This research program addresses new forms of multimodal literacy in the English curriculum and in other school curriculum areas, as well as childhood and adolescent literacies outside of schooling for personal, aesthetic, intellectual, social, civic and political purposes. It is concerned with 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. The purposes of this research initiative include the enhancement of our understanding of the nature and role of meta-semiotic knowledge in effective multimodal communication and how this is mediated to learners from the early years to adolescence in order to optimize the capacities of all learners to derive and contribute to the benefits of new forms of literate activity.
Current projects in this area, including those of doctoral students, involve investigations of the learning contexts provided by popular television programs for young children such as Dora the Explorer, blogging by children in the early years of schooling, multimodal authoring using animation software in the primary school, the emotional appeal of film trailers, student interpretation and response to multi-version literary narratives as novels, picture books, graphic novels and movies, image-language relations in the construction of player positioning in video games, new literacies and cumulative learning in curriculum areas such as history and science, the discourse of senior secondary school legal studies and grammatics in the new Australian Curriculum: English.