with combinations of text, photographs or
videos via mobile phone technology and with different types of computers
and multimedia devices. Social changes have accompanied these technolog-
ical developments and the new ‘textual landscape’ (Carrington, 2005). We are
able to participate in twittering, wikis, blogs or in various social networking
sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr); obtain instant information
from the Web; or participate in a virtual environment through gaming or in a
virtual world such as ‘Second Life’. These communication environments are
changing the way people present themselves and the way relationships are
developed. The ‘new’ of the future is constantly replacing the ‘new’ of now.
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We do not know how these developments will continue to impact on society
or on children growing up in this digital environment.
The impact of these technological developments on literacy education
have been theorised for some time (e.g. Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Lankshear
& Knobel, 2003; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; Kress, 2003), however, it is not
simply a matter of transferring these theories into educational policy and
curriculum design. New educational theories have to be clearly articulated
and researched in real classrooms. Different terminology has been used in
recent years to indicate how literacy has been changing within new modes of
communication, e.g. visual literacy, new literacies, digital literacies, multimo-
dality and multiliteracies (e.g. Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; Cope & Kalantzis,
2000; Unsworth, 2001; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear &
Leu, 2008). In this paper the term multimodal literacy is used to indicate the
way processes of literacy– reading, writing, talking, listening and viewing–
are occurring within and around new communication media (Kress & Jewitt,
2003; Pahl & Rowsell, 2005; Walsh, 2008).
Multimodal literacy refers to meaning-making that occurs through the
reading, viewing, understanding, responding to and producing and inter-
acting with multimedia and digital texts. It may include oral and gestural
modes of talking, listening and dramatising as well as writing, designing and
producing such texts. The processing of modes, such as image, words, sound
and movement within texts can occur simultaneously and is often cohesive
and synchronous. Sometimes specic modes may dominate. For example,
when processing screen-based texts the visual mode may dominate whereas
the mode of sound may be dominant in podcasts.
There are two signicant themes emerging from current research into
multimodal literacy and these considerations have implications for classroom
practice. The rst theme is the effect of the technological changes that are
inherent in reading, writing and producing ‘on screen’ compared with reading
and writing print-based texts. The second theme is related to the changes
that are occurring in the social practices of literacy which have changed and
expanded exponentially with the development of Web 2.0 technology. These
two themes are now discussed in the light of ongoing research.
Reading, writing and producing on screen
While considering the differences in both reading and writing on screen
compared with print-based texts, it is often impossible to separate the proc-
esses of reading, viewing, interacting and writing. A crucial issue for literacy
educators is whether those ‘basic’ aspects of reading and writing ‘on screen’
entail different processes from the reading, writing and producing of print-
based texts. The theory of multimodality (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001; Kress,
2003) has been the basis for the contention that the simultaneous processing of
different modes of text, image, sound and gesture in visual, media or digital
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texts is a different function from the linear, sequential reading of print-based
texts. Other theorists and researchers (e.g. Snyder, 1997; Leu, 2000; Unsworth,
2001; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003) have supported this view for some time and
have attempted to theorise the changed nature of literacy within new commu-
nication environments.
A recent study conducted through the United Kingdom Literacy Asso-
ciation (UKLA) (Bearne et al. 2007) provides evidence to show that students
across an age range from three to sixteen use a range of skills and strate-
gies for reading screen-based texts. Observations from this study show that
the navigation of screen-based texts frequently involves ‘radial browsing’
which is quite different from the left-to-right, linear reading of print-based
texts. Researchers’ observations conrmed that students were able to trawl
language, image and music as well as highlight key sections to retrieve
information. While students were able to apply aspects of comprehension to
obtaining screen-based information it was ‘orchestrating the different modes
to make meaning’ (p.20) that was seen as a different process that could not be
assessed in the same way as the assessment of the reading of print-based texts.
We need to realise, however, that we cannot just consider the differ-
ences between reading print and reading on screen as static comparisons.
Reading on screen involves various aspects of online processing that includes
responding to animated icons, hypertext, sound effects, and the continuous
pathways between and within screens for internet and intranet. Researchers
(e.g. Lawless & Shrader, 2008) have only begun to understand the processes
of navigating hypermedia along with both the intertexual and intratexual
characteristics of cyberspace environments.
Students of today quickly adapt to the navigation potential and the
processing of different modes within digital texts (Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2001).
This processing itself often incorporates a merging and synchronising of text,
images, sound and movement as these occur in recent digital products, such as
the iPhone for example. We do not know how such processing and morphing
of messages and texts is affecting the way children learn, or if the processes
involved in activities such as texting, blogging, or communicating online are
developing different cognitive abilities than those required for reading and
writing traditional print-based texts. Gee’s research (2003) on video gaming
suggests that the procedures involved can offer cognitive advantages with
intricate literacy and learning opportunities.
While writing on screen has existed for a long time with word-processing
facilities, ‘writing’ is now very often a move towards a product that may
contain quite sophisticated layout, graphics, photographs and images. Bearne
(2003) has for some time explicated the possibilities of teachers using students’
writing and production of multimodal texts within classroom literacy
programs. Recently, Bearne and Wolstencroft (2007) have demonstrated possi-
bilities for teachers programming and assessing writing through students’
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multimodal texts. They show the interrelationship between reading and
writing in producing texts and explain how students need to understand the
meaning making potential of different modes, particularly the relationship
between words and images, in reading, writing and producing multimodal
texts.
The facilities of Web 2.0 have further changed the possibilities of students’
writing and text production. A weblog or blog, for example, is produced with
appropriate layout for screen and can combine text, images, graphics, photos
or video with sound and music. Design is important for blogs and needs to be
carefully developed to reect the author/producer and to engage the audience
who can respond with text and images. As students produce multimodal
texts they need to consider and understand features of design such as layout,
composition, use of text and image or graphics– including aspects such as
colour, size, medium, angles– and the way these would suit a specic audi-
ence. It is signicant that other researchers have been investigating design as
integral to literacy pedagogy (e.g. Kalantzis & Cope, 2005; Healy, 2008).
