Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Conceptual Strategy Families > Appropriation > Literature Note - Approrpriation

What we are terming appropriation focuses on two potentially separable, but closely related kinds of skills: the ability to sythesize information from a source with prior knowledge and transform textual content into something of one's own, and the ability to deal with information in a variety of modalities—oral, print, visual, and multimedia—and integrate it into a coherent mental model. As Leu et al. (2008) pointed out, this kind of active integration and synthesis is far more typical with online media than with traditional print, where use of multiple texts, or use of audiovisual materials (other than illustrations), is much less characteristic (see also Grabe & Grabe 1998,). While illustrations exemplify the use of multiple channels of communication to make information more accessible and memorable (cf., Anglin, Vaez, & Cunningham, 2008; Kozma, 1991; Levie & Lentz, 1982; Levin & Lesgold, 1978, Levin & Mayer, 1993; Shallert, 1980), the more general issue is the ability to relate pieces of information that come in through very different channels and combine them into a single rich, coherent representaton.

Evidence suggests that students learn more effectively if they are encouraged to take this kind of active approach to comprehension (Walsh 2006), but there is also a risk that multimedia presentation of information can lead to lessened comprehension if the relative ease or salience of visual information leads to shallower processing (Chun & Plass, 1996, 1997). The essential skill to be learned is synthesis of information leading to transfer; the essential strategies are those that actively transform information to integrate it with prior knowledge (Huffaker & Calvert, 2003; Prawat, 1989).

Anglin, G. J., Vaez, H., & Cunningham, K. L. (2004). Visual representations and learning: The role of static and animated graphics. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed., pp. 865−916). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Chun, D. M., & Plass, J. L. (1996). Facilitating reading comprehension with multimedia. System, 24(4), 503-519.

Chun, D. M., & Plass, J. L. (1997). Research on text comprehension in multimedia environments. Language Learning and Technology, 1(1), 60-81.

Grabe, M., & Grabe, C. (1998). Integrating technology for meaningful learning. Boston, MA: Houghton & Mifflin.

Huffaker, D. A., & Calvert, S. L. (2003). The new science of learning: Active learning, metacognition, and transfer learning in e-learning applications. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 29(3), 325-334.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 179-211.

Leu, D. J., Coiro, J., Castek, J., Hartman, D. K., Henry, L. A., & Reinking, D. (2008). Research on instruction and assessment in the new literacies of online reading comprehension. In C. C. Block, L. M. Morrow, & S. R. Parris (Eds.), Comprehension instruction: Research-based best practices (pp. 321-346). New York, NY: Guilford.

Levie, W. H., & Lentz, R. (1982). Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 30(4), 195-232.

Levin, J. R., & Lesgold, A. M. (1978). On pictures in prose. Educational Technology Research and Development, 26(3), 233-243.

Levin, J. R., & Mayer, R. E. (1993). Understanding illustrations in text. In B. K. Britton, A. Woodward, & M. R. Binkley (Eds.), Learning from textbooks: Theory and practice (pp. 95-114). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Prawat, R. S. (1989). Promoting access to knowledge, strategy and disposition in students: A research synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 59(1), 1-41.

Schallert, D. L. (1980). The role of illustrations in reading comprehension. In B. Spiro & W. F. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension (pp. 503–523). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Walsh, M. (2006). Literacy and learning with multimodal texts: Classroom glimpses. Synergy, 4(1), 43-49.

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