MLC 2010 Media Literacy Conference, London
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Media literacy, Learning progression and Comics
Media Education in Primary Schools (MIVA) is a three-year research project aiming to develop a dynamic model for media education and multimodal literacy and a case study of learning progression in the primary years, based on key concepts of media education, media literacy and multimodal literacies (Bazalgette 1989, BFI 2000, 2003; Buckingham 2003, 2007, Burn & Durran 2007, Kress, 1996). The project is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Vienna and teachers and pupils in nine primary schools in Vienna, funded by the Austrian Science Fund.
The study proposes a staged approach to teaching and learning, whereby students progressively move toward increasing competencies and complexity of thought. Students move back and forth between action and reflection – engagement and media production on one hand and analysis, critique and reflection on their own production processes on the other. The model is ‘dialogic’ as it moves between students’ prior experiences and existing knowledge and new concepts and tools provided by the teacher.
The paper will present findings from the first project phase with a thematic focus on the reading and writing of comics. It will present a range of examples providing an indication on how children may develop an increasing understanding of the multimodal nature of comics and the complex relationship between image and written language through a wide range of activities. The children were studying comics and the language, visual codes and narratives employed through critical reading and the production of comics, using both traditional and digital media (pen and paper, digital photography, computer and software ComicLife).