While considering these differences in both reading and writing on screen
compared with print-based texts, it is now impossible to separate processes of
reading or writing on screen from the social practices that accompany these
processes. These social practices of literacy have changed and expanded expo-
nentially with the development of Web 2.0 technology.
Changing social practices of literacy
These changes have both educational and social implications that are only
partly related to technology. The escalation of the popularity and availability
of social networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and others, and
the associated development of blogs, wikis and participation in online gaming
and virtual reality sites have enabled different forms of communication and
communities to evolve.
It has long been accepted that literacy is not a simple act of decoding,
comprehending or reproducing printed word on the page. Rather literacy has
been shown to be founded in social practices (e.g. Street, 1984; Barton, 1994)
so that becoming literate is a complex interaction between the learner’s back-
ground and language and the context, purpose and discourse of the text. With
the increased use and popularity of social networking, literacy practices have
adapted to these changed forms of communication. Such rapid development
of digital technologies has changed the nature of literacy and will continue to
do so. As Coiro et al. (2008) contend,
No previous technology for literacy has been adopted by so many, in so many
different places, in such a short period, and with such profound consequences.
No previous technology for literacy permits the immediate dissemination of even
newer technologies of literacy to every person on the Internet by connecting to a
single link on a screen. (pp.2–3)
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The consideration for researchers and educators is whether literacy itself,
as social practice, will continue to change and need redening as further
online and mobile technology devices evolve and establish new ways of
communicating.
Students of today will need to be able to continually adapt to new tech-
nologies and to those literacy practices needed for each development. The
reality is that, even at this time of writing, newer communication technologies
are emerging. More than ever teachers need to prepare their students for the
new literacy practices and discourses that have become embedded in online
social interaction. More than ever students need to be able to identify the
authenticity and ideology of texts and messages, and to critically evaluate the
purpose and audience that specic texts are designed for. With the sophistica-
tion possible with designing texts, students need not only to be able to use
and manipulate new technologies but to be able to consider the best way to
use these for their purpose and audience. The research reported in this paper
provides some insight into classroom responses to both the technological and
social changes of digital communication.
The research study
The purpose of the research study was to broaden understandings of
programming for literacy learning within both print-based and digital
communication environments to achieve sustainable outcomes for literacy
learning and teaching. The study was conducted with sixteen teachers in nine
primary classrooms (K-6) in the Sydney metropolitan area. Many of these
schools had large numbers of second language learners of English. Teachers
volunteered for the project in response to an invitation from their employing
authority and they were selected on the basis of their interest and experience,
particularly their interest in investigating new pedagogy for literacy. Teachers
worked within teams, usually of two or three, and developed integrated
programs across different curriculum areas, combining print and digital texts
for students’ engagement in reading, responding to, viewing, writing and
producing texts. The results provide specic examples of ways in which
teachers and students were engaging with digital communication for literacy
learning and shaping future classrooms. Detailed examples are published
in other reports (e.g. Walsh, 2008; 2009) and the research is ongoing. The
examples presented in this paper provide evidence of changed and effective
practice for reshaping literacy pedagogy.
Methodology
The study used a mixed method design with online questionnaires and
multiple case studies. The online questionnaires were designed to obtain
information about students’ use of the internet and digital texts, as well as
print-based texts, outside school. The qualitative design of the study was an
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incorporation of professional learning and research. Teachers worked with the
researcher within the paradigm of collaborative participatory research (e.g.
Wagner, 1997, pp. 13–22; Yelland, Lee, O’Rourke & Harrison, 2008, p. 16). This
approach to research maintains a balance between developing new knowledge
and involving the members of the community with the teachers as partners in
the research. The researcher developed the survey and completed classroom
observations and analysis of data. Other curriculum advisers assisted in
classroom observations. Teachers planned their program and kept diaries,
notes on their classroom observations and submitted these diaries and a
written report along with samples of students’ work in print and digital form.
Data consisted of classroom observations; diaries in photos and video les;
teachers’ programs, reports and reections; samples of students’ work in print
and digital mode; and students’ comments on their learning. Guidelines were
developed for observations of specic aspects of students’ literacy behaviour.
The data was analysed to discern common themes related to specic aspects
of language and literacy learning. In the rst instance students’ work was
separated into outcomes and indicators from the NSW K-6 English Syllabus
of talking and listening, reading, viewing and writing. Each case study was
analysed to identify how aspects of digital communication were incorporated
into the criteria of talking and listening, reading and viewing, and writing.
The table in Appendix 1 demonstrates examples of the analysis with nine of
the case studies from the 2008 study.
Results of the study
Findings were analysed from two types of data, the online questionnaires that
students completed and the case study data from nine classrooms. These are
now discussed.
Questionnaire ndings
Online questionnaires were circulated to schools for students in the project
to provide information about their reading activities at home as well as
watching television, gaming, accessing the internet or other activities with
digital media. This survey was inuenced by the UKLA Reading on Screen
Report (Bearne et al. 2007) which investigated students’ literacy activities
outside school in order to consider how these activities might be impacting on
students’ literacy learning in school. Similar results are found in this Sydney
study, showing particular trends with gender differences and younger chil-
dren rapidly gaining prociency with digital texts. Results of responses from
approximately 220 students in Early Stage 1 (ES1), Stage 1 (S1) and Stage 3 (S3)
are summarised in Table 1.
These ndings reveal a trend away from students accessing print tech-
nologies at home. The majority of students were not reading books for leisure.
Although the sample of students is relatively small, the results are consistent
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with other research that has shown that, outside school, students are more
likely to be engaged in activities with digital and mobile technology such as
instant messaging, gaming and social networking. There are several impli-
cations for educators, particularly the challenge of maintaining students’
motivation to continue to read books and to engage in sustained reading of
varieties of print-based texts as well as digital texts.
