Multimodal Literacy in English Language and Literature Teaching: The Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a One-to-One Wireless Laptop Programme in a Singapore High School

Project Number
OER 27/08 PT

Project Duration
April 2009 - August 2011

Status
Completed

Abstract
The emergence of new media and the rapidly increasing needs of today's learners are placing unprecedented demands on educational landscapes across disciplines to restructure and transform. In particular, paradigmatic change is sought in the field of literacy pedagogy where the growing presence of digital technologies has produced a vibrant and challenging body of theoretical and practical interest in ''multimodality'' - a term which refers to the practice of meaning-making involving the purposeful integration of semiotic resources including, but by no means restricted to, writing, images, speech, gestures, drawing, painting and sound. Unfortunately, there is limited material to inform a programme of local research, development and innovation in the area of multimodal literacy in English language and literature (ELL) teaching. This project builds directly on the findings of two primary data sources from the proposed study site - Maris Stella High School (MSHS). Both de Souza (2008) and Towndrow and Vaish (2007) found that ELL teachers at MSHS remain curious, and are often deeply concerned, about how their pedagogy and classroom practices are influenced by spreading an increasing communicative load across multiple modes of representation using ICT and multimedia. The integration and purposeful use of the students' computers in the regular classroom were additional task design and unit planning considerations not easily balanced with demands to meet print-based, standardised teaching and assessment outcomes. In addressing these situational factors, the proposed research methodology is client-centred, participative and flexible in order to accommodate and explore the impact of a variety of theoretical perspectives and personal opinions in multimodal pedagogy and teaching practices, in situ. As such, the research programme is planned as a 24-month innovation-based programme that involves ELL teachers and researchers co-designing, co-implementing and co-evaluating transformative and sustainable learning outcomes in ELL-based multimodal literacy practices. Senior managers and collaborating teachers at MSHS are aware of the proposed research methodology and are fully supportive of it. It is well known that the establishment of teacher-learner communities is complex and involves, as far as sustainable innovation is concerned, profound and incremental changes in individual, departmental and school-wide levels of activity. The study will contribute to knowledge about school leadership and collective teacher-led action in implementing one-to-one laptop programmes in ELL. The study will also help describe how ELL is realised in the local context using multimodality as a theoretical and descriptive lens. Rich descriptions of classroom practices in the local context will provide material that can be benchmarked against and contrasted with school-based, national and international criteria.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source
NIE

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series 11-006: Multimodal Literacy in English Language and Literature Teaching

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