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Socio-semiotic patterns in digital meaning-making: semiotic choice as indicator of communicative experience

Journal article
Authors Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi
Published in Language and Education
Volume 31
Issue 5
Pages 432-448
ISSN 0950-0782
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 432-448
Language en
Keywords Literacy pedagogy; multimodality; digital meaning-making; semiotic choice; multiliteracies
Subject categories Didactics


Access to digital technology in the classroom enables the composition and organization of ideas on screen with a variety of semiotic systems of different modes and media. This study explores patterns of communication and preference of design in digital meaning-making of twelve 7–8 years old students. Meanings were shaped in complex uses and combinations of modes and media engaging the students in negotiation of meanings where both affordances of technology, semiotic resources in the class as well as the student's prior language and cultural experiences had impact on their choices and designing of texts on screen. The opportunity to make own choices of designs revealed their designing strategies with a predominant focus on writing as the mode of dissemination and examples of semiotic work with preference to visual resources, demonstrating students’ communicative experiences. Categorizing the selection of modes and applying semiotic grammar made the means the students used to communicate meaning evident and visible, providing the meta-tools needed to understand the semiotic work of students in a broader and informed accounts for the multimodal and digital meaning-making they demonstrate – a valuable insight in regard to literacy pedagogy.

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