Concepts, Assessments, Subversions
Digital Introductions as Critical Practice
The possibilities for new kinds of writing afforded by digital technologies and social media now permeate digital worlds. Conceptualisations of literacy in relation to how we learn and practise multimodal forms of communication have undergone significant evolution over the past few decades. In education, research suggests that while young people are deeply engaged with a proliferating range of digital technologies, many classrooms continue with print-based textual approaches. Multiliterate understandings engage complex relationships among visuals, space and text as well as interpreting a range of symbols in critically and culturally appropriate ways. I explore in this chapter the reshaping of semiotic form and disruption of author (and reader) expectations, expanding to wider debates around technology, representation and communication. In this project, I created a digital introduction task to replace a traditional written student introduction which began a 12 month class in an English teaching method. The task required students to construct aspects of themselves digitally, present this representation and then critically reflect on the practices and technologies involved. The task was structured as an open-ended ‘problem’, grounded in a literacy concept. The framework we chose as the best fit for the task was Bill Green’s (1988) 3D literacy model, which describes three interrelated dimensions of literacy: operational, cultural and critical. Operationally, students had to understand and use digital technologies, employing a repertoire of (multi)literate practices strategically and appropriately for their audience (the cultural dimension). Introducing themselves to a new cohort of peers called...
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