Multimodal Awareness in Ecology Discourse for Children Education

by Maria Bortoluzzi

The present study focuses on ecological narratives for children as presented in websites. The paper summarises the results of a qualitative research study on the interaction of children and adolescents aged from 8 to 13 with adult-generated websites promoting awareness about ecology and positive action about ecological behaviour.
This study is carried out within the theoretical frameworks of critical multimodal digital literacy and multiliteracy. The main research questions addressed in the present paper are:
1. What are the levels of critical awareness in children and adolescents (from age 8 to 13) when engaged with multimodal texts about ecology produced by adults for the purpose of children education?
2. How do phenomena related to critical awareness vary within a developmental perspective from Grade 3 to Grade 8?
The key areas of investigation encompass two wide-ranging aspects: a) Awareness of multimodal/multiliteracy strategies to decode eco-sustainable narratives; b) Levels of participation in social action through multimodal texts.
The discussion of the qualitative data analysis contributes to guidelines for empowering children, promote safe child autonomy and multiliteracy skills, and foster ecology of communication across generations and communities of practice (PRIN project: ACT MACE 2009-2011).