Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 6. July 2020 Pp. 140-156
Beyond Language Classes: Semiotic Practices in PowerPoint Slideshows in Pharmaceutical
Noura A. Alghamdi
English Language Institute, University of Jeddah
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has attracted considerable attention lately due to our increasing reliance on technology in education. This article contributes to educational research on CALL by considering the semiotic practices that surround PowerPoint slideshows. The article examines how a year-five female undergraduate in pharmacy designs her PowerPoint slideshow to represent and communicate knowledge in an English-mediated literacy event, i.e. pharmaceutical seminar presentations. While language plays an essential role in engagement in this event, the article seeks to highlight the role that visuals and writing plays in PowerPoint slideshows to help the presenter represent and communicate different aspects of meaning which reflect what she considers to be important for a successful engagement in a professional presentation. The investigation is carried out through a qualitative case study, using a social account of literacy and a social semiotic multimodal approach to meaning making. Though this investigation is not carried within a traditional language class, it is used to highlight some of the issues that can help inform language education by drawing attention to the potential benefits that lie in exploring situated practices of meaning making in different professional and academic settings.
Keywords: CALL, social semiotics, multimodality, literacy, qualitative research
Cite as: Alghamdi, N. A. (2020). Beyond Language Classes: Semiotic Practices in PowerPoint Slideshows in Pharmaceutical English-Mediated Presentations. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (6). 140-156.
Barton, D. (1994). An introduction to the ecology of written language. Oxford: Blackwell.
Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (1998). Local literacies: Reading and writing in one community. London: Routledge.
Bax, S. (2003). CALL—past, present and future. System, 31, 13-28.
Beatty, K. (2003). Teaching and researching computer-assisted language learning. New York: Longman.
Bezemer, J., & Kress, G. (2008). Writing in multimodal texts: A social semiotic account of designs for learning. Written Communication, 25, 166-195. doi:10.1177/0741088307313177
Bezemer, J., & Kress, G. (2015). Multimodality, learning and communication: A social semiotic frame. Abingdon: Routledge.
Graff, H. J. (1995). The Labyrinths of Literacy: Reflections of Literacy Past and Present. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Hardy, J. A., & Friginal, E. (2016). Genre variation in student writing: A multi-dimensional analysis. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 22, 119-131. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2016.03.002
Heller, M. (2008). Doing Ethnography. In L. Wei & M. G. Moyer (Eds.), The Blackwell guide to research methods in bilingualism and multilingualism. Malden: MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Jewitt, C. (2009a). An introduction to multimodality. In C. Jewitt (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of multimodal analysis (pp. 14-27). London: Routledge.
Knowles, L. (2004). The evolution of CALL. Journal of Communication and Education, www.languagemagazine.com Retrieved Feburary 25, 2020, from https://diyarbakir.meb.gov.tr/meb_iys_dosyalar/2017_05/05112806_Tgtheory.pdf
Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the media age. New York: Routledge.
Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A Social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.
Kress, G. (2011). ‘Partnerships in research’: Multimodality and ethnography. Qualitative research, 11(3), 239-260. doi:10.1177/1468794111399836
Morell, T. (2015). International conference paper presentations: A multimodal analysis to determine effectiveness. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 137-150. doi:10.1016/j.esp.2014.10.002
Morton, J. (2016). ‘Adjacent worlds’: An analysis of a genre at the intersection of academic and professional communities. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 22, 54-63. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2016.01.003
Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation (2nd ed.). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Norton, B., & Toohey, K. (2011). Identity, language learning and social change. Language Teaching, 44(4), 412-446. doi:https://doi-org.ezproxy.lancs.ac.uk/10.1017/S0261444811000309
Parkinson, J. (2013). English for science and technology. In B. Paltridge & S. Starfield (Eds.), The handbook of English for specific purposes (pp. 155-173). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Preece, S. (2018). Identity work in the academic writing classroom: Where gender meets social class. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 32, 9-20. doi:10.1016/j.jeap.2018.03.004
Street, B. V. (1993). Introduction. In B. V. Street (Ed.), Cross-cultural approaches to literacy (pp. 1-24). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Underwood, J. H. (1984). Linguistics, Computers and the Language Teacher: A Communicative Approach. Newbury House: Rowley, Mass.
Van Leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. New York: Routledge.
Van Leeuwen, Theo. (2008). New forms of writing, New visual competencies. Visual Studies 23(2). 130–135.
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization, 7, 225-246. doi:10.1177/135050840072002
Zhao, S., Djonov, E., & Van Leeuwen, T. (2014). Understanding semiotic technology in university classrooms: A social semiotic approach to PowerPoint-assisted cultural studies lectures, Classroom Discourse, 5(1), 71-90. doi:10.1080/19463014.2013.859848
Zhao, S., Djonov, E., & Van Leeuwen, T. (2014). Semiotic technology and practice: A multimodal social semiotic approach to PowerPoint. Text & Talk, 34(3), 349-375. doi:10.1515/text-2014-0005