Case study ndings
The programs developed by the 16 teachers in nine classrooms were analysed
as nine separate case studies. We examined the criteria of talking, listening,
reading, viewing and writing and considered how the use of digital commu-
nication technologies was occurring within these literacy activities.
In each of the nine case studies teachers integrated literacy within different
curriculum areas and these Key Learning Areas (KLAs) varied between
English, Science and Technology, Human Society and Its Environment,
Creative Arts and Religious Education. Digital communication technologies
• Over 50% of all students preferred playing computer games to reading or
watching TV.
96% of S3 students selected ‘playing computer games’ as their preferred spare
time activity.
46% girls, 38% boys in S1 indicated they enjoyed reading for leisure. By S3 the
responses to this item were 44% girls, 10% boys.
Fewer than 30% of S3 students read novels at home.
50% of S3 boys thought ‘reading was boring’ compared with 10% of girls.
Most of S3 students indicated they used the internet at home for school
projects.
• In younger years more girls than boys indicated they used the internet at
home for school projects.
• In ES1 and S1, the majority of boys indicated they used the internet in their
spare time for activities not associated with school work.
More than 50% of all students responded that they received support at home
with internet use. Less students indicated that they received support with
reading books.
40–90% ES1, S1 & S3 students indicated condence with using a digital
camera. A similar % responded in ES1 as in S3 with a higher indication from
boys. More than 40% of all students had used Photoshop, media player, and
made a podcast.
• Responses from younger students suggested they were as familiar as older
students with digital photography technology.
Table 1. Summary of questionnaires
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became embedded within students’ learning experiences and these were the
result of the teachers planning with a holistic approach towards literacy peda-
gogy. There was a continuum in the development of print and digital literacy
practices across different KLAs. The focus on literacy within these curriculum
subjects ensured that students needed to build their knowledge of the eld,
or content knowledge, in their understanding of concepts, development of
vocabulary knowledge, and ways of using language structures in spoken and
written forms to observe, describe, report, explain or discuss key aspects of
knowledge. Thus there was a continual merging of learning experiences with
print and digital materials, along with talking, listening, reading, writing and
producing texts for real purposes.
An example of this merging is evident in Table 2 which summarises the
unit of work in a Year One classroom. In this unit, entitledDigichicks, the
students were engaged in a number of concrete experiences, linked to reading
and writing activities, which helped to develop their understanding of the
lifecycle of a chicken. Some of these experiences included students observing
chickens hatch and grow, designing a hatchery, creating clay gures for a
Claymation story of the lifecycle of a chicken, and cooking.
Table 2. The merging of concrete with print and digital reading practices
This summary demonstrates the richness of learning that occurred as
students engaged in reading and writing through a great deal of talking,
listening, observing and viewing with concrete materials, print and digital
texts. There was a constant interchange between sensory experiences, written
and screen modes of images and words. For example, photographs of the
chicks at different stages of growth were displayed around the classroom
with written descriptions that the students were able to read. Students wrote
Students observed the life cycle of chickens from the embryo in an egg to full
growth and listened to explanations of different stages with new vocabulary.
Observations were enhanced by use of a light table, magnifying glass and a
digital microscope with images transferred onto a computer screen and saved.
These photos with other photos from the web cam were saved and used for an
online diary in Voice Thread. Visual records with comments were displayed in
the classroom. Teachers extended oral language structures of sequencing and
explaining and scaffolded these with audio recorded explanations on teacher-
made postcards. The teacher modelled reading of related literature with continual
attention to word recognition, phonics and sight vocabulary. Students read and
viewed information books, class displays of posters, display of pop-up cards,
and information in the online journals, internet sites and video. Print and digital
displays were used as scaffolds for joint writing of explanations and for the
making and photographing of clay gures for a Claymation production.
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their individual descriptions and procedures on paper-based texts and also
typed their comments into the online diary Voic eThr ead as they uploaded
photographs. Other students responded with their comments. This example
is typical of all the case studies where signicant literacy and learning were
occurring for students. In every case observed, students were all engaged
in investigation by reading, viewing, searching and responding to informa-
tion in books or screen-based texts. Through their investigations they were
gaining knowledge of the curriculum content of specic KLAs, understanding
concepts and problem solving. Students were engaged in literacy practices,
displaying metacognition, and using the metalanguage of the KLA as well
as the language of digital technology. Students were beneting from the
extended focus of units of work and the multiple tasks developed within these
units. Literacy practices of reading, viewing and writing were occurring, with
oral language, collaboration and problem solving, as integrated, multimodal
processes within different KLAs. These literacy practices were different from
a traditional view of literacy as the ‘reading and writing’ of paper-based texts.
Two major conclusions were drawn from the data. These were:
1. the changed nature of the language and literacy practices of talking,
listening, reading and writing; and
2. the changed nature of learning and teaching with digital communication
technologies.
The main features of these conclusions are now discussed.
Discussion
The changed nature of the language and literacy practices of talking,
listening, reading and writing
The data conrmed that literacy needs to be redened within current curric-
ulum contexts, particularly in light of the emergence of a national curriculum.
It became evident that the language and literacy processes of talking, listening,
reading and writing embody further dimensions when combined with digital
communications technology. For example, in one of the case studies in Stage
3 (Years 5 and 6), teachers developed an integrated program for English and
Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) around the central theme of the artist
Picasso. Students explored Picasso’s life, famous works and his period in art
history. Some of the students’ work involved participating in class blogs with
collaborative discussion and critique, as well as producing written texts and
digital media that showed their analysis of Picasso’s work. Table 3 shows an
analysis of the case study using the criteria of talking and listening, reading
and writing along with the incorporation of digital technology. Bold typeface
indicates the use of digital texts or digital technology.
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Table 3. Description of language and literacy practices
with print and digital texts.
