Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy

Committee Chair/Advisor

Reinking, David

Committee Member

Alvermann, Donna

Committee Member

Deaton, Cynthia

Committee Member

Herro, Danielle

Committee Member

Kaminski, Rebecca


This dissertation study addresses the New London Group’s (1996) concern that technology and globalization require an expanded concept of literacy that focuses upon the multimodal nature of communication. This study combined a formative experiment with multiple-case-study methods to understand the pedagogical implications of implementing an intervention based upon the multiliteracies perspective (New London Group, 1996), a perspective that remains theoretical in application. This study sought to implement this perspective in a ninth- and a tenth-grade English class in a rural school district and develop assertions that further the localized, pedagogical understanding and application of the present study’s intervention (Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2006; Reigeluth & Frick, 1999). In this formative experiment, an intervention was implemented in which students constructed arguments including claims, evidence, and elaboration of evidence; used digital tools suitable for producing digital, multimodal arguments; and utilized a process approach to writing. The goal of this intervention was to improve the quality of conventional and digital, multimodal arguments. Overall, there was qualitative evidence that this intervention improved the students’ digital, multimodal arguments and expanded their knowledge and concept of argument. The students believed their knowledge of multimodal arguments would transfer to their more conventional writing of argument. However, the quantitative results provided no evidence that there was such transfer. This study provides seven theoretical assertions and recommendations for teaching practice and future research that may guide future iterations of similar interventions. Keywords: argument, multimodality, multiliteracies, digital tools

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