Course Calendar

Class 1 [Mon January 11] Syllabus Tour

  • Multimodal Introductions
  • Syllabus Tour & Expectations

Beyond ‘Learning Styles’:
  • What is a mode? What is multimodality? What are multimodal literacies? Key terms from the video?
  • Why multimodality? What problems, concerns or stakes are in play?

  • How? Compare Kress’ video with this video by Toronto’s own Andrew Huang… What are the levels or dimensions of multimodality?
  • Connect Huang’s Practice back to Kress’ Semiotic Approach with this >>>  Braids Illustrated (click link for full PDF). 
Download PDF for full Multimodal Analysis

Application 1: Powering Up Your Multimodal Website/Portfolio
Due by Next Class

Class 2 [Mon January 18] Situating Multimodal Literacies

Break down the why, what and how of multiliteracies: what is the import of concepts and practices like multimodal literacies, re/design, and key ideas like situated learning and critical framing?

How does multimodality factor into the NLG’s critique of traditional schooling/epistemologies (what counts as ‘knowledge’ and ‘learning’).

How useful is NLG’s ‘manifesto’ today? To what extent have we achieved any of the goals and transformative practices outlined in 1996? Or any meainginful inclusion of multimodality in relation to ‘design’ (Kress, 2010)?

1. New London Group (1996). A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures , Harvard Education Journal 
2.  Kress, G. (2010) What is a Mode? from The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis (ed. C. Jewitt). Routledge.

FYI Resource: Glossary Site

For Every Week Please Bring: Reading Notes, Annotations, Your Questions, Critiques, and Reflections/Connections to Educational Theory and Practice (and extended practice/doing/making and learning in your own lives).

Slide Deck: 2021 MULTIMODAL Semiotics 2 PDF

Application 2:

Class 3 [Mon January 25] The Multiple Modes of Multimodality

As you read, examine relationships between Systemic Functional Linguistics and Social Semiotics. As you will be doing multimodal analysis this week (application), take notes on how to do it (modelled).

  1. Jewitt, C., Bezemer, J. & O’Halloran, K. (2016). ‘Chapter 3: Systemic Functional Linguistics’ in Introducing Multimodality, New York, Routledge.
  2. Bezemer, J & Kress, G. (2008). Writing in multimodal texts: A social semiotic account of designs for learning. Written Communication, 25(2), 166-195.

Take a look! Edward Tufte: ‘Beautiful Data’: Data Visualization

Semiotics 101 / Multimodal Analysis

Application 3:

Class 4 [February  1] Situated Multimodality: Land/Context/Doing
Move from semiotics/texts to worlds and practices.

As you read…. consider: What can we learn from Indigenous ways of knowing as represented in Brayboy and Maughan’s article, particularly with regards to conceptualizing knowledge as a verb versus knowledge as a noun? What kinds of (multimodal) pedagogies are in play? And how do the authors theorize learning context(s), purposes, and values?

The word ‘multimodal’ will not appear in this reading. But how does the reading connect (directly or indirectly) to readings and issues thus far, or help us situate multimodal experience and learning differently?

1. Brayboy & Maughan (2009). Indigenous Knowledge and the Story of the Bean, Harvard Educational Review, 79(1)
2. Watch: Make connections to readings – and examine how multimodal work is being done to enact a future. AbTEC, Canada: Indigenous Futures Video Game Design Project

Application 4:

Class 5 [Monday February 8] Multimodality/Multilingualism

Guest Speaker: Dr. Heather Lotherington

1. Lotherington, H. et al (2019) Analyzing the talking book Imagine a world-A multimodal approach to English language learning in a multilingual context. Text & Talk, 39(6): 747–77.

2. Toohey, et al. (2015). “That Sounds So Cooool”: Entanglements of Children, Digital Tools, and Literacy Practices. TESOL Quarterly.

Application 5:

February 15 Reading Week

No Class

Class 6 [Mon February 22]  Making / Learning / Doing

Multimodality and/as ‘Skilled Practice’: The first reading below can be read WAY beyond the scope of ‘motor skills’ or ‘cognitivist’ frames. The authors being discussed (Ingold, Ranciere, Gibson, Dewey, Biesta) are key thinkers talking about what it means to truly and deeply learn a skilled practice.

  1. van der Kamp J, Withagen R, Orth D (2019). On the Education About/of Radical Embodied Cognition. Front. Psychol. 10:2378.doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.0237
  2. Watch & Take Notes: A Critique of ‘Hylomorphism’ in Education.
    Tim Ingold. Thinking through Making
    (do not use the close-captioning as it mis-translates everything)

Application 6:

Class 7 [Mon March 1] Putting Multimodality to Work and Play:
> Film as Modal Ensemble / Video-Making as Inquiry

The first article (Burn) is analytical. The second article (Doerr-Stevens) models practical-embodied application. See how they work together.

Reading Activity: As you read, write down on note cards (or use your jamboard) what you need to think about (aesthetic, technical, genre, editing/post-production) to make a movie.

  1. Burn, A (2013). ‘The Kineikonic Mode: Towards a Multimodal Approach to Moving Image Media’. In Jewitt, C (ed) The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis. London: Routledge.
  2. Doerr-Stevens, (2107). Embracing the Messiness of Research: Documentary Video Composing as Embodied, Critical Media Literacy, English Journal, 106.3 (2017): 56–62. (short)

Application 7:

Class 8 [Mon March 8]  Space is the Place: Mapping Relations Between Multimodality, Critical  Literacies, and Inquiry/Making

  1. Thumlert, K., Smith, B., Hébert, C., Tomin B., (2020). Space is the Place: Pre-service Teachers Re/Map Cartographic Landscapes. Digital Culture & Education, 12(1), 52-71.

 Knightlabs: Digital Mapping / Storytelling / Visualization Tool.

Application 8:

Class 9 [Mon 15]  No Class Meeting / Work on Final Projects

Class 10 [Mon 22] Thingy Multimodality: New Materialisms and the Arts

Map relations between post-humanist theories and course readings thus far.

  1. Elizabeth Garber (2019) Objects and New Materialisms: A Journey Across Making and Living With Objects, Studies in Art Education, 60:1, 7-21

Application 9:

Class 11  [Mon March 29] Games as Multimodal Worlds / Making Games

Are video games good for learning? If so, under what conditions? Or what can we learn from video games about good learning? This week, read Gee’s ‘Principles’. Then watch Gee’s Principles. Compare / contrast the multimodal experience(s) and your ‘uptakes’. Then think about what it takes to create a full-blown immersive multimodal world (below) vis a vis World of Warcraft (behind the scenes).

  1. Gee, J.P. (2007). Are Video Games Good for Learning? In Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Game Research. (Short).
  2. Watch: Gee’s Learning Principles


Multimodal Ensembles for Immersion: What goes into immersion and multimodal world-building? These videos include the technical lingo, the process, the ‘how to’ and the rationale for these choices (the how and why of multimodal ensembles in relation to designing an experience-able/interactive world (MMORPG – World of Warcraft)

Watch at least the first one and skim rest below if curiosity piqued…

Application 10

Class 12 [Monday March 29]  Final Project ‘work in progress’

  • Project ‘Work in Progress’ Presentations

Final Projects Due by April 2