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Collaboration was an essential focus of talking and listening activities as
students worked in small groups and:
• discussed their responses to cubist art works of Picasso;
• presented an oral description of the artwork ‘Guernica’;
• planned group projects on Picasso– these involved negotiation and
collaboration, use of digital photography;
• evaluated and critiqued cubist works in groups as well as through blogs;
• created enactments of characters in art with photographs and video;
• planned PowerPoint presentations;
planned video presentation with use of Smart Board.
Reading Within the study of Picasso and cubism, students:
• read, viewed and compared art works within the cubist movement;
• researched using books, searched online web links and samples of
artworks to identify and compare information of Picasso’s Blue and Rose
Period;
used facilities of the Smart Board to read and deconstruct language
features of a pre-existing Literary Description.
Writing Students produced a range of writing and digital products:
• used Mr Picasso Head’ (Online site) to introduce and produce abstract
art;
• through teachers’ explicit teaching of grammar students’ participated in
interactive games and Smart Board gallery les;
• wrote literary descriptions with a focus on ethical note taking and how to
avoid plagiarism;
• wrote literary descriptions using paintings from the Blue and Rose
Periods– use of art appreciation cards as scaffold;
• Participated in blogging for beginners– children exposed to online
denitions of ‘blogging.’ Posted entries onto a stage blog which was
organised as a property on intranet.
In groups students:
• wrote and produced a procedure on ‘How to create a cubist artwork’.
• Students used a digital camera to create a visual storyboard;
combined text with photo to create a Smart Board presentation of their
work;
created an exhibition brochure using Publisher and created
storyboards;
Photographed other students in costume and role as characters from
painting ‘Family of Saltimbanques’ and these were transferred
to Movie Maker to create a video on Smart Board: digital literacy
description of ‘Family of Saltimbanques’ or ‘Guernica’;
responded in blogs to cubist art work of other students that were
photographed and available online.
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The details presented in Table 3 demonstrate how the language and
literacy practices of talking, listening, reading and writing merged with
digital texts and digital technology. This example is typical of what was
occurring throughout many of the case studies although the ages of the
students, the topics and type of technology varied in each case (as shown in
Appendix1). While some programs were more effective than others, there
was often a richness of learning when literacy activities, modes and texts
were connected in a meaningful way. The interweaving of digital technology
allowed for a holistic learning experience with talking, listening, reading and
writing being interdependent.
Thus a more comprehensive description of language and literacy has
evolved from this study and is proposed as a ‘work in progress’ for consid-
eration and comment from readers. This description of multimodal literacy is
represented by the diagram in Figure 1. The diagram depicts the interrelation-
ship between different texts, mediums and modes and includes traditional
along with digital features within the modes of talking, listening, reading and
writing.
Figure 1. Multimodal literacy in classroom contexts
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The diagram represents the interrelationship that occurred between
literacy activities throughout the nine case studies in the project. The
diagram shows spoken, print, digital and multimedia texts as interchangeable
resources within the classrooms. These texts exist within the whole concept of
multimodal literacy because students were reading and responding to these
different types of texts as well as writing and producing them.
The practices of talking, listening, reading, viewing and writing were
interrelated and interdependent as talking and listening led to reading activi-
ties or to writing tasks. Similarly reading often involved talking and listening
or led to writing, while writing invoked talking and listening or further
reading. The three circles within the diagram represent the interdependency
and uidity between these language and literacy practices. Specic terms are
listed to demonstrate those practices that usually occur. In addition, other
terms are suggested to show further practices that are occurring with digital
communication. These terms are not denitive but an attempt to demon-
strate how language and literacy practices are developing further dimensions
within new communication environments.
Talking and listening occurred as students responded to print or digital
texts they had read, viewed, listened to, written and produced. Talking and
listening were not isolated skills as they usually involved students collabo-
rating to investigate a topic and negotiating to construct a product for an
audience to demonstrate their learning. Collaboration included networking
and connecting to texts and each other in both a physical and virtual sense.
Talking and listening were essential to learning and literacy as students
researched and planned to demonstrate specic knowledge through their nal
designed products. Along with the facilities of digital technology, students
were connecting and networking online as well as together in the classroom.
Aspects of social networking were introduced in three of the classes through
Voice Thread technology or class blogs. These adaptations of social networking
allowed for ongoing communication and interaction between participants.
Students were able to synchronously see other students’ work, responses and
opinions as they responded with their own.
Such online communication within the classrooms was establishing
new social practices and extending the concept of talking and listening for
learning. As well, students engaged in craft, art, music or drama activities
within these processes. Thus the denition of talking and listening needs to
include aspects such as collaborating, investigating, negotiating, enacting,
connecting, interacting, and networking.
Reading entailed students being involved in shared, modelled and
in depen dent reading with various phonics, word recognition and vocabulary
activities appropriate to their age. It also involved students responding at
different levels of literal, inferential and critical understanding with informa-
tion books and literature. At the same time many of these activities occurred
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with digital texts such as internet sites. Students interacted with texts and
with others as they researched information in books or on screen. On-screen
reading incorporates multisensory activities such as searching, viewing,
browsing, scrolling and navigating together with the clicking and scrolling
of a mouse, responding to animated icons, hypertext, sound effects, and the
continuous pathways between and within screens. The denition of reading
is shown in the diagram as ‘reading and viewing’, and this is consistent
with terminology that occurs in many curriculum documents. As reading
and viewing are often an interchangeable process, reading should include
aspects such as analysing, browsing, decoding, hyper linking, interpreting,
navigating, responding and searching.
Writing involved all students writing one or more text type on paper. This
process then led to students composing, planning, designing and producing
texts on paper to be transformed into digital or multimedia texts on screen.
On-screen writing usually became part of a designed product for an audience
e.g. a poster or a pamphlet, website, slide show or a multimedia text such as
a movie, with graphics, animation and sound. Students developed skills for
evaluating and critiquing their own and their peers’ work as they considered
the purpose of their text and its appropriateness for its audience. For example,
in two instances where teachers organised blogging for their students in
upper and middle primary classes students were given clear guidelines on
how to make constructive and critical comments on their peers’ work. As
shown in the Picasso program, design emerged as an integral component of
writing and producing texts to reect the author/producer and to engage the
audience. It became evident that as students were producing multimodal texts
they had to consider and understand features of design such as layout, compo-
sition, use of text and image or graphics– including aspects such as colour,
size, medium, angles– and the way these would suit a specic audience. Thus
the denition of writing should incorporate composing, creating, designing,
evaluating, planning, producing, and transforming.
