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Focusing on multimodality to observe meaning-making trajectories

Presentation at CALRG annual conference 2010 by Chris Thomson, Katie Vernon-Smith and Alison...

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Rebecca Ferguson
24 May 2010

Presentation at CALRG annual conference 2010 by Chris Thomson, Katie Vernon-Smith and Alison Twiner.

Full title: Interactive whiteboards, cameras, action: Focusing on multimodality to observe meaning-making trajectories, through a LearnPhysical Interactive approach to subject teaching and learning

This session introduces and illustrates findings from an innovative cross-curricular programme called LearnPhysical Interactive. This approach was developed by a dance organisation called The Place, who are based in London. The programme uses dance or movement activity alongside technologies (including interactive whiteboards and mobile devices - Sony PSPs with camera) to focus upon the teaching and learning of different curricular objects. One of the central aims of the programme is to provide: 'multisensory opportunities for engagement with subject lesson content, with the application of technologies... as part of a participative learning environment" (Thomson, 2009, pp 2-3).

This presentation focuses on a four-week series of Year 2 lessons on the Great Fire of London, whihc combined one classroom-based and one hall-based lesson each week The participating school welcomed this particular LearnPhysical Interactive approach since, with a high proportion of pupils having English as an additional language, language and literacy were key foci for its pedagogical framework. Thus the multimodal or multisensory nature of delivery were well placed to provide different entry points into the historical content to be covered within the curriculum.

Extra content

Crossposted notes from my blog:

Alison Twiner et al on Focusing on multimodality to observe meaning-making trajectories, through a LearnPhysical Interactive approach to subject teaching and learning.

Chris Thompson from dance group - with Katie Vernon-Smith - from 'the place' to discover dance. International centre for contemporary, creative dance. Primary schools - KS1 and KS2. Exploratory work in language, literacy - funding from DfES, then other Departments and projects. Using movement to teach across the curriculum, and shift to working with the teachers. Now ended up as LearnPhysicalinteractive.

Looking inside a multi-stranded teaching model, exploring new ways of teaching with digital equipment and theoretical framework. Children making physical metaphors in a class about materials.

Alison - case study of Year 2 class, 20 pupils, one term, four-week topic on Great Fire of London (history), two lessons a week, one in classroom, on in hall (with dance specialist on the LearnPhysical interactive). Many students with English as Additional Language - to helping build communication.

Sociocultural approach to analysis - teacher's toolkit (Wertsch 1991.) Multimodal, multisensory.

Interactive whiteboard used to display and work with text, images, graphics, video, simulations. PSPs to capture and review pupils' physical explorations.

The resources were improvable objects; re-used the timeline - prepared slides, added to during teaching. Also used images from PSPs.

Explored teacher's planned meaning-making trajectory. Now analysing this and the learner's trajectories.


Someone: Focus on talk, but about dance?

Alison: Was analysis focus, not the teacher's. As a means to review the data.

Chris: That was the trajectory of the analysis. This is about the metaphor; it's a collaborative activity, negotiating meanings and space. They negotiate how they'll do it, and how to represent it, and then have to explain it afterwards. Talk is intertwined; the physical metaphor - linguistic metaphors grounded in the experience of the body. How we conceptualise space is based in our physical experience, and is embedded in our language. Is very complex - socially, psychologically, cognitively.

Ruslan: Electronic whiteboards - is there something that teachers can't do on a conventional board?

Alison: Yes. One slide among many, can follow on many, couldn't mark them all up in advance, don't have to draw them out every time, can do them in advance. Having the photographs from the students on display, visuals, resizing images and videos. Could do some on a regular whiteboard but most of these easier or more fluid on interactive - and many just not possible otherwise.

Kim: Dance and older students - these are young, fairly uninhibited - harder with older learners, especially boys?

Chris: Fine up to Year 6; not much of a problem in Primary.

Someone: They get used to working with each other, get closer, work well together. Sometimes team teach male/female teachers, which seems to help. Experimenting to Secondary is harder.

Chris: We have short 3 minute video of Y6 boys dancing who've worked on this since Y2, very uninhibited.

Jon Rosewell: Robocup Junior, includes dance competition, good at getting boys in up to Y6/7, program robot to dance, dance alongside it. 

This work by Doug Clow is copyright but licenced under a Creative Commons BY Licence.
No further permission needed to reuse or remix (with attribution), but it’s nice to be notified if you do use it.

Doug Clow
12:56 on 24 May 2010

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