Fit for purpose through telecollaboration: a framework for multiliteracy training

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Information about Fit for purpose through telecollaboration: a framework for multiliteracy...

Published on February 22, 2014

Author: Intent_eu



The need to prepare learners for meaningful participation in technology-based activities and thus the need for digital competence (DC) has not only surfaced in the scholarly literature related to the learning and teaching of languages (Hubbard, 2004, 2013; Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008; McBride, 2009; Hauck, 2010), DC has also been acknowledged as one of the 8 key competences for Lifelong Learning by the European Union (Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006). It is seen as a so called transversal key competence which enables learners acquiring other key competences (e.g. languages, mathematics, learning to learn, and creativity) and required by all citizens to ensure their active participation in society and the economy.
The authors will argue that telecollaborative exchanges are an ideal setting for learner preparation to this effect. They will also put forward the idea that training in this key competence should be designed in a way that allows learners to comfortably move along the continuum from informed reception of technology-mediated input, via thoughtful participation in opinion-generating activities through to creative contribution. Particular consideration will be given to the fact that both the input and the output representing the beginning and the end of the described continuum are usually of a multimodal nature, i.e. draw on a variety of semiotic resources (Kress & van Leeuven, 2001) or modes such as “words, spoken or written; image, still and moving; musical […] 3D models […]” (Kress, 2003). Current and future learners who can comfortably alternate in their roles as “semiotic responders” and “semiotic initiators” (Coffin & Donohue, forthcoming) will reflect the success of training programmes which take account of multimodality as a core element of digital communicative literacy skills, also referred to in the literature as new media literacy or multiliteracy.
The purpose of this contribution, then, is to look at the concept of multiliteracy from a language instruction perspective. In the first part, the concept of multiliteracy itself will be investigated and will provide the backdrop for our suggested pedagogical approach to meet the need for learner preparation and training. Next, based on the theoretical framework of multimodal meaning making (Kress, 2000), a model for designing instruction grounded in multiliteracy will be proposed. Its main purpose is to help language educators guide learners through the aforementioned stages of multiliteracy skills development. Finally we will give some pointers as to how the model could be applied in a variety of multimodal language learning contexts.

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