These redenitions of language and literacy explain how the processes of
talking, listening, reading and writing are different because of the way digital
technology has changed social communication practices. Differences occur,
not only in interaction between different modes in the processes of reading or
writing on screen or online, but in the interaction between students. Aspects
that have not been considered in this study in relation to reading and writing
in virtual environments are intertexuality, intratextuality and the evolution of
hybrid texts. These aspects need to be considered in any further descriptions
of reading and writing as they are inuencing texts that are interchanged
though the web, particularly within social networking environments. The
inuences of such social practices were emerging as signicant considerations
within the data. For example, observations of Kindergarten using VoiceThread
showed they were highly motivated to extend the diary of their learning into
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this online environment. Teachers of upper primary students commented on
how students were engaged in reading, writing and learning through use of
blogs. Some examples of students’ comments on these experiences are shown
in Table 4.
Table 4. Stage 3 students’ comments on blogging
These comments show that students were responding positively to
the collaborative, open sharing of work and ideas possible through online
communication. Teachers found that these early attempts at social networking
were engaging students in learning. One teacher’s comment is typical of
many others, ‘We found that students who were not usually keen to write were more
engaged in the writing process as there was a motivating goal for them to see each
other’s work and to achieve collaboratively’.
The changed nature of learning and teaching with
digital communication technologies
Within the analysis of the case study data we mapped the interweaving
of digital communication within all three key literacy areas of talking and
listening, reading and writing. Digital communication technologies became
embedded within students’ learning experiences and these were the result of
the teachers planning with a holistic approach so that there was a continuum
in the development of print and digital literacy practices across different
KLAs. Teachers considered that there was an increased quality in students’
talking and listening experiences. The majority of activities involving digital
technology required talking and listening either about the technology and
how to use it, the KLA topic, or the literacy activity required. Increasingly
throughout the tasks students were engaged in critical reection and evalua-
tion. This learning encouraged more talking about the work of others and in
turn, encouraged a collaborative learning environment.
Along with the collaborative nature of communication that occurred with
online diaries and blogging activities, collaboration occurred throughout all
the case studies as students worked together. Both researchers and teachers
observed the nature of this collaboration as different from previous ways
that students had worked in group activities. Group work and cooperative
‘With a blog you can have your own opinion.’
‘It’s good because everyone can see what you say.’
‘It’s more interesting for others to read.’
‘You learn from other people’s work.[repeated by many students]
‘You share.
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learning have existed in education for several decades but we considered that
there were different dynamics occurring in students’ interactions with each
other and with the tasks. Although these differences cannot be quantitatively
proven, the data from the nine case studies suggests that students’ coopera-
tion with others had taken on a distinct prole. This prole was evidenced by
students having a purpose, usually to create a digital or multimedia text to
be communicated to an audience. To achieve this purpose they assisted each
other, negotiated, supported and critiqued their peers’ work to create a nal
product for an audience. Such participatory learning was evident in all the
case studies. The range of activities that occurred meant that talking, listening
and learning were linked to the interaction with digital technologies and,
as already shown, created a different social prole of collaboration between
students within the classroom.
It is difcult to determine whether this social prole of collaboration is
directly related to the increase of social networking practices on the web
along with the overall changes in communication with digital technologies.
Research into aspects of social networking is at preliminary stages and, as
Merchant (2008) has shown, not able to proceed as fast as the phenomenon
itself. There is evidence, however, to show that social networking is more
interactive and participatory, and that the nature of literacy practices in online
or virtual environments are shaping identities differently (Coiro et al., 2008).
The data, some of which has been discussed in this paper, show that interac-
tive and participatory features enabled students to engage enthusiastically
in learning. Perhaps students were responding to modes of learning and
communicating that they are encountering outside school. The question of
students adapting their identities to suit different online practices or virtual
worlds was not evident within this study with primary school students. Other
research (e.g. Lewis & Farbos, 2005) is indicating that the issue of identity is an
important consideration for future pedagogy that uses social networking prac-
tices. While much more research is needed to consider classroom implications,
it was evident that the social features of digital communication technologies
were intertwined with students’ motivation and engagement in learning.
Conclusion
The ndings from this research study reveal positive outcomes as well as
challenges for new literacy pedagogy. Classroom evidence demonstrates that
teachers can combine students’ print-based literacy learning with digital
communications technology effectively. This outcome was achieved by
teachers recognising the need to adapt classroom communication to those
digital communication practices that students access outside school and that
will be signicant in the future for their students. There were many exciting
and innovative experiences throughout the study that provide evidence that
teachers were planning creatively to engage students in effective literacy
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learning. There are however several challenges existing within this relatively
new learning environment. We need to accept that there are unanswered
questions within a time of transition for education as we continue to blend
new with traditional approaches to learning and teaching.
We have to ensure that with the incorporation of digital communication
technologies basic aspects of reading, writing, language learning, grammar,
spelling and punctuation are still explicitly taught. However we need to
be clear about those aspects that are now ‘basic’ for reading and writing
with digital and multimedia texts. Teachers in this project assessed students’
reading and production of multimodal texts in relation to Syllabus outcomes
but further research is needed for specic assessment criteria that will reect
changing practices.
The data from the study offers evidence for new descriptors of literacy
and theorises the concept of ‘multimodal literacy’ within classroom contexts.
These new descriptors, which are proposed as a ‘work in progress’ that others
may build on and critique, are in accord with other ongoing research. They
need to be considered for incorporation into curriculum documents for plan-
ning, teaching and assessment. At the same time it is important that such
descriptors be framed within consideration of social aspects of communica-
tion.
