Multimodal literacy is a term that originates in social semiotics, and refers to the study of language that combines two or more modes of meaning. The related term, multimodality, refers to the constitution of multiple modes in semiosis or meaning making. Modes are defined differently across schools of thought, and the classification of modes is somewhat contested. However, from a social semiotic approach, modes are the socially and culturally shaped resources or semiotic structure for making meaning. Specific examples of modes from a social semiotic perspective include speech, gesture, written language, music, mathematical notation, drawings, photographic images, or moving digital images. Language and literacy practices have always been multimodal, because communication requires attending to diverse kinds of meanings, whether of spoken or written words, visual images, gestures, posture, movement, sound, or silence. Yet, undeniably, the affordances of people-driven digital media and textual production have given rise to an exponential increase in the circulation of multimodal texts in networked digital environments. Multimodal text production has become a central part of everyday life for many people throughout the life course, and across cultures and societies. This has been enabled by the ease of producing and sharing digital images, music, video games, apps, and other digital media via the Internet and mobile technologies. The increasing significance of multimodal literacy for communication has led to a growing body of research and theory to address the differing potentials of modes and their intermodality for making meaning. The study of multimodal literacy learning in schools and society is an emergent field of research, which begins with the important recognition that reading and writing are rarely practiced as discrete skills, but are intimately connected to the use of multimodal texts, often in digital contexts of use. The implications of multimodal literacy for pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment in education is an expanding field of multimodal research. In addition, there is a growing attention to multimodal literacy practices that are practiced in informal social contexts, from early childhood to adolescence and adulthood, such as in homes, recreational sites, communities, and workplaces.
Kathy A. Mills and Len Unsworth
Public organizations in Greece have been facing the challenges of electronic government since early 2000. Information and communications technology(ICT) adoption in public administration is a necessity and an unnegotiable need, taking into consideration the internationally recognized benefits. The main aim of e-government is to shape efficient and effective provision of services through the effective use of ICT. The modernization of public administrations is the key to transforming and generally improving the level of customer care (front office) as well as the level of internal administrative processes (back office). Modern technology provides improved information tools for e-services with minimum cost that facilitate transparency and lead to a democratic and effective transaction system. In the school environment, an effective and efficient administration is closely linked with the provision and delivery of improved and interconnected services that offer its users (parents, students, educational staff, etc.) the opportunity of direct and reliable customer service, effective transactions with the school, and accessibility to available administrative information. The development and formation of interconnected and decentralized services not only almost eliminates geographical and time limitations but also enhances users’ rights in terms of access to information and participation in public administration. The execution of administrative and school transactions in real time through the Internet and interconnected services ensures a speedier flow of information, allowing for a more economical use of time and resources. Thus, ICT facilitates and enhances the efficiency, connectivity, and effectiveness of services while reinforcing users’ direct and reliable access to available information. Information is closely linked with economic factors and has a major economic value. Technological means and tools reduce notably the cost of the delivery services and provide for instant and efficient transactions. Thus, given that there have been limited public economic resources in recent years, ICT provides the means of developing innovative platforms for administrative transactions that improve efficiency and productivity while at the same time reducing transaction costs. Beyond its reference to the process of producing quality public (and hence educational) services with less cost, it also provides an indicator of how public resources are used, particularly the extent to which the public services delivered actually meet users’ needs, at least to a certain level of satisfaction.
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a cross-disciplinary methodological and theoretical approach. At its core CDA explores the intersections between discourse, critique, power, and ideology which hold particular values for those teaching in developing contexts. CDA has emerged as a valuable methodological approach in cultural and media studies and has increased in prominence since the 2010s in education research where it is drawn on to explore educational policy, literacy education, and identity. This research has intersected with the field of information systems which has explored the dominant discourses and discursive practice of how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are viewed in policy and the contradictions between rhetoric and reality. It has also been drawn on in research in developing contexts to critique the role of ICTs in education. A brief historical background to CDA and overview of the key components of the approach will be provided. How CDA has been drawn on in educational studies will be examined and research on CDA will be highlighted to explore discursive practices of students and the influence of students’ digital identities on their engagement with and experience of online learning. By focusing on four key constructs of CDA—namely meaning, context, identity, and power—the potential of CDA to critically investigate how students’ are constructing their technological identity in an increasingly digital world will be demonstrated, particularly as examples of research emanating from developing contexts will be drawn.