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Faculty/Staff Detail

Katie Silvestri, Literacy Department, led authorship on a journal article about multimodal positioning as seen in interactions between children and the designs they create in an after-school engineering club recently published in Multimodal Communication. Co-authors are Mary McVee, Christopher Jarmark, Lynn Shanahan and Kenneth English at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). The article features a case study and uses multimodal positioning analysis to determine and describe how a purposefully crafted emergent artifact influenced and manipulated social dynamics, structure, and positionings of one design team comprised of five third graders. In addition to social semiotic theories of multimodality and multimodal interactional analysis, Positioning Theory is used to examine group interactions with their constructed artifact, with observational data collected from audio, video, researcher field notes, analytic memos, photographs, student artifacts (e.g., drawn designs, built designs), and transcriptions of audio and video data. Analysis of interactions of the artifact as it unfolded demonstrates multiple types of role-based positioning with students (e.g., builder, helper, idea-sharer). Foregrounding analysis of the artifact, rather than the student participants, exposed students’ alignment or opposition with their groupmates during the project. This study contributes to multimodal and artifactual scholarship through a close examination of positions emergent across time through multimodal communicative actions and illustrates how perspectives on multimodality may be analytically combined with Positioning Theory.