Engagement, Expression and Embodiment: Bridging Multimodal Literacies and Language Arts Through Constructing an Interactive Virtual Museum

Project Number
OER 26/08 CH

Project Duration
April 2009 - February 2012


This study involves 12-13 year old Singaporean youth (Secondary 1) from four classes in Nan Hua High School (SAP and LEAD ICT school) in two phases of intervention in designing a virtual museum as a means through which to explore multiple modes of communication, and, more broadly, the nature of multiliteracies and multimodal pedagogy. This project builds meaningfully upon international and local collaborations and academic exchanges with researchers engaged in related work, as with the London Knowledge Lab in museum-based learning, NTU Centre for Advanced Media Technology (CAMTech) in digital culture and heritage, and the Peranakan Museum (National Heritage Board). The study involves the creation of virtual and augmented reality exhibits within a learning environment that models the actual exhibits, acting as the remote interface to the exhibits in the real world. Users will be able to navigate and act upon objects with tools provided to enable interaction with the artefacts in the virtual and real worlds. Students enter a theatrical set which recreates the situations/places for them to draw inspiration from their multimodal experience for the construction of their creative productions. Within the 'set', students experience for themselves the various stimuli that brought forth the works. Students use their five senses to encounter the physical manifestations of the works, through displays such as objects, videos, still and animated visuals, soundscapes/music. Students are challenged to think out of the box through learning vicariously from each other and their interactions in a dynamic context for the construction of their personal identities and culture in creative ways. The study creates the opportunity for developing innovative learning activities based around the virtual and augmented reality system which can be maximized as a useful teaching and learning tool in the long-term in enabling multiple schools to participate, reuse and enrich the system with their own experience of the system. The environment allows students and teachers to augment the virtual space while in the classroom and access such augmentations, which it is hoped, the study will further develop to offer to not only teachers and students of the same school but also other schools. This study is timely and appropriate in upholding the philosophy of the forthcoming Ministry of Education English Language syllabus (2010): 'A strong foundation and rich language for all' as it works towards 'enriching the EL Curriculum through infusion of authentic, rich texts at all levels' with 'extensive opportunities to engage in creative and sustained writing and integration of information and media literacies at all levels'. The study aims to show the viability of designing an innovative technologically-mediated learning environment for Language Arts to encourage imagination, create inspiration and develop innovation -- skills acknowledged as critical in this age of interactive digital culture of the 21st century.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series 11-005: Multimodal Meaning-making in the New Media Age: The Case of a Language-based Design Research Intervention

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