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Multimodal Science and Engineering Teaching: Perspectives from 8ICOM
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education. Uppsala University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3244-2586
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The previous international conference on multimodality – 8ICOM – featured two sessions devoted to multimodal, social semiotic approaches to science teaching and learning (c.f. Halliday1978; van Leeuwen 2005, Airey & Linder 2017). What the papers in these sessions shared was the argument that such perspectives on science, and science teaching, can, at least in part, respond to calls to ‘democratize’ science education by recognising diverse sets of semiotic resources and, in so doing, seeking to address impediments to equal participation (Burke et al., 2017). 

The 8ICOM science sessions were particularly noteworthy given the backdrop against which 8ICOM had been organised. In the months leading up to the conference, South Africa (and Cape Town, in particular) had experienced campus unrest aimed at ‘decolonizing’ higher education in that country. As part of this movement, the phrase #ScienceMustFall briefly trended on social media. This emanated from the claim that ‘science’ is a western, colonial construct that needs to be dismantled and replaced with the teaching of indigenous, African knowledge. Although the #ScienceMustFall slogan has since departed from the wider public consciousness, the questions it raises nonetheless remain: why, and how, should science be taught?  Is science more than just a western colonial construction and, if so, why? And, what can the concept of multimodality offer by way of answering these questions? 

In this paper, we offer an overview of the multimodal science papers presented in the two sessions at 8ICOM in the light of these questions. This is done with a view to assessing where the multimodality community finds itself regarding science education, and how it might address questions of the legitimacy of western science in the future. It is thus an attempt, as the conference theme suggests, to ‘move the theory forward’.      

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Science, colonialism, science as modelling, multimodality
National Category
Other Physics Topics Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167216OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167216DiVA, id: diva2:1298249
Conference
9th International Conference on Multimodality, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, August 15-17, 2018
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-04113Available from: 2019-03-22 Created: 2019-03-22 Last updated: 2019-03-27Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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