Acknowledgements
The author wishes to acknowledge the support of the Catholic Education
Ofce (CEO) Sydney and to particularly thank all the teachers and students
for their participation in this ongoing research.
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Appendix 1: Analysis of Case Studies
Summary of identication of literacy criteria of talking and listening, reading
and writing through each Case study
NB: Bold typeface indicates the incorporation of digital texts or digital tech-
nology
Case Study 1
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Students were engaged in many pair or group tasks that required them to
talk through their learning, e.g.
• the concept of colonisation;
• reasons for British colonisation of Australia;
• used new terms related to colonisation;
• used vocabulary related to cause and effect as well as description;
• listened to teachers explanations and to information on DVD;
• responded to and discussed information on Smart Board;
• identied key words, recalled information– use of dictogloss;
• collaborated in groups for recalling and recording relevant information;
• with drama– students enacted role plays of conict.
Reading To develop their understanding of Colonisation, students:
• read and researched information books and websites with Smart Board;
viewed DVD on British Colonisation of Australia;
• learnt the meaning of new vocabulary built on using key words;
• developed literal and inferential comprehension;
• sequenced information in chronological order by viewing and
completing timelines for signicant events and factors;
read, viewed and responded to information and demonstrations on
Smart Board;
viewed and responded to instructions re photographing, lming
and video editing techniques;
read and viewed summary of information and timeline on Smart
Board: touching, dragging, moving, innite cloning facility;
viewed and examined Google earth site;
read, viewed and completed online quiz on video editing.
Writing Writing literary recount was developed with teachers modeling and
scaffolding so that students:
• wrote summaries of information on cards about convicts to develop
information for their role play and as scaffolds for literary recounts;
• used scaffolds of language and grammatical structures on cards and on
Smart Board in preparation for literary recount;
• took digital photographs, particularly focusing on angle and distance, to
produce a photograph for their ‘convict cards’ within their role plays as
convicts;
viewed scaffolds of different literary recounts on Smart Board and
designed own individual text around a convict’s details;
• used moving image software from class server.
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Case Study 2
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
In investigating the ways of conserving the environment students:
• discussed their new learning about the impact of changes in the
environment and how some initiatives can be valuable– searches
assisted by nding information through use of Smart Board;
• used technical language related learning about aspects such as recycling
or reducing waste;
• engaged in problem solving and negotiation to identify relevant
information in books and on internet for production of posters;
• to select relevant information students were developing critical
evaluation and more discussion about the work of others;
• used language for the new technology and software;
• accepted peer tutoring in order to learn how to use the technology;
• due to high levels of motivation students often reiterated the expectations
of the task to others. This resulted in high quality results;
• students extended learning at home and enjoying sharing new ndings
with peers;
• students motivated by having an audience for video and more aware of
use of vocal tone and pitch for audience;
• dramatising of ‘Superhero’ script for lming and editing of video.
Reading In order to gain an understanding of the specied environmental topics
students:
• read and researched a variety of internet, factual texts;
read and viewing information in video e.g. Planet Ark campaigns;
• teacher modelled shared reading of literature, Hooray for Chester; The
Wonder Thing: Lester & Clyde;
• with teacher deconstructed explanation text on Smart Board– notebook
highlighter assisted in scaffolding students understanding of this
text-type;
explored image composition in detail (angle types, shot, range) with
use of Smart Board.
Writing Teacher led students into gradual development to writing of explanation
texts and with various models, scaffolds and products. Students:
• used Microsoft Movie Maker software and features to arrange scenes,
lm and edit images and audio to produce a short video. Students
involved in merging the pieces of the lm together, digitally;
• used imaginative idea of creating an environmental ‘Super Hero’ to
research and care for the environment;
• students designed and produced poster, story board, costume, lm;
• used 2Create and 2Publish software to create a water conservation
poster and cycles chart. Students used digital camera and downloaded
software in order to take photos to use on the poster. Students took
photographs, downloaded the image then cropped, rotated and edited
the images to suit the poster requirements;
planned and enacted scenes for lming their group videos of ‘Superhero’;
• used MyClasses Desktop and relevant properties with web links to
research lifecycles. Created a lifecycle using 2Publish software. Engaged
in peer constructive criticism in order to make appropriate changes;
• used 2Create a Story software to create a digital environmental
narrative and used story board for planning;
recorded ‘voice over’ feature in the program to record the text orally
taking into account individual character’s voices;
edited video to nal product.
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Case Study 3
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Collaboration was an essential focus of talking and listening activities as
students worked in small groups and:
• discussed their responses to cubist art works of Picasso;
• presented an oral description of the artwork ‘Guernica’;
• planned group projects on Picasso– these involved negotiation and
collaboration, use of digital photography;
• evaluated and critiqued in groups as well as through blogs;
• created enactments of characters in art with photographs and video;
• planned PowerPoint presentations;
planned video presentation with use of Smart Board.
Reading Within the study of Picasso and cubism, students:
• read, viewed and compared art works within the cubist movement;
• researched using books, searched online web links and samples of
artworks to identify and compare information of Picasso’s Blue and Rose
Period;
• used facilities of the Smart Board to read and deconstruct language
features of a pre-existing Literary Description.
Writing Students produced a range of writing and digital products:
• used Mr Picasso Head’ (Online site) to introduce and produce abstract
art;
• through teachers’ explicit teaching of grammar students’ participated in
interactive games and Smart Board gallery les;
• wrote literary descriptions with a focus on ethical note taking and how to
avoid plagiarism;
• wrote literary descriptions using paintings from the Blue and Rose
Periods– use of art appreciation cards as scaffold;
• participated in blogging for beginners– children exposed to online
denitions of ‘blogging.’ Posted entries onto a stage blog which was
organised as a property on ‘My classes’ page.
In groups students:
• wrote and produced a procedure on ‘How to create a cubist artwork’.
