Composing for Affect, Audience, and Identity: Toward a Multidimensional Understanding of Adolescents’ Multimodal Composing Goals and Designs

Blaine E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined adolescents’ perspectives on their multimodal composing goals and designs when creating digital projects in the context of an English Language Arts class. Sociocultural and social semiotics theoretical frameworks were integrated to understand six 12th grade students’ viewpoints when composing three multimodal products—a website, hypertext literary analysis, and podcast—in response to a well-known literary text. Data sources included screen capture and video observations, design interviews, written reflections, and multimodal products. Findings revealed how adolescents concurrently composed for multiple purposes and audiences during the literature analysis unit. In particular, students viewed projects as a platform to emotionally affect and entertain a broader audience, as well as a conduit through which they could represent themselves as composers. Emphasis was placed on creating cohesive compositions—ranging from close modal matching to building meaning at a thematic level and creating a multisensory experience indicative of the novel’s narrative world. These findings contribute a multidimensional understanding of adolescents’ various and interacting multimodal composing goals and have implications for leveraging modal affordances in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-214
Number of pages33
JournalWritten Communication
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • English language arts
  • adolescent literacy
  • composing goals
  • digital literacies
  • multimodal composition
  • response to literature
  • social semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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