Professor Len Unsworth

Research Director
Educational Semiotics in English and Literacy Pedagogy

Areas of expertise: 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

Phone: +612 9739 2738

Email: len.unsworth@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU North Sydney Campus

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4723-8169

Professor Len Unsworth is the Research Director of Educational Semiotics in English and Literacy Pedagogy at ILSTE. Len has been involved in educational research for over 30 years, including nine recent Australian Research Council funded projects. His key research interests include: literacy and learning in school curriculum areas; literature for children and adolescents; literacy development in the English curriculum K-12; and the pedagogic role of explicit knowledge about language and the meaning-making resources of images and image-language interaction in both paper and digital media texts, including animation and film. Prior to commencing at ACU in 2014, Len was Professor in Education at Griffith University, following earlier roles as Head of the School of Education at the University of New England and Head of the School of Development and Learning in the Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney.

Curriculum Vitae

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Select publications

  • Unsworth, L., Cope, J., & Nicholls, L. (2019). Multimodal literacy and large-scale literacy tests: Curriculum relevance and responsibility, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 42(2),128-139.
  • Unsworth, L. (2017). Image-language interaction in text comprehension: Reading reality and national reading tests. In Cl. Ng & B. Bartlett (Eds). Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century: International Research and Innovation (pp. 99-118). Singapore: Springer.
  • Macken-Horarik, M., Love, K., Unsworth, L. & Sandiford, C. (2017). Functional Grammatics: Re- conceptualizing knowledge about language and image for school English. London: Routledge.
  • Unsworth, L. (2015). Persuasive narratives: Evaluative images in picture books and animated movies. Visual Communication, 14(1), 73-96.
  • Unsworth, L., & Thomas, A. (2014). English teaching and new literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.
  • Painter, C., Martin, J. R., & Unsworth, L. (2013). Reading visual narratives: Image analysis of children’s picturebooks. London, UK: Equinox.

Projects

  • 2019-2021 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Unsworth, L., Mills, K., Falloon, G., Burn, A. Coding animated narratives as contemporary multimodal authorship in schools. $442,609
  • 2016-2019 Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant: Unsworth, L., Tytler, R., O'Halloran, K., Humphrey, S., Love, K., Lynzaat, A., Moss-Holland, S., Oakley, E., & Dullard, R. Multiliteracies for addressing disadvantage in senior school science. $500,000
  • 2015-2018 Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant: Mills, K., Unsworth, L., Williamson, M., Clay, R., Ferguson, A., Trembath, M. & Maksud, T. Developing low socioeconomic status primary students’ multimodal language of emotions. $191,772
  • 2013-2015 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Maton, K. Martin, J. R. Unsworth, L. & Howard, S. Pedagogies for knowledge-building: Investigating subject-appropriate, cumulative teaching for twenty-first century school classrooms. $360,241
  • 2011-2013 Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant: Macken-Horarik, M. Unsworth, L. & Love, K. Grammar and praxis: Investigating a grammatics for the twenty first century school English. $449,951
  • 2009-2012 Australian Research Council, Linkage Project: Bittman, M, Unsworth, L. & Rutherford, L. Digital Natives: Growing up with new and old media in Australia. $139,321
  • 2008-2011 Australian Research Council, Linkage Scheme: Unsworth, L., Thomas, A. & Maggs, P. Teaching effective 3D authoring in the middle school years: Multimedia grammatical design and multimedia authoring pedagogy. $195,000

Accolades and awards

  • 2017 appointed Principal Fellow of the Australian Literacy Educators Association in recognition of significant contribution to the association and to the literacy community

Appointments and affiliations

  • Professor in Education, Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education (formerly Learning Sciences Institute Australia), Australian Catholic University (ACU), 2014-
  • Professor in Education, Griffith University, 2012-2013
  • Deputy Director, Griffith Institute for Education Research, 2012-2013
  • Adjunct Professor, University of New England, 2011-2012
  • Professor and Head of the School of Education, University of New England, 2004-2008
  • Director of CRÈME, University of New England, 2004-2008
  • Associate Professor. Head, School of Development and Learning, University of Sydney, 2001-2004

Editorial roles

  • Unsworth, L., & Thomas, A. (2014). English teaching and new literacies pedagogy: Interpreting and authoring digital multimedia narratives. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing

International journal review panel

  • Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
  • Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

Grant agency review panels

Assessor of Research Grant Applications:

  • The Australian Research Council
  • The Singapore Ministry of Education: National Research Foundation
  • The National University of Singapore
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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