Students used a digital camera to create a visual storyboard;
combined text with photo to create a Smart Board presentation of their
work;
created an exhibition brochure using Publisher and created
storyboards;
Photographed other students in costume and role as characters from
painting ‘Family of Saltimbanques’ and these were transferred
to Movie Maker to create a video on Smart Board: digital literacy
description of ‘Family of Saltimbanques’ or ‘Guernica’;
responded in blogs to cubist art work of other students that were
photographed and available online.
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Case Study 4
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Students researched British Colonisation, focusing on specic aspects in
three groups: Law, the Environment and Disease. Students completed
research, worked in groups on tasks related to their areas, completed
written exposition, art works, displays. All brought together into producing
the exposition on a movie in Media Maker while learning the technology
and use of Smart Board. Through collaborative groups students:
• planned the organisation of research and the presentation of the nal
product using Media Maker;
• discussed possible themes/aspects to be researched;
• presented their research using SmartBoard technology to the class;
• discussed changes that needed to be made to paragraphs/sentences in
order to improve the quality of the writing;
produced voice recordings using a microphone linked to a computer.
This recording was then used in Media Player;
• negotiated how to create props, backdrops, designed appropriate
costumes;
• used language for new technology and software.
Reading In this investigation of Federation students:
• read and viewed information in texts and on websites;
• read, compared and evaluated other expositions on Federation;
• read the work of peers using Smartboard and responded critically.
Writing Students planned and produced:
• joint/small group construction of exposition– emphasis on developing
cohesive paragraphs;
• whole class joint construction using these paragraphs;
with Media Maker created a short lm using the exposition written
by the class. Students incorporated aspects of visual literacy which
impacted on the persuasiveness of the nal product. For example,
colour, movement of text on screen, and camera angle;
photographed other students in roles with digital camera. A photo to
represent the ideas in each paragraph was uploaded and inserted in
Media Maker:
used and uploaded Aboriginal Music appropriate to the theme for
presentation in Media Maker.
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Case Study 5
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
With integration of Religious Education with English, students worked with
teacher to develop a Liturgy for Easter and a procedural recount; ‘How to
prepare a Liturgy’. Students from two classes worked together and Year 6
students particularly assisted Year 2 students. Students:
• composed songs and taught these to Year 2 (including actions);
• students interviewed staff members and recorded interviews using
a digital video camera to investigate ‘What should a good Liturgy
include?’ They planned appropriate questions and the recording process
required a great deal of collaboration and team work;
• used language for the new technology and software;
• involved in peer tutoring in order to learn how to use the technology;
developed voice recording using a microphone.
Reading To assist their preparation of a class liturgy, students:
searched the internet for information on preparing liturgies,
interviewed and lmed other teachers to nd out information;
read, viewed and evaluated structure of different websites in
preparation to design their own websites;
• read scripts/questions prepared in group sessions in order to record
interviews with staff members.
• read and critiqued the work of their peers (creation of web pages,
PowerPoint presentations, procedural recount etc) using Smart Board
technology.
Writing To plan and produce a liturgy students:
• planned and wrote questions for interviews;
• used the information they obtained to gradually plan and participate in a
class liturgy with the teachers;
• used microphone to record text in PowerPoint presentations;
• use of digital camera to take photos of children celebrating the class
liturgy. Uploaded these photos onto the computer and used them in a
PowerPoint presentation;
• designed a webpage on ‘How to prepare a class Liturgy’;
• used Smart Board to display this work to their peers;
• used Microsoft Word, Microsoft FrontPage and the internet (freeweb.
com). Some students included hyperlinks.
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Case Study 6
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Through a range of tasks students:
• continually collaborated in response to print, visual and digital texts;
• learned by talking & listening, comparing opinions, collaborating;
• learned to critique other students’ tasks. Teacher modelled aspect of
critiquing positively with such guides as– What has the student done well
in this task? What could make it even better? Students applied these guides
and needed to discuss detailed aspects of students work to justify their
comments before loading their response on to blogs.
Reading Through tiered learning tasks, students:
• read, viewed and researched information through information texts,
websites, computer programs, brochures and pamphlets;
• completed research tasks chosen: viewed and read these on class blog;
• read, responded to and critically analysed other students’ work samples.
Writing Students:
• wrote reports of their learning from specic tasks then saved in les and
emailed to class blog;
edited on screen– evaluated design of other students’ products;
posted these comments onto the class blog;
considered appropriate internet protocols and language with emphasis
on safety and politeness;
read, wrote, designed and edited on screen.
Case Study 7
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Talking, listening, problem solving and collaboration occurred as students:
• were involved in principles of scientic investigation with issues re
the environment through experiments e.g. water salinity, land ll and
recycling, conserving water, air pollution, rubbish recycling, oil spills,
greenhouse gases. Each of these integrated with discussion of specic
gifts of Holy Spirit e.g. power & courage, wisdom, reverence, wonder &
awe, wisdom, understanding, right judgement.
• were learning about the meaning of the terms and using these in their
discussions and linking to aspects of the environment– metacognition
occurring through talk, e.g. wisdom, reverence, in relation to
conrmation.
• were required to present a denition and exposition of what a particular
term meant and show how it could be applied to their lives and a prayer.
• deconstructed different video advertisements to understand how they
were developed in preparation for doing their own video advertisement.
• engaged in involved inquiry learning & problem solving, estimation,
drawing conclusions, e.g. how long does it take to ll a bathtub of 100 litres?
Use of concrete materials and experiments provided real life evidence for
learning. Understanding of scientic terms and processes, e.g. salinity,
ozone layer.
• were learning by talking & listening, comparing results, collaborating,
recording and writing their learning –writing these ndings on
computer and emailing to teacher.
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Reading Within investigation of both religious and science concepts, students were
engaged in reading of print and digital texts students:
• searched the internet as well as information books for denitions and
explanations to ensure their understanding of the concepts within the
gifts of the Holy Spirit e.g. reverence.
