Multimodal Projects Programme

Black Lives Matter
Kristin, Esther, Urshian

Abstract: Through a narrative game [Twine], we have explored the connections between social movements, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement, and the emergence of live-streaming social media platforms, such as Facebook Live, Periscope and Twitter. These communication tools have allowed movements to create a wider reach and, arguably, a greater social impact than in the past.

Our narrative takes three independent storylines, each of them exploring one of our inquiry questions and each told from a different perspective, which later converge.

Live-streaming technologies, like any technology, have affordances and limitations. Many of these affordances lend themselves to the rapid spread of unfiltered information, but without reliability or accountability.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been greatly influenced by these kinds of technologies in raising the awareness of the events that have necessitated BLM, and in the spread of acts of resistance.


Interactive Comic Book
Natalie, Krystyn and Paul

Abstract: Participate in an interactive comic book! Read our social commentary on current schooling practices and the impact of remix and community in education.

Download a QR code reader to your phone to view videos, listen to music, and move through the story.


Multimodal Literacies and Embodied Learning:
Ranjani, Niki & Elaine

Our research question: How does embodied movement enhance learning through multimodal literacies?

Abstract: Our project looks at how embodied movement can be used in the classroom for deep learning practices. Highlighting the importance of the ludic and considering its discounted importance in formal literacy curricula in schools, our earlier demo showed how it reflects a participatory culture, while at the same time removing participatory gap that may result from lack of access to technology due to various factors.

Our final project will explore the role of embodied movement in a participatory culture, where its convergence on virtual embodiment in 3D learning environments will also be touched upon. Our research will primarily focus on children’s stories and how socio-political concepts like power & authority vs resistance are connected to philosophical concepts like free will and determination.


The Pestle and Mortar Approach
Aeyla and Shima

Research Questions: In what ways can hybrid books, in lieu of traditional paper books, enhance learning and generate enthusiasm?

Abstract: The Pestle and Mortar Approach attempts to bridge the learning gap for students who possess multiple literacies, hidden literacies, or find themselves disengaged with traditional reading material. In creating a hybrid book, we hope to fill in the blanks.

The world is more globalized than it ever has been before, and shows no signs of slowing down, In many ways, the world is borderless, despite actual physical borders being utilized. In borderless places— i.e in places where all are welcome— the population comes face to face with differences or peculiarities on a daily basis. In order to make sense of these differences, engaging in conversation is key, but what does one do when conversation is not possible? There is still one conversation possible without the use of words, and that is to sit down and eat a meal. Food is the only language everyone speaks, and we believe that the best way to learn about someone else, is through the food they eat.

Our research, and understanding of multimodal literacies, has resulted in the creation of a cookbook that explores the kitchens of Iran and Pakistan, with the goal of understanding and appreciating their individual and shared histories. We aim to use this first version of a hybrid book as the model for other potential hybrid books (of learning), or as the foundation for a final more polished version of this book.


Explaining Everything! Multimodal Literacies
Maliha Javaid and Catherine Reyes

Abstract: While Explain Everything (EE) is a screen-casting application that prides itself as a multimodal learning resource, many teachers and students misuse EE as a tool for enhancement rather than transformation of knowledge by simply creating productions of shallow learning. Our creative challenge is to develop an online knowledge-mobilization platform concerning this ever-so popular Explain Everything application. Considering Jewitt’s (2009) notion of the “increasing democratization of knowledge in the networked society”, we aim to consult and amass the available information regarding EE onto our online platform to model ways in which teachers and students can use EE as an affordance for transformative and meaningful learning.

Design Challenges Interested in illustrating the learning potentials that the EE application has to demonstrate multimodal learning, we posed the following inquiry questions

  1. What are the learning potentials that multimodal representations of knowledge and learning have in the classroom?
  2. How can EE be used as an affordance rather than an obstacle to deep learning?
  3. How can remixing ideas be used for transformative learning?

Enacting Multimodal Literacies By referring to, sharing and developing YouTube videos, online tutorials, photographic evidence and written accounts on teacher forums, we enacted various multimodal literacies, which include engagement with text, images, sound, videos and websites. Through the creative production process, we experienced and overcame design challenges to produce videos that would be engaging and dynamic. Our challenge was to use EE as a creative production tool for transformative and meaningful learning in reference to production pedagogies. By definition, “a production pedagogy is one in which learning actors are enabled to engage (multi)literacy, artistic, and/or practical design challenges and aptitudes through the making of authentic cultural artifacts—and with correspondingly real audiences similarly enabled to witness such acts of art and knowledge production” (Thumlert et al. 2014, p. 12). As a result, the platform we created is meant to encourage a dialogue in which educators from around the world can give feedback and suggestions on how to use this app better, along with providing accounts of their own ineffective or successful experiences with the app.

 Empowerment Through Remix While remixing activities involve taking existing ideas and remixing them into something more meaningful, we experienced the empowerment that is associated with remixing, which Knobel and Lankshear (2008) describe occurs when we can “manipulate powerful tools in intricate ways that extend their area of effectiveness” (p. 29). In our attempt to produce new and creative models, we remixed a variety of techniques, such as those used in art, animation, and film. In our creation of content, we kept in mind the idea behind remix: “to take cultural artifacts and combine and manipulate them into new kinds of creative blends” (Knobel & Lankshear 2009, p. 22). By remixing ideas, we attempted to critique and enhance existing content into something more meaningful and engaging.

 The Importance of Design and The Need for a Relevant Curriculum

Lastly, we learned that with multimodality, current design and assessment practices must change. As Jenson et al. (2016) argue, “If we recognize that learning and knowing within a virtual culture occur within and through multiple, multimodal and multifaceted textual representations, our approaches to design and evaluation must change” (p. 36). Accordingly, like Brayboy and Maughan (2009) contend, “curriculum and subject matter must be tied directly to the lives of students and their teachers” (p. 14). Through the incorporation of multimodal literacies into classrooms, the contextualization of knowledge can occur where students can engage in and connect their prior knowledge of various multimodal literacies from within and outside the classroom to develop meaningful representations of their learning.

Multimodal Media Production in Everyday Life We strongly believe that “literacy teaching is not about skills and competence; it is aimed at creating a kind of person, an active designer of meaning, with a sensibility open to differences, change and innovation. The logic of multiliteracies is one that recognizes that meaning making is an active, transformative process” (Cope and Kalantzis 2009, p. 175). EE enables transformative meaning making through engagement with multimodality and multiliteracies. In teaching, research and everyday life, we can use multimodal media production through EE for explaining new concepts, outlining step-by-step instructions, consolidating learning, presenting results, digital storytelling, assessment, modelling and visualizing, drafting, providing extra learning provisions, analyzing data and for many more purposes. The options are limitless.