Symposium on Multimodal Digital Media Multiliteracies In and Through the Arts
Below is a list of papers and posters presented at the conference. Click on the title to see the abstract and authors.
Elders, children, songs, and iPads: Improvising and rehearsing print literacy practices within multimodal ensembles
Abstract: This study explored the opportunities for print literacy learning and practices within multimodal ensembles that featured the use of digital media (e.g., iPads). The term multimodal ensemble comes from music and is “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). Study questions concerned how reading and writing were practiced and what learning opportunities were afforded for them during an intergenerational program that united 13 kindergarten children with 7 elders to work through a chain of multimodal projects intended to expand participants’ communication options and build relationships. Data were collected through ethnographic tools in the Rest Home where the projects were completed and in the children’s classroom where project content and tools were introduced and extended. Themes were identified through the juxtaposition of field texts and “portraits” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 163). Preliminary results indicate that the ensembles afforded children opportunities to improvise and refine their print literacy practices through a process of rehearsal with the support of an elder partner. While the value of multimodal literacy is recognized by many, there is a lag in embracing it as integral to literacy learning in schools (Wohlwend, 2009). This study is designed to contribute to the nascent, yet growing body of knowledge concerning print literacy practices and learning opportunities as conceptualized within multimodal literacy (e.g., Walsh, 2011).
McKee, L., Heydon, R., O’Neill, S. A., & Rowsell, J. (2013, June). Elders, children, songs, and iPads: Improvising and rehearsing print literacy practices within multimodal ensembles. Paper presented at the symposium on multimodal and digital media multiliteracies in and through the arts (Symposium Convenor: S. O’Neill), Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Using iPads for creative collaboration in a university arts education program: Exploring music, digital media and multimodal literacies through dialogue
Abstract: As our technologically evolving society now involves increasing media convergence culture of old and new media (Jenkins, 2006), it is now possible to cultivate learning opportunities through these new mediums of expression and communication in ways that have not been available to educators before. This study examined the use of music and digital mobile media (e.g., iPads) to foster creative collaborations (John-Steiner, 2000) through dialogue. Drawing on Bohm’s (1996) four principals of dialogue, 24 participants from two university arts education classes worked together in pairs using GarageBand for the iPad over three classes to create collaborative musical compositions. The majority of students had no prior musical experience and/or experience using iPads. As such, the concepts of dialogue and multimodal learning (Jewitt & Kress, 2003) were used instead of traditional music or text-based literacies. The sessions were video recorded and the students completed reflections on their experiences. Video interactions were analyzed using an inductive classification system similar to the one proposed by Lofland and Lofland (1984) for exploring ‘social phenomena’ as acts, activities, meanings, participation, relationships, and settings. Findings indicated that the use of iPads allowed participants to collaborate on meaningful music making regardless of their musical or technology background. We will discuss the potential for using dialogue to enhance multimodal literacies and creative collaborations using music and digital media.
Peluso, D. C., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Using iPads for creative collaboration in a university arts education program: Exploring music, digital media and multimodal literacies through dialogue. Paper presented at the symposium on multimodal and digital media multiliteracies in and through the arts (Symposium Convenor: S. O’Neill), Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Capturing aesthetic experiences with iPads: Representing and communicating multimodal meaning making
This study involved 20 university graduate students in arts education in an assignment that used multimodal literacies and digital media for representing and communicating aesthetic experiences with the aim of deepening their theoretical understanding of this form of meaning making. A distinct quality of aesthetic experience is a freeing of consciousness from the dictates of biological or intellectual purpose and “this very liberation is a spontaneous, self-justifying joy” (Lonergan, 1992, p. 208). Through a practice of close self-attention to their own aesthetic experiences, the students were encouraged to identify distinctive qualities such as the liberation of sense, imagination, perception, and intellect/wonder. The different experiential “viewpoints” of the artist, the art object, the viewer and the context (Fleming, 2012) were ‘meta-cognitively’ examined through the creation of a video essay using iPads. These viewpoints were subsequently analyzed focusing on intertextuality and discourse analysis (Gee, 2011). Findings indicated that this ‘meta-cognitive’ approach encouraged students to work toward a theoretical appreciation and understanding of aesthetic experience firmly rooted in verified personal activity and supported by close examination of supporting theory. Using a thematic analysis that focused on emerging conceptual understandings that enhanced students’ understandings of the complex, fluid and embodied nature of aesthetic experience, we found that the multimodal learning involving digital media afforded more possibilities for nuanced understandings in meaning making through the video essays than the written reflections.
