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Multiliteracies in Malaysia  

Fariza Puteh-Behak, Noor Saazai Mat Saad, and Mohd Muzhafar Idrus

Globalization and the advent of technology have caused a major shift in work culture and personal lives in the 21st century, and consequently has shifted the emphasis and direction of the teaching and learning domain. Researchers and educators in The New London Group introduced the concept of multiliteracies in 1994. This approach takes into account the diversity of linguistic, communicative, and technological dimensions into classroom practice. In Malaysia, the integration of this approach resulted in educational reform and the introduction of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013–2025 for Preschool and Post-Secondary Education, Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015–2025 for Higher Education, and a National e-Learning Policy. These policies focus on the enhancement of information and communication technology in Malaysia in terms of facilities, management, and ways of learning. Multiliteracies pedagogy is thriving in the Malaysian academic landscape.

Article

Digital Game-Based Learning: Foundations, Applications, and Critical Issues  

Earl Aguilera and Roberto de Roock

As contemporary societies continue to integrate digital technologies into varying aspects of everyday life—including work, schooling, and play—the concept of digital game-based learning (DGBL) has become increasingly influential. The term DGBL is often used to characterize the relationship of computer-based games (including games played on dedicated gaming consoles and mobile devices) to various learning processes or outcomes. The concept of DGBL has its origins in interdisciplinary research across the computational and social sciences, as well as the humanities. As interest in computer games and learning within the field of education began to expand in the late 20th century, DGBL became somewhat of a contested term. Even foundational concepts such as the definition of games (as well as their relationship to simulations and similar artifacts), the affordances of digital modalities, and the question of what “counts” as learning continue to spark debate among positivist, interpretivist, and critical framings of DGBL. Other contested areas include the ways that DGBL should be assessed, the role of motivation in DGBL, and the specific frameworks that should inform the design of games for learning. Scholarship representing a more positivist view of DGBL typically explores the potential of digital games as motivators and influencers of human behavior, leading to the development of concepts such as gamification and other uses of games for achieving specified outcomes, such as increasing academic measures of performance, or as a form of behavioral modification. Other researchers have taken a more interpretive view of DGBL, framing it as a way to understand learning, meaning-making, and play as social practices embedded within broader contexts, both local and historical. Still others approach DGBL through a more critical paradigm, interrogating issues of power, agency, and ideology within and across applications of DGBL. Within classrooms and formal settings, educators have adopted four broad approaches to applying DGBL: (a) integrating commercial games into classroom learning; (b) developing games expressly for the purpose of teaching educational content; (c) involving students in the creation of digital games as a vehicle for learning; and (d) integrating elements such as scoreboards, feedback loops, and reward systems derived from digital games into non-game contexts—also referred to as gamification. Scholarship on DGBL focusing on informal settings has alternatively highlighted the socially situated, interpretive practices of gamers; the role of affinity spaces and participatory cultures; and the intersection of gaming practices with the lifeworlds of game players. As DGBL has continued to demonstrate influence on a variety of fields, it has also attracted criticism. Among these critiques are the question of the relative effectiveness of DGBL for achieving educational outcomes. Critiques of the quality and design of educational games have also been raised by educators, designers, and gamers alike. Interpretive scholars have tended to question the primacy of institutionally defined approaches to DGBL, highlighting instead the importance of understanding how people make meaning through and with games beyond formal schooling. Critical scholars have also identified issues in the ethics of DGBL in general and gamification in particular as a form of behavior modification and social control. These critiques often intersect and overlap with criticism of video games in general, including issues of commercialism, antisocial behaviors, misogyny, addiction, and the promotion of violence. Despite these criticisms, research and applications of DGBL continue to expand within and beyond the field of education, and evolving technologies, social practices, and cultural developments continue to open new avenues of exploration in the area.

Article

Multiliteracies in Classrooms  

Robyn Seglem and Antero Garcia

Multiliteracies were first conceptualized in 1994 by the New London Group (NLG), a group of global scholars who specialized in different aspects of literacy instruction including classroom discourse, multilingual teaching and learning, new technologies, critical discourse and literacy, linguistics, cultural and social educations, semiotics, and visual literacy. Published in 1996, the NLG focused on equalizing the power dynamics within education by moving away from traditional print-based literacies that privilege the cultural majority who hold the most wealth and power in the world. Their work seeks to elevate those who are traditionally marginalized by embracing literacies that leverage multiple languages, discourses, and texts. Multiliteracies have been widely adopted, expanded upon, and contested in academia, but classroom teachers have been much slower in adopting them. Although systems of accountability and standardization contribute to a slow adoption of multiliteracies practices, teachers have found ways to integrate multiliteracies into instruction. In doing so, students are provided with more linguistic capital and a deeper understanding of how meaning is made across multiple contexts.

