Multimodality Talks Series: Visual storytelling and Students’ multimodal knowledge sharing in school: spatial repertoires and semiotic assemblages

Day:  10 December 2021

Time: 12:00 – 13:30 GMT

Place: online

Speaker: Linnéa Stenliden, Associate Professor at the Department of Behavioral Studies and Learning, Linköping University, Sweden

To watch the recorded talk, see here:

In these times, often described as a ´post-truth´ era we are faced with information overload. The volume of data that we are exposed to has exploded and is even higher than previously expected caused by the increased challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people worked and learned from home. Already, there is a conspicuous divergence between on one hand the huge amount of information produced, collected, retained and organized and on the other hand the human capacity to make sense of and learn from it. It is a challenge to find relevant information, support knowledge building and engage in thinking critically about information and knowledge from different perspectives.

In this presentation I discuss how various modes (visual, bodily and verbal) are brought together and function when students’ findings from visualized statistics are presented in a social science classroom. The aim is to explain students’ efforts to communicate visual discoveries, their insights, as a final stage in the knowledge-building process. First, Visual analytics (VA) is introduced – a technology that offers support to people to make sense of large volumes of data by presenting information in multimodal (visual) contexts. Then, Visual storytelling is explained – a method that might enhance human skills to interpret, analyse, arrange and communicate information otherwise often “hidden” in various data sets. With this background emerging interactions in classrooms of grades 7–9 students are analyzed when Visual analytics and Visual storytelling methods are playing a part in producing social science content. The analyses are supported by concepts from Pennycook (2018) and Deleuze and Guattari (1987). Important results are that, when students share their visual discoveries, the communicative practices are embedded within broad spatial repertoires distributing flexible semiotic assemblages. The importance of looking at the language of such messages and knowledge sharing as not so much a linguistic system and choices made by the student, but a greater totality of interacting objects, places, and various forms of semiosis will be underlined. Argued is, in turn not only previous understandings of communication will be influenced, but also how knowledge will be viewed and understood in school. ‘Knowledge’, already a multifaced concept, will include, for example, visual competences and understandings of semiotic assemblages – how ‘things’ assemble, operate, or function. If this is correct, how can such dimensions of communication be recognized in school? 

Biographical information: Linnéa Stenliden is associate professor at the Department of Behavioral Studies and Learning, Linköping University, Sweden, within education sciences. She is focusing her research on communication, digital media, multimodality and information visualization. 

Committed to socio-material theories she is paying attention to the borders between languages but also the borders, and border crossing, between semiotic modes. She uses semiotic assemblages to explore the importance of things, the consequences of the body, and the significance of place alongside the meanings of linguistic resources in literacy and in digital communication. Recent publications are: 

• Martín Bylund, A. & Stenliden, L. (2020). The “Heart” of Reading: The Entanglement of Human Body and Mind When Involved in Reading. In: AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Apr 17 – 21, 2020. San Francisco: American Education Research Association.

• Martín Bylund, A. & Stenliden, L. (2020). Closer to far away: transcending the spatial in transnational families’ online video calling. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 1-14

Stenliden has a special interest in information visualization, how visuals alone or in combination with other modes together with students and teachers enact and translate. She is currently head of the VISE-research group, which for example through interdisciplinary research developed a statistical data application for K12 education and methods for visual storytelling available as OR, by VISE academy: The group’s latest work:

• Nissen, J. & Stenliden, L. (2020). Visualized Statistics and Students’ Reasoning Processes in A Post Truth Era. The Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 31(1), 49-76, Article ID 210238.

• Bodén, U. & Stenliden, L. (2019). Emerging Visual Literacy through Enactments by Visual Analytics and Students. Designs for Learning, 11(1), 40-51

• Stenliden, L., Bodén, U. & Nissen, J. (2019). Students as Producers of Interactive Data Visualizations-Digitally Skilled to Make Their Voices Heard. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 51(2), 101-117

You’ll receive the link to join the meeting upon registration.

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