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.