Article

Multiliteracies in Teacher Education  

Tala Michelle Karkar Esperat

Multiliteracies is an inclusive literacy approach that extends traditional print-based literacy (reading and writing) to integrate a wide range of modes of communication. These modes of communication include linguistic (words, text, speech), visual (images, pictures, video, color), audio (music, sounds), spatial (placement, location), gestural (movement, sensuality), and synesthesia (multimodal design). In addition to communication modes, multiliteracies integrates technologies (e.g., new literacies; digital media) in the classroom and is characterized by four pedagogical practices (situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformed practice) and cultural and social practices. Multiliteracies in teacher education includes the understanding of nature, theory, and pedagogical practices to inform curriculum decisions to meet the needs of all students. The concept of multiliteracies was developed as a new approach to literacy pedagogy by the New London Group in 1996. This provides a pedagogical space for learners to interact with information by using different modes of text forms to accommodate language, culture, context, and social effects to connect to the local and global world. Since the constitution of multiliteracies (1996–2024), the conversation of adopting multiliteracies as a pedagogical approach has evolved to identify the need for urgent and equitable educational change. It advocates for multilingual students’ learning experiences using modalities that support their individual learning. One way to ensure this is using tangible tools in teacher preparation, such as the pedagogical holistic model of the new literacies framework and pedagogical content knowledge of the multiliteracies survey instrument, which allow preservice teachers to continue to reflect on their teaching delivery. Educators use multiliteracies in the classroom to engage students in learning, embrace students’ diverse cultures, and help students form their identities. Multiliteracies education can be used as a tool for the empowerment of marginalized students. It supports the development of multimodal literacy skills and enables learners to communicate their identities in authentic ways, which fosters a more inclusive and equitable society. Multiliteracies aims to promote social justice through education, inspiring learners to think critically and become active participants in understanding the world by engaging in dialogue, developing more profound understanding, and appreciating other cultures. The use of multiliteracies is crucial in the diverse classroom. Teacher education programs must respond to the growing need by addressing the following questions: What do preservice teachers need to know about multiliteracies? Why do preservice teachers need to adopt multiliteracies? How can multiliteracies be used to prepare preservice teachers to integrate multiliteracies in multilingual classrooms?

Article

Youth Activism through Critical Arts, Transmedia, and Multiliteracies  

Theresa Rogers

In the context of increasing realizations of the fragility of democracy, the possibilities and accomplishments of youth activist projects across material and virtual spaces and sites continue to flourish. Research on this work is situated in the rich scholarly traditions of critical youth studies and critical youth literacies as well as in theories of civic engagement, public pedagogy, participatory politics, cosmopolitanism, and relational mobilities. Many youth projects draw on the resources of arts, digital media, and critical multiliteracies to participate, in material ways, in public and political life. Taking up issues such as citizenship for immigrant youth, homelessness, and poverty, young people powerfully create critical, social, and political narratives that resonate within and beyond their own communities. Theorizing this work in relation to public engagement, spatiality, and mobilities deepens our understanding of those moments when youth in community and educational sites create powerful transmediated counter-narratives about their lives and worlds—the ways they incorporate both local and global understandings to create these new forms of political participation. And the work itself underscores the need for more equitable access to various multimodal and digital resources and the importance of youth access to public and mediated spaces. Schools and educators are called to create pedagogical spaces that invite students’ subjectivities, locations, and creative uses of material resources to engage in local and larger public dialogues, counter dominant cultural ideologies, address multiple publics, and create new forms of political participation.

Article

Critical Literacy  

Vivian Maria Vasquez

Changing student demographics, globalization, and flows of people resulting in classrooms where students have variable linguistic repertoire, in combination with new technologies, has resulted in new definitions of what it means to be literate and how to teach literacy. Today, more than ever, we need frameworks for literacy teaching and learning that can withstand such shifting conditions across time, space, place, and circumstance, and thrive in challenging conditions. Critical literacy is a theoretical and practical framework that can readily take on such challenges creating spaces for literacy work that can contribute to creating a more critically informed and just world. It begins with the roots of critical literacy and the Frankfurt School from the 1920s along with the work of Paulo Freire in the late 1940s (McLaren, 1999; Morrell, 2008) and ends with new directions in the field of critical literacy including finding new ways to engage with multimodalities and new technologies, engaging with spatiality- and place-based pedagogies, and working across the curriculum in the content areas in multilingual settings. Theoretical orientations and critical literacy practices are used around the globe along with models that have been adopted in various state jurisdictions such as Ontario, in Canada, and Queensland, in Australia.