A SOCIAL SEMIOTIC PERSPECTIVE ON DIGITAL MOBILITY
- Multimodality, genre, literacy, meaning-making, design
Adopting a social semiotic perspective onto digital mobility, i.e., reframing it in terms of socio-cultural changes in sign-making practices rather than defined by technological innovation, the paper identifies key features of the digital landscape, namely 1. user-generated contents and contexts, 2. multimodality, 3. mobility of media, modes, genres, participant roles,platforms and domains, 4. individualization and fragmentation, and 5. reuse. Analysis of their affordances and consequent sign-making practices enables the identification of today’s priorities in media education (conceived of as education to, through and with media). These deal with new/renewed foregrounded/backgrounded abilities when notions of competence and literacy seem hardly applicable to the current needs in the combined use of media, modes and genres. As an example of application in formal education, the paper discusses a higher education experimental joint-course – held in the academic year 2014/2015 in four classes at the universities of Firenze, Messina, Pescara, and Roma-Tor Vergata, Italy – that aims to integrate abilities of design/production and analysis/evaluation of multimodal digital textualities in the current curriculum of English for cross-cultural communication.