Structuring and Scaffolding Learners’ Verbal-and-Visual Thinking

By Yukari Makino and Elizabeth Hartnell-Young.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In attempting to understand how learners might be supported in developing their multiliteracies, the authors reflected on the educational activity of creating visual products with technology from the perspectives of structuring and scaffolding. This paper presents a case study of two sets of activities that were implemented among university students in Japan. In the preliminary study, the students used a theoretical tool for creating visual products with the help of structures, but scaffolding by the teacher was spontaneous. In the main study, on the other hand, while the students used the same theoretical structure, the scaffolding by the teacher was systematic. According to the analyses of the data collected during the implementation and from the subsequent focus group interview, the learners were able to demonstrate the process of integrating the abstract concept of verbal thinking and the concrete images of visual thinking through the given theoretical structure. Furthermore, the teacher’s systematic scaffolding was found to have supported this process effectively. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that theoretical structuring facilitates learners’ verbal-and-visual thinking; and systematic scaffolding by a teacher reinforces the process of harmonization between verbal and visual modes.

Keywords: Multiliteracies, Verbal Thinking, Visual Thinking, Theoretical Tool, Scaffolding, Technology

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp.549-564. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.283MB).

Dr. Yukari Makino

Associate Professor, Faculty of Informatics, Kansai University, Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan

Yukari Makino is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Informatics in the Kansai University in Japan. She teaches communication theories, communication education and media, and development of teaching and learning. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the Shizuoka University (Japan) in 1991; her Master’s degree in Communication from the Wheaton College Graduate School (USA) in 1996; and her PhD in Literature from the Kansai University Graduate School (Japan) in 2006. She worked as a Systems Engineer for three years between 1991 and 1994. Her research interests include theoretical development of communication competence, design of collaborative learning for multiliteracies, and development of story-based curriculum.

Dr. Elizabeth Hartnell-Young

Group Manager, Research Branch, Research and Innovation, The University of Nottingham, UK

Elizabeth Hartnell-Young is Group Manager, Research Branch, in the Office for Policy, Research and Innovation in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria. She is also an honorary fellow in the Faculty of Education at The University of Melbourne. In recent years, she has conducted projects exploring the social and educational aspects of using mobile technologies in Australia and the UK.


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