September 26, 2023

“Then You go to Snap”: Multimodal Making of Digital Comics in a Language Arts High School Classroom



This paper extends research that looks at the intersection of multimodal composing and maker education. We present findings from a fourth iteration of a multidisciplinary classroom design study in which high school youth made digital comics based on literary novels in an 11th grade language arts classroom in a predominantly Hispanic, low-SES, urban high school. The current study offers a close analysis of students’ processes for making digital comics and how they utilized smartphone-based social media apps and comics tools to construct meaning via transmediation of a traditional literary text. We focused on two (cases) groups of students’ multimodal making. We asked, how do youth leverage their own socio-technical repertoires of practice in multimodal making of digital comics? We used interaction analysis methods to analyze multimodal talk-in-interaction to understand how students used their bodies and technologies across making activities. We found that multimodal making with personal technologies enabled youth to transform and ascribe meaning to school spaces, supported embodied learning across physical and digital spaces, and reinforced agency in school spaces. We discuss implications for expanding maker education into formal non-STEM disciplinary spaces and the importance of grounding learning designs in students’ preferred repertoires of practice and incorporate the tools that are intertwined with their ways of being and knowing if we are to support making practices among culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse learners both in and out of schools.

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