Multimodal Creative Inquiry: Theorising a New Approach for Children’s Science Meaning-Making in Early Childhood Education

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Abstract

This paper discusses how multimodal creative inquiry might be conceptualised and implemented for children’s meaning-making in science. We consider Halliday’s (1978) and Vygotsky’s (1987, 2016) theoretical ideas for showing how the most important characteristics of social semiotics are connected to imagination, play-based and creative inquiry for children’s science meaning-making. Qualitative data was analysed from two preschool classroom video observations of 40 children’s playful interactions with technologies, such as robotic toys, semiotic artefacts, two teachers’ reflective journal documentation and children’s artefacts. Findings show children participate and discuss elements of scientific concepts in inquiry-based dialogues and make sense of science concepts whilst becoming creators of multimodal representations arising from their interests and curiosity. The semiotic resources that operate through technologies such as apps provide a medium for creative inquiry affording communication spaces and multimodal (visual, haptic [digital touch], text) meaning-making around everyday science phenomena. Practical implications lie in upskilling educators’ integration of semiotic resources such as robotic toys and deploying a multimodal creative inquiry approach for reconfiguring children’s science learning opportunities in early childhood educational practices.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalResearch in Science Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Children’s science meaning-making
  • Creative inquiry approach
  • Early childhood science
  • Multimodal semiotic resource
  • Vygotsky and Halliday integrated theoretical model

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