Literacy remains one of the central aims of schooling but the ways in which it is understood are changing. The growth of the networked society and the spread of information and communications technology has brought significant changes to traditional literacy. This project aims to improve understandings about new forms of literacy as they appear in digital popular culture (computer games); and about the ways in which young people engage with them. It aims to find ways to use this knowledge to strengthen the teaching of print and multimodal literacies and will provide theoretical models and practical resources to do so.
The project is investigating the ways in which English and literacy education might benefit from examining popular digital culture, and the ways in which young people make use of it, to improve the teaching of print and multimodal forms of literacy. It takes computer games as examples of global, ICT-based popular culture, where meaning is built from multimodal elements, and where young players have to be actively learning and involved in order to play. Working with English teachers and secondary students who are computer games players, the project addresses five main questions:
What kinds of texts are computer games, and how do they combine multimodal elements to create meanings and values?
What kinds of literacy and learning practices are adolescents involved in as they play computer games; how do they make sense of them, and how are they affected by them?
What do computer games and adolescents' engagement with them have to teach us about how to teach both print and multimodal texts and literacies, and to update and strengthen English and literacy curriculum?
How can we use teaching and learning about multimodal texts to increase the literacy levels and engagement of marginalised students, particularly boys and those in the middle years?
What kinds of approaches, models and resources are needed to support teachers in the development and implementation of ICT-based curriculum that addresses both print and multimodal forms of literacy?