The multi-modal redesign of school texts

Walsh, Christopher S. (2009). The multi-modal redesign of school texts. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(1) pp. 126–136.



Multiliteracies-related research is just emerging from the formal discourse of pedagogical theorising and how it may look in practice needs further exploration. This research, initiated under that warrant, presents practitioner research and the enactment of a multiliteracies curriculum with Year 8 students in New York City's Chinatown. The study describes a collaborative digital literacies project with a local contemporary arts museum where students engaged in the multi-modal redesign of school texts. First, the article outlines a move of multiliteracies theory into curriculum practice where students explored questions of Chinese-American and immigrant identities through a discourse analysis of history texts. Then, drawing on a digital gothic and hip-hop cartoon Web project, it outlines how students challenged ways their ethnic identities were positioned by drawing political satire cartoons about immigration to the United States. The project concluded with a virtual exhibition of students' artwork where they inserted their cartoons within existing educational websites using HTML and Flash. It argues that the redesigned websites are a new set of multi-modal literacy practices that allow youth to disrupt racist and exclusionary discourses they encounter in school texts and their lived experiences.

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