Research on English and Literacies addresses all aspects of literacy education including traditional literacies and new forms of multimodal and digital literacy in the English curriculum and in other school curriculum areas. Research includes childhood and adolescent literacies outside of schooling for personal, aesthetic, intellectual, social, civic and political purposes.

Under the leadership of Professor Len Unsworth, the English and Literacies program has a particular interest in the nature and role of knowledge about the meaning-making resources of language, image, music movement, gesture and other modalities in interpreting and creating texts in contemporary paper and electronic media. The trajectory of this research embraces education from early childhood to senior secondary schooling addressing ongoing and emerging issues of equity in access to existing and new literacies of empowerment in the contemporary, increasingly online and multimodal, communication age.

This research at ILSTE reflects the multimodal conceptualisation of literacy in the Australian Curriculum: English and its emphasis on developing students’ meta-semiotic understanding to enhance their use of conventional literacies and new forms of digital, multimodal literacy practices.

Featured projects

Coding Animated Narratives as Multimodal Authorship

The ARC project seeks to develop new teaching pedagogies for students to code animated narratives, integrating previously separated capabilities of multimodal authoring and computational thinking. It prepares students for the emerging communication world where multimodal authoring, coding, and computational thinking will no longer be optional, but requisite in workplaces, education, and cultural life in a digital knowledge economy.

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Sensory Orchestration for Multimodal Literacy Learning in Primary Education 

This project generates pedagogical and learning models to optimise students' broadened use of the senses in multimodal and digital literacy learning. It develops new sensory literacy programs with primary schools, community organisations, and art museums. The project builds an evidence base for students to become critical users of sensory techniques to communicate through digital, virtual, and augmented-reality texts — skillsets that sustain digital and workforce participation:

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Our research team

Research project management; development of morphophonological knowledge in literacy learning; relationship between gesture and other meaning-making systems in science classrooms

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Literacy education from pre-school to matriculation; children’s and adolescent’s literature and literacy development; e-literature for children and adolescents; information and communication technology and literacies; multiliteracies; language and literacy in curriculum areas; systemic functional linguistics in literary and literacy research and education; functional grammar in school curriculum; genre theory; semiosis of explanation in education

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digital and media practices; writing and literacies; pedagogies; New Literacy Studies; socio-cultural, multimodal literacy; multiliteracies; sensory literacies; socio-spatial and socio-material literacy research; critical literacy; big data for qualitative research

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evaluative reading and sourcing in the digital age; epistemic cognition for critical reading; development of children’s epistemic cognition; boys, masculinity, and reading; girls, femininity, and reading; masculinities and schooling; reading and social disadvantage; reading in science classrooms; qualitative, quantitative and mixed research design methodologies; survey design and analysis; interview research design and analysis; large scale longitudinal mixed method design; stimulated recall interview methods; scenario based interview methods; ethnography – early childhood and primary school settings

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