Gillis, A., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Capturing aesthetic experiences with iPads: Representing and communicating multimodal meaning making. Paper presented at the symposium on multimodal and digital media multiliteracies in and through the arts (Symposium Convenor: S. O’Neill), Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Creating music videos for enhancing multimodal, digital media literacies with pre-adolescent girls
Abstract: Digital media development, such as computer music composition and video production cultivates a multimodal literacy that is rooted more in the modes of image and sound and less in the dominant mode of written text. Semiotic processes of transduction and transformation are applied within creative writing activities, converting words on a page into the notes of a melody, sequences of choreography, and scenes of moving image framed within music videos. This study examined multimodal composition resulting from access to new media editing technologies and the impact on pre-adolescent girls’ meaning making. Participants were 8 girls (aged 8-11 years) attending a one-day songwriting workshop followed by a two-week film camp taught by the first author using collaborative pedagogy. The classes were video recorded and participants were interviewed at various points about their experiences. Drawing on social semiotics (Kress, 2011), multimodal analysis (Gilje, 2010), and interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith & Eatough, 2006), we examined instances of participants’ meaning making and evolving multimodal literacies through a trajectory of transduced creative exercises. The findings indicated that participants embodied a much deeper and more profound understanding of ideas and writing practices through processes of composing multimodal texts as part of filmmaking practices. We found that multimodal texts provided semiotic resources for meaning making that resonated with the young girls who experienced a sense of agency and empowerment through the process. Implications for incorporating multimodal pedagogies in different music learning contexts will be discussed.
Cobb, G., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Creating music videos for enhancing multimodal, digital media literacies with pre-adolescent girls. Paper presented at the symposium on multimodal and digital media multiliteracies in and through the arts (Symposium Convenor: S. O’Neill), Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Turning The Page on Multimodality and Multiliteracies – Jennifer Rowsell – Discussant.
- Turning The Page on Multimodality and Multiliteracies – Comments from Discussant Dr. Jennifer Rowsell.
Rowsell, J. (2013). Turning the page on mulitmodality and multiliteracies. Discussant of the symposium on multimodal and digital media multiliteracies in and through the arts (Symposium Convenor: S. O’Neill), Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Emerging conceptions of artistic learning through dialogue and collaborative youth-adult partnerships
Abstract: Unlike past generations, young people growing up in today’s digital age increasingly view artistry or “being artistic” as something that is assumed rather than achieved or bestowed (Kress, 2010). Since youth are more likely to refer to themselves as “artists” if they create something new or re-vision and transform something that already exists to “make it their own”, this suggests that conceptions of artistic learning may also be changing. This notion was explored through a series of six dialogues about artistic learning with youth, artists, arts educators, and leaders of community/provincial arts organizations. Bohm’s (1996) concept of dialogue was used to facilitate the exchange of knowledge across different perspectives and contexts. Emerging themes were analyzed using inductive analysis that involved a collaborative process with researchers and dialogue participants. Findings indicated a number of perspective transformations that participants’ experienced as assumptions underpinning belief systems were examined during the dialogues. This paper will also discuss the theoretical basis for transformative arts engagement (O’Neill, 2012) for the three further papers in this symposium and discuss the implications for creating expansive learning opportunities and creative collaborations (John-Steiner, 2000) in and through the arts that build on and extend existing curricula.
O’Neill, S. A., Senyshyn, Y., Bosacki, S., & Peters, V. (2013, June). Emerging conceptions of artistic learning through dialogue and collaborative youth-adult partnerships. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Beyond Music Matters: A follow-up study of secondary school students’ experiences of transformative music learning during middle school
: Transformative music engagement (O’Neill, 2012) is an approach to music learning that fosters expansive learning opportunities through young people’s critical reflections on their values and conscious efforts to plan and implement actions that bring about new ways of transforming themselves, others, and their community in relation to music activities. This paper reports on a two-year longitudinal follow-up study of learners who participated in a previous transformative music engagement project called Music Matters. The project used a collaborative methodology involving youth-led action research (Cahill, 2007) with music learners in Grades 7 and 8, their music teachers, and two researchers engaged in music-related activities that took place over several months. Specifically, learners were encouraged through a process of dialogue, inquiry, and shared meaning making to explore their own ideas about why music matters using a youth-led action research approach (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2000). Students developed music-related projects in response to questions they had about their own music engagement (Erickson, 2012). Larson’s (2011) framework for examining emotional, motivational, and cognitive-ecological processes revealed that the students’ become more engaged in their learning as they experienced a greater sense of empowerment, purpose and contribution to their community of learners. The students’ perceptions using interview data and the implications and challenges that were experienced in implementing and evaluating the projects will be discussed.
Erickson, D., O’Neill, S. A., & Senyshyn, Y. (2013, June). Beyond Music Matters: A follow-up study of secondary school students’ experiences of transformative music learning during middle school. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Diverse perspectives on arts disciplines revealed through dialogue in a fine arts school
: This paper presents a study of 15 students in grades 8-12 focusing on different arts disciplines (visual arts, dance, language arts, music, photography), researchers, and teachers from a Fine Arts School in British Columbia. The researchers and students met for eight sessions over the course of several months to explore knowledge and develop shared understandings about why the arts matter. Activities focused on dialogue, reflection, student‐led participatory action research, and multimodal representations of the “messages” that the students thought were important for increasing awareness and understanding about the value of arts engagement, particularly within their own school culture (Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003). Their key messages emerged through the students’ growing recognition of the expansive artistic and positive growth they experienced when engaged in integrated or multidisciplinary arts activities. In this study, we were particularly interested in the opportunities, constraints and key processes that emerged in developing and implementing this project. This research will inform future iterations of this work and help us develop directions for future projects to encourage integrated music and arts, and whole school involvement in inquiry, reflection and advocacy to strengthen connections between arts subjects and between the school and community.
