chapter  2
24 Pages

Multimedia Semiotics: Genres for Science Education and Scientific Literacy

The acquisition of advanced literacy is a social process of enculturation into the values and practices of some specialist community. In the case of scientific liter­ acy this is the community of professional scientists, and their literate practices are normally conducted in multimedia genres where meanings are made by inte­ grating the semiotic resources of language, mathematics, and a variety of visual-graphical presentations. I consider here the nature and extent of the multimedia literacy demands of (1) the advanced secondary-school curriculum in science, (2) the multimedia genres of traditional scientific print publication, and (3) the internet-based multimedia genres that professional scientists are de­ veloping to communicate with one another and to the public. A survey of these three domains of scientific literacy can provide a useful foundation for defining both the goals of advanced literacy in science and measures of proficiency in this globally significant literacy.