new literacies and multi-modal texts


This site was originally setup for my final Master of Ed unit EDU8415 – Multimodal Texts and New Literacy in 2011. The following assessment instruments reviewed form part of my secondary junior and senior curricula. The two assessment instruments include a junior Interactive Animation Project and a senior Games Design and Development Project. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in applying games and animation to your teaching and learning programme.

This website examines new literacies and multi-modal texts in teaching and learning, in particular, unpacking and reviewing two existing assessment instruments. The site also houses some of my sample tutorials and recent publications.

Background on the two assessment instruments

Interactive Animation Project

The Year 10 Interactive Animation Project was a new initiative for 2011 and was adapted from a previous unit that was designed in 2009/10 based on interactive virtual storybooks. In the past students would elect their favourite children’s book and re-create the characters and storyline using Adobe software. It was established that the time needed to develop software skills for interactive coding, timeline authoring, character and background design, audio editing along with development of a the complete story was too onerous for one term of study.

The need to increase collaboration between peers, increase rigour and higher order thinking and further refine the core objectives within the unit of study was identified. Consideration was given to determining what skills students required on exit of the course to become fluent users and competent problem solvers in digital media practice and what qualities would lead well into the senior subject that flowed on from the unit. The unit spanned over ten weeks.

Games Design and Development Project

The assessment instrument was designed for the subject Information Technology Systems (ITS). The summative assessment instrument runs for approximately eight weeks and occurs during semester one, Year 12. The purpose of this assessment task was to provide senior students with the opportunity to design and develop an educational game for children aged 4 to 5 years at a local childcare centre. The game was required to have a focus on foundational literacy or numeracy skills.

ITS  is a senior secondary practical discipline that is an elective Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) subject. The subject aims to prepare students to meet the frequent and rapid change in the area of information technology, and to be responsive to emerging technologies and trends (QSA, 2009).

Since 2005, the senior IT elective students have designed and developed then piloted their own digital games at a local childcare centre. The senior students trialed and observed children aged three to five years on site, playing their digital games (also known as ‘learning objects’).

Initially students researched games design and sourced ideas from a broad range of electronic and printed mediums, not necessarily associated directly with games.  There are many overlapping new literacies and multi-modal interaction opportunities in digital games. The very nature of digital games for leisure, engagement and learning lends itself well to multi-modal interaction and skills development such as digital illustration, audio and video editing, narrative script writing integrating sound and visual literacy, timeline authoring and animation, online research and networked peer to peer learning.

The inherent complex problem-solving skills required to code up digital games lends itself well to the needs of our young students moving into a very complex and digitally connected world. Games by their very nature are one big problem (Gee, 2011) and learning evolves in the process to find solutions.

Parallels between the two assessment instruments

Both assessment instruments incorporate a Design, Develop and Evaluation cycle (DDE) and utilise a visual diary to represent research, reasoning and justification (examples). Throughout both projects the students meet with their teacher and peers to gain sign-off for both the design and development phase.

What kinds of pedagogies are being integrated to advocate new literacies and multi-modal texts?

  • Constructivist learning approach – designing assessment instruments for learning that facilitate an ideation process, broad research, peer and collaborative reasoning and justification.
  • Integration of a Design, Develop, Evaluate cycle (DDE).
  • Teacher as facilitator – student centred, self-directed learning.
  • Online self paced learning via learning management systems –Moodle, that incorporates online discussion forums and wikis, podcasts, vodcasts (example) and online hypertext content designed by faculty and industry professionals.
  • Problem-based learning – trial and error coding (fixing bugs) and timeline authoring.
  • Peer and individual problem solving.
  • Migrating to new technologies through complex unrehearsed problem solving processes.
  • Backward engineering learning system templates (teacher and industry examples)rather than blank stage learning, without coding and assets
  • Project-based learning – work centered around process and product
  • Integration and range ICTs and scaffolding of new technologies
  • Student engagement in authentic client design brief and industry project management processes

Project aims and expected outcomes

The aim of this project is to:

  1. Identify and present practical implementation of new literacies and multi-modal texts into pedagogies and student assessment responses
  2. Identify and present how ICT’s have influenced, shaped and transformed literate practices in the chosen curricula
  3. Draw conclusions, supported by academic reference, about appropriate content and pedagogy for literacy learning, acknowledging the impact of ICTs on social and literate practices
  4. Present and translate knowledge and conclusions about ICTs and literacy in curricula design

The expected outcomes are to demonstrate ability to:

  1. Apply new literacies practice in instructional and assessment design
  2. Align new pedagogies in conjunction with new literacies and multi-modal texts
  3. Apply academic reference to associated planning of content, strategies, reflection and assessment
  4. Interpret multi-modes of text and how to efficiently integrate into teaching and learning

Site updated 27/06/12