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A framework for multiliteracy training in the context of technology enhanced language learning

The need to prepare learners for meaningful participation in technology-based activities and thus the need for digital competence (DC) has surfaced in the scholarly literature related to the learning and teaching of languages (Hubbard, 2004, 2013; Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008; McBride, 2009; Hauck, 2010). DC has also been acknowledged as one of the 8 key competences for Lifelong Learning by the European Union (Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006). As a so called transversal key competence it enables learners to acquire other key competences (e.g. languages, mathematics, learning to learn, and creativity) and is required by all citizens to ensure their active participation in society and the economy.
The authors will argue that collaborative online learning provides an ideal setting for student preparation to this effect. They will also put forward the idea that training in this key competence should be designed in a way that allows participants to comfortably move along the continuum from informed reception of technology-mediated input, via thoughtful participation in opinion-generating activities through to creative contribution. Particular consideration will be given to the fact that both the input and the output at the beginning and the end of the described continuum are usually of a multimodal nature, i.e. draw on a variety of semiotic resources (Kress & van Leeuven, 2001) or modes such as “words, spoken or written; image, still and moving; musical […] 3D models […]” (Kress, 2003). Learners who can comfortably alternate in their roles as “semiotic responders” and “semiotic initiators” (Coffin & Donohue, forthcoming) will reflect the success of training programmes which take account of multimodality as a core element of digital communicative literacy skills, also referred to in the literature as new media literacy or multiliteracy.
We will look at the concept of multiliteracy from a language instruction perspective. First, the concept of multiliteracy itself will be investigated and will provide the backdrop for our suggested pedagogical approach to meet the need for learner preparation and training. Next, based on the theoretical framework of multimodal meaning making (Kress, 2000), a model for designing instruction grounded in multiliteracy will be proposed. Its main purpose is to help language educators guide learners through the aforementioned stages of multiliteracy skills development. Finally we will give a concrete example illustrating how the model can be applied in a variety of multimodal language learning contexts.


Mirjam Hauck    
Faculty of Education and Language Studies
The Open University
United Kingdom

Mirjam Hauck is a Senior Lecturer and Associate Head of the Department of Languages (Faculty of Education and Language Studies) at the Open University/UK. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on the use of technologies for the learning and teaching of languages and cultures covering aspects such as task design, tutor role and training, and digital literacy skills. Apart from regular presentations at conferences, seminars and workshops in Europe and the USA, she has served on the CALICO executive board and is a member of the EUROCALL executive committee. She is also a member of the editorial board of the CALL Journal and ReCALL. More recently her research and publications have centred on the impact of mediation and the relevance of multimodal communicative competence in online language learning and teaching contexts. She sees her interest in how the affordances of the new media shape online communication and interaction, in telecollaborative contexts in particular, as the logical continuation of her earlier work.

Malgorzata Kurek    
Jan Dlugosz University

Malgorzata Kurek holds a PhD in CALL (Muliliteracy). She works as an Assistant Professor at Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland. She is a TEFL trainer long involved in academic-level multiliteracy and CALL training, also through intercultural online exchanges. Her most recent research interests include intercultural learning, multiliteracy preparation, task design in CALL and e-learning. She is an author of ICT-enhanced courses for teachers and teacher trainees, as well as several publications in the field of Computer-Assisted Language Learning.


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