Sparks, J., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Diverse perspectives on arts disciplines revealed through dialogue in a fine arts school. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Arts in Action: Community art as catalysts for social change through children’s creative collaborative song writing
: In this study, 44 grade six students at an independent school in British Columbia took part in a month long interdisciplinary song-writing project. This project asked first-year ukulele players to collaborate on ideas inspired by art that was part of the Biennale Public Art Exhibition. Students then wrote an original song complete with chords and lyrics that examined the ‘big ideas’ of their chosen piece. Students wrote their songs using any process that worked for them, supported by their teacher, a singer-songwriting mentor, and their peers. Students kept ongoing Arts Developmental Workbooks that documented their process and included reflections on their experience. The process was also videotaped, as were the final presentations, which were presented for peers in front of digital images of the chosen art pieces. Despite limited (first-year) ukulele skills, students who participated in this study were able to effectively write songs that communicated the ‘big ideas’ of their chosen pieces of public art. With teacher, mentor, and peer support, and a flexible, open-ended process, students were able to choose a method that worked for them to produce a meaningful song that captured the essence of their chosen artwork. Implications for transformative arts engagement for educators will be discussed.
Ukulele Songwriting – Meeting from MODAL Research on Vimeo.
Bespflug, K., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Arts in Action: Community art as catalysts for social change through children’s creative collaborative song writing. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Making connections on the waterfront: A worker-community-academic partnership – Summary and Photos
Past, Present and Future Work on the Waterfront: An Intergenerational Arts Program
There are few opportunities in the school curriculum for students to learn directly from those in our community who have lived the history and experienced the places and events that are studied in the classroom. Intergenerational collaboration provides opportunities for “real world” learning about issues that matter in the local community as well as opportunities for relationship building and enhanced communication between generations. With these aims in mind, Dr. Susan O’Neill from the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University developed an intergenerational arts/civic history educational program as part of the (Re)Claiming the New Westminster Waterfront research partnership led by Dr. Peter Hall from Urban Studies at SFU. The program is designed to bring together longshoremen who spent their working lives on the waterfront with children who are learning about the history of the waterfront. As the longshoremen share their experiences of working on the waterfront, the students gain a stronger sense of the history and importance of the waterfront in their community. A series of projects were coordinated and taught by art teacher and SFU research assistant Sue Dyer with volunteer retired members of Local 502, International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union.
In Spring 2012, an eight-week pilot project took place with students in Grades 5-6 from the New Westminster Homelearners Program. A highlight of this project involved a field trip where the children joined Joe Breaks, a retired longshoreman, who led a guided walk along the waterfront. The children were each given a disposable camera to take photos that they compared to photos of the waterfront from the past. They also created clay sculptures that represented different aspects of working life on the waterfront in partnership with Joe Breaks, Gerry White and other retired longshoreman that attended the art classes taught by Sue Dyer. The students also created drawings of what they imagined the waterfront to be like in the future and a celebration display of their art projects took place with parents and invited members of the community attending.
In Spring of 2013, a second project was conducted with Matthew Sol’s class of students in Grades 3-4 at Howie Elementary School in New Westminster and longshoremen retirees Joe Breaks, Gerry White and Brian Ringrose. This project followed a similar model as the pilot project and illustrated the benefits of how intergenerational sharing of lived experiences can enhance classroom learning and provide a social and generative opportunity for the retirees. Classroom learning about the past, present and future of the waterfront was enhanced by the intergenerational relationships developed, and the children and longshoremen collaborated on the creation of art projects that included clay sculptures, mask making, wire sculpture, puppet shows and comic book creation using an iPad.
A third project was conducted in May 2013, with Grade 10 students in Pat Dyer’s Social Studies class at New Westminster Secondary School. This project involved students working in small groups together with retired longshoremen in the creation of short “documentary” films exploring the history of the working waterfront using everyday technology available to the students such as smart phones and computers. The longshoremen (Joe Breaks, Gerry White, Brian Ringrose, Ken Bauder, Dean Johnson, Ron Noullett) shared stories with the students about the evolution over time of working conditions and the improvements that were made through ILWU and government labour laws. Using story telling, photography, film and music the students and longshoremen created films that communicated meaningful messages about past and present work on the New Westminster waterfront.
Hall, P., Keough, W., Kelm, M.-E., Stern, P., Farahani, A., Minardi, R. Walisser, A., O’Neill, S. A., Dyer, S., Capota, O., Breaks, J., White, G., & Ringrose, B.