• searched for information on environmental issues with use of Smart
Board;
• read for information and made judgements– literal, inferential and
critical comprehension;
viewed, read and deconstructed video advertisements (e.g. Moccona) to
understand structure and purpose– critical literacy developed through
understanding of lm shots and angles, participants, setting, colour,
movement, sound, timing– especially speed for ads, intertextuality,
persuasive and emotive elements.
practised with digital camera and video with a focus on key elements
including camera angles and position in preparation for their video
advertisement.
Writing Students wrote and designed a variety of products:
developed PowerPoint presentations to demonstrate their learning
about different gifts of the Holy Spirit
• each group emailed notes on their ndings from their science
investigation to teacher
• created a slogan that depicted the theme of their group work on the Gifts
of the Holy Spirit and Science investigation
developed a script for an advertisement on ways of conserving the
environment
• in groups, jointly constructed an exposition script for sun safety
television advertisement and use programs such as Comic Life
and Movie Maker to present nal video product to other students.
Particular attention placed on the use of persuasive language especially
with slogans and RAPS e.g. ‘Go green, keep the earth clean’.
used Ulead to edit their television advertisement
learnt the skills of podcasting and transferred their video onto a
podcast
designed on screen using images, font, colour, using hyperlinks,
design and arrangement on screen, word processing, spell-check,
custom animation, sound
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Case Study 8
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
As students helped the teacher create a garden to plant seedlings they:
• listened to instructions, watched demonstration, planted seedlings
photographed and talked about the process;
• observed and described seeds with use of digital microscopes and digi
cams;
• discussed procedure using picture cards and digital photographs as
scaffold;
photographs saved on computer les for students to access;
• role played procedural recount in pairs;
• retold procedure to other students before writing;
• used language of description with new vocabulary;
• played language games including plant puzzle and plant bingo;
• made vegetable soup with teacher;
digital recording on webcam of students talking about the procedure of
planting and seedlings growing.
Reading Together with viewing of seedlings and the planting, students:
• viewed images of features of seedlings in a wide range of information
books;
• viewed details through use of posters with text, photos and diagrams
that were displayed around the classroom and on the computer screen;
• engaged in ongoing viewing and observation to answer ‘How do seeds
grow? How have the seeds changed?’
viewed photos of seeds, celery stem leaf and other vegetables;
• observed the teacher modelling reading with several picture and
information books e.g. What does a garden need? by Judy Nayer. The Tiny
Seed by Eric Carle, Seeds grow! by Angela S. Medearis;
• were developing word recognition, phonics and sight vocabulary related
to seedlings and plants, time and sequence words and descriptive
adjectives.
Writing Students:
• journalled with teacher about observations of the planting of the
seedlings using digi cams;
• jointly constructed sentences describing planting;
• wrote short description of seeds as labels to pictures on computer screen
from digital microscope or digi cams. Focused on simple sentences then
added adjectives;
• jointly wrote of stages of procedure: teacher provided models and
scaffolds of different stages, building to whole class joint construction;
• focused on language of description, instruction, particularisation,
time and sequence while building procedural writing for whole class
procedures: ‘How seedlings grow’ and ‘Recipe for vegetable soup’;
• integrated spelling and handwriting;
• writing was accompanied by digital drawing on computer and print out
of booklet using 2create program;
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Case Study 9
Tal ki ng
and
Listening
Teacher led students to investigate the life cycle of chickens from embryo in
egg to full growth. They:
• observed eggs, chickens, chickens hatching and listened to explanations
of different stages;
• used magnifying glasses in combination with light table and digital
microscope for close observation images transferred onto computer
screen and photographed;
• developed everyday vocabulary e.g. hen, feather, as well as technical
language e.g. membrane;
• extended oral language structures of sequencing and explaining;
audio recorded explanations on teacher-made postcards;
• participated in ‘cooking’ sessions, e.g. made omelettes, chicken cacciatore.
• learnt songs related to chickens and life cycle e.g. Love eggs and Egg song;
• enacted aspects through drama– students created freeze frames of the
changes and growth of a chick.
Reading Students engaged in reading and viewing a diverse range of sources, they:
• read information about chickens and their life cycle from information
books;
• read information and pop-up cards around the room;
viewed photos and information in students’ online journals;
• viewed and recorded aspects of information from photos through digital
microscope;
• viewed and read students own writing and drawing that they
photographed on web cam; used digital microscope as well as postcard
recording;
• identied new and technical vocabulary, e.g. incubator, fertilise, embryo;
continued digital recording with photos, web cam, digital microscope
images;
• read, interpreted and create timelines and lifecycles;
• read examples of different types of procedural texts;
viewed illustration of a hen and its skeletal structure;
• sequenced pictures of stages of growth: from embryos to chickens
hatching then growth to hen;
• teacher modelled reading of a range of texts e.g. Chick Life Cycle; by
Elizabeth Bennett, The Cow that Laid an Egg? by Andy Cutbill; Miss
Chicken and the Hungry Neighbour by Jude Wisdom.
• read and responded to poem ‘Brown Egg’ with a focus on particular
grammar and punctuation features;
read and viewed internet sites, YouTube videos of embryo
development.
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Writing Students:
• recorded observations on cards and on online journal, Voice Thread.
These become scaffold for procedural text. Photos taken of different
stages with digital camera, web cam and digital microscope;
students maintained diary of personal response and added to online
diary on ‘Voice Thread’;
• in pairs students designed hatchery– produced design with writing,
drawings or diagrams– winners helped with building of hatchery;
• craft activity/design: students made clay gures at different stages of
chicken’s life cycle, including chicken nests for claymation production;
• students recorded observations in a grid– these became a scaffold for
sentences;
• focused on written vocabulary and language structures of sequencing
and explaining;
• jointly constructed sentences and integrated these with use of two simple
software (2publish and 2create);
• jointly constructed explanations– how eggs turn into chicks in written
form and also with 2Create software;
• created PowerPoint presentations using text, clip art and digital
photos;
• developed class claymation story;
• integrated spelling and grammar throughout.
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