MultiLEAP is a multidisciplinary researcher community examining the uses, practices and modes of multiliteracies emerging at the interfaces of the contexts of education, free time and working life with particular emphasis on access, participation, equity, agency, and well-being.
A multidisciplinary research community examining 21st century skills across the life span
The multidisciplinary research community of MultiLEAP focuses on examining the uses, practices and modes of multiliteracies emerging at the interfaces of the contexts of education, free time and working life with particular emphasis on access, participation, equity, agency, and well-being. Multiliteracies is used as an umbrella term to cover the wide array of skills needed in the mediatized and digitalized world of the 21st century.
The aim of MultiLEAP is to strengthen research on multiliteracies in JYU by promoting multidisciplinary dialogue, increasing collaboration across units, and enhancing the professional development of staff.
As a profiling area, MultiLEAP strengthens the research in JYU’s core fields learning, teaching and the learning and growth environments that support development; languages, culture and communities in global change processes; and information technology and the human in the knowledge society.
MultiLEAP extends the concept of traditional literacy to multiliteracies, which captures the multiple means and modalities of communication and the growing significance of cultural and linguistic diversity. Literacy is a basic prerequisite for full participation in society and for success in working life as well as for learning across contexts and life span. All domains of life (education, professional life, societal and leisure time activities) are, however, increasingly multilingual and multimodal and thus flexible and constantly developing competences are required from citizens.
Although the skills of reading and writing form a necessary underlying basis, they alone are insufficient in dealing with the increasingly complex and rapidly changing learning and working environments. A multiliterate person is able to actively engage in professional and societal activities by skillfully employing both their mother tongue(s), additional languages, different modalities and technological resources, and to combine textual, oral, visual, audio, gestural, tactile and spatial resources. It is thus evident that multiliteracies play a key role in learning, social and societal belonging, professional agency, and in individuals’ capacity to participate in society.
The specific research focus in this profiling area is on expertise building across the life span in different domains of life and on participation in mediatized and digitalized society. Multiliteracies is a theme that connects research on
(1) language as multilingual and multimodal means of meaning making,
(2) reading literacy as a basic prerequisite for active citizenship, and
(3) societal changes such as digitalization, media and gaming as forces drastically shaping all domains of life.
This combination is nationally and internationally unique and takes research on multiliteracies beyond education to all spheres of life and across the whole lifespan. The community includes researchers from wide array of disciplines such as applied language studies, media studies, communication studies, social sciences, education, and game culture studies.
MultiLEAP Focus areas
Focus area 1: Multiliteracies in expertise building
This focus area examines the role of multiliteracies in expertise construction and how this takes place across the lifespan and in different domains of life. Researchers examine both the multiliteracy competences and multiliteracy practices across the domains as well as learning these competences and practices in both informal and formal settings. When studying the different domains of life, special attention is paid to the contact points between domains and on how the skills, competences and practices are related to issues of access, agency and societal participation.
Firstly, with a focus on the educational domain, the researchers aim at identifying and describing the multimodal and multilingual competences and resources that education provides, identifying gaps and finding solutions to improve educational practices so that individuals will gain multiliteracy competences that meet the demands of current day societies. Secondly, the focus is on individuals with difficulties in multiliteracies and on developing support mechanisms across the levels of education. Thirdly, research attends to the multimodal and multilingual practices that are achieved through leisure time activities and to how these build expertise and, most importantly, how they connect with practices in education and work-life settings.
Focus area 2: Multiliteracies in civic engagement and community involvement
This focus area investigates the kinds of multiliteracies that are required to gain access to relevant knowledge and information to participate in current day mediatized society. The focus is on the ways in which multiliteracies enhance civic engagement and community involvement by empowerment, self-expression and critical thinking.
Digital services and (social) media environments create both opportunities and challenges in different domains of life. Firstly, the use of public services is increasingly web-based (e.g. social and health care appointments and records, employment and education services). Secondly, media consumption and social interaction in both local and translocal communities increasingly takes place in social media, and thirdly, discussions on equality and human rights now mainly take place in virtual environments. The researchers focus on the whole lifespan with a special emphasis on the young “net-generation”, elderly people, and low-literate adult immigrants.