Teaching Multimodal & Digital Literacies in L2 Settings

New Literacies, New Basics, New Pedagogies

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Learning through Digital Storytelling

Teaching Multimodal & Digital Literacy in L2 Settings: New Literacies, New Basics, New Pedagogies

Heather Lotherington, York University

Jennifer Jenson, York University

Related Videos: L2 Digital Storytelling with Scribjab


Globalization and digitization have reshaped the communication landscape, affecting how and with whom we communicate, and deeply altering the terrain of language and literacy education. As children in urban contexts become socialized into communities of increasing cultural and communicational connectivity, complexity, and convergence (Jenkins, 2004), and funding for specialist second language (L2) support declines, classrooms have become linguistically heterogeneous spaces where every teacher is a teacher of L2 learners.

This article has two purposes: The first is to give an overview of the concept of multimodal literacies, which utilize diverse media to represent visual, audio, gestural, spatial, and tactile dimensions of communication in addition to traditional written and oral forms. Since the New London Group’s manifesto on multiliteracies in 1996, which merged language and literacy education agendas in L2 teaching, language arts, media literacy, and cultural studies, new basics have developed that apply to all classrooms and all learners. Second, this article reviews and reports on innovative pedagogical approaches to multimodal literacies involving L2 learners – approaches that might helps us more generally rethink 21st Century literacy and learning.

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