Manipulating viewer stance in ‘creating’ animation narratives: what do student authors need to know?

Literacy, Language, Literature, Learning Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA) Sydney, July 2012

Good storytelling doesn’t happen by chance. Skilled storytellers in any communication mode make considered choices on many levels to shape the stories they wish to tell. Shaping meaning requires knowledge of how the chosen mode/s work – of the semiotic options available and how they might be used. The focus is the design of interpersonal relationships through the manipulation of viewer stance in 3D animation narratives using ‘moving image’ semiotic resources. I present a ‘Moving image focalisation’ framework which identifies the meaning resources authors can use to manipulate how the viewer is positioned in relation to the characters and events at different times in an animation, according to the narrative moment. This framework is positioned within a social semiotic theory of multimodality (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) and Halliday’s (1978) metafunctions system for logically organising language meaning. It is contextualised with examples of student work and discussion of how this can inform the teaching of student multimodal authors.

A OBrien Focalisation system ALEA July 2012 PDF

Who see what? When? Where? And why does it matter?

 New Literacies, Digital Multimedia and Classroom Teaching Conference, University of Tasmania (UTAS) September 2011

As literacy teachers, our challenge is to enable our students to produce carefully constructed, engaging multimodal texts which resonate with their audience. This workshop explores how student multimodal narrative authoring can be supported and enriched through explicit attention to purposefully positioning the viewer’s stance in various ways at different points in the story. Working with scripts to develop storyboards, the focus of this workshop is how we can scaffold young literacy learners into making informed multimodal design decisions to create meaning. This session draws on a wealth of practical experience with examples of student work and modeling of multimodal authoring pedagogy.