MODAL researchers share a common vision of multimodal learning, multimedia literacies, and integrated arts education as key ingredients in educating young people in today’s digital and globalized world. Our name MODAL emphasizes the interdisciplinary approaches and interconnectivity of perspectives that we bring to our research, which forms a multimodal ensemble “suggestive of discrete parts brought together as a synthesized whole, where modes, like melodies played on different instruments, are interrelated in complex ways” (MODE, 2012).
A key aim of MODAL research is the development of evidence-based theoretical frameworks for understanding the cultural ecologies and learning trajectories of diverse youth’s artistic learning and arts engagement in a wide variety of contexts. We hope that the outcomes of our research will assist in expanding artistic learning opportunities in multi-arts, digital media arts, and non-arts areas in both schools and the wider community. Schools as institutions have been slow to encourage expansive multimodal or integrated arts learning opportunities. Expansive learning is a key component of multidimensional transformative pedagogies and emergent or “lived” curricula approaches that foster learning through relationship building, student-centred activity, and creative collaborations. These approaches emphasize cyclical rather than linear approaches to arts education through creative collaborations, inquiry, dialogue, reflection and action. These skills build on the foundation of traditional school curriculum and provide expansive opportunities for learning, relationship building, meaning making, and communication in and through the arts.