ABC gefertigt in der M2 Mehrstufenklasse 2013/14

(c) My Literacies

My Literacies. Approaches to literacies in multimedia and multilingual contexts – The view of the child

Project description

The Sparkling Science Project “My Literacies” investigates the diversity of literacy practices in a multimedia and multilingual society from a child’s perspective.

The research program is interested in literacy practices in a multimedia and multilingual society. In everyday life, literacy – the use of writing and written language – forms an integral part of our social practices. In a modern information society, the written word is present not only in books, newspapers and magazines, but also in technology-based communication or in posters, stickers, traffic signs and other everyday contexts. Literacy practices are also closely connected with the use of new technologies such as the internet, mobile communications, video games and the like (multimedia). Furthermore, the written word is increasingly associated with other perceptual modes such as colour, picture, sound, or motion (multimodality).

The diversity of literacy practices in our society is further broadened by the abilities of people who have grown up with different language backgrounds (multilingualism) and different writing systems, and by the range of ways in which writing is combined with other modes and is incorporated into different media (multiliteracies).

The aim of the project is to explore the diversity of literacy practices and of children’s multilingual and multiliterate repertoires from the child‘s perspective.

A further aim of the project is to build on the repertoire of research methods in reading research, literacy studies and multilingualism by using methods such as Linguistic Landscape and Social Semiotics, videography, conversation analysis, image analysis and discourse analysis, which have, thus far, scarcely been used in reading research. By providing evidence for literacy practices in extracurricular contexts of everyday life and in conditions of social diversity, the project contributes to research in the field of family literacy and reading socialization.

As co-researchers, 90 students from the 3rd and 4th grade in three Viennese primary schools are encouraged to explore their experiences with written language and to record literacy practices both in school and outside of school in their families and communities.

To establish a participatory, reflexive and responsive research practice, where children co-construct the research agenda, our research is organized in a series of structured activities around topics of special interest (written things in everyday life, in the classroom, “languages in my life”, “my learning biography”, advertising, “multilingualism in the city”). We also encouraged children to produce visual materials (drawings, photographs, collages …) and to share their materials and ideas in a 1:1 conversation with members of the research team.

Methods and material(s), in particular the medium of the image, provide an innovative approach to reading, writing and language experiences, and to media use by children, their families and communities. Some of the materials gathered by the children (photos, text, pictures and films) also serve as pedagogical resources in teaching projects.

Through their participation in this project, children experienced themselves as multilingual, multiliterate and multicompetent “literacy users”. Dealing with various media, modes and language(s), with writing and image in different forms and media, and with digital cameras, our participants not only reflected and interpreted texts in different forms and contexts, but also gained an appreciation for their language(s) and the resources of their family as part of their unique multiliterate identity – “My Literacies”.

This project is funded by Sparkling Science – a programme of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW)

Funding period: 01-11-2014 – 31-10-2019