Learning Online: Multiliteracies and inquiry-based digital pedagogies for the middle years

Year: 2010

Author: Godinho, Sally, Molyneux, Paul

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper reports on the theoretical and pedagogical framing for the development of a digital resource designed by staff of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) and the Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU) at The University of Melbourne. The resource, The Venom Patrol, is an interactive website that is designed to support science-based student learning, extend students’ multiliteracy skills, and maximise learning opportunities through the use of inquiry-based and integrated learning pedagogies. The resource’s design is underpinned by research highlighting the role of digital pedagogies and electronic resources in the middle years of schooling (see Culican, Emmitt & Oakley, 2001; Luke et al., 2003). Empowered deployment of specific multiliteracy skills (New London Group, 1996; Cope & Kalantzis, 2009) fostered through critical and creative engagement with digital tools is posited as essential for rich learning in contemporary classrooms (Anstey & Bull, 2006; Unsworth, 2002; Zammitt & Downes, 2002). In this paper we argue digital tools such as The Venom Patrol that facilitate cross disciplinary connections have the potential to make learning more relevant and cohesive and to cultivate student voice and engagement (Apple & Beane, 2007).  With The Venom Patrol website becoming available to schools Australia-wide in 2011, there is an immediate need to trial its implementation in a range of classrooms. Therefore, we conclude with an outline of the qualitative case study research that is currently being undertaken in four school settings to investigate the effectiveness of the resource, its pedagogy and curriculum support materials.