The Institute for Research on Digital Literacies
The Institute for Research on Digital Literacies

Is a picture worth a thousand words? What can lifelogging tell us about media of communication?

January 20, 2015 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
1014 TEL Building, York University

Lifelogging is the name given to the practice of wearing a tiny camera that takes pictures at automatic intervals to capture unedited life in progress. The wearable camera used for lifelogging is intended for dynamic journalling of private life moments. These pictorial lifelogging data can also provide the researcher with rich information on communication interfaces. The intention of collecting and analyzing such data is to support an evolving framework describing new communicative competencies.

This workshop introduces the concept of communicative competence used widely in second language teaching and testing, and links what are outlined as linguistic communication skills to the technologies fundamentally employed in processing communication. I briefly outline how epistemological conceptions of communication skills have not kept apace the technical capabilities of communications media, and while quotidian communication practices have rapidly evolved, language professionals’ notions of fundamental communicative competencies have not (for the most part).

The presentation invites participants to contribute ideas on how to analyze lifelogging data to document complex and interacting communication interfaces. I will provide participants with contact sheets of lifelogging pictures taken by a teacher, researcher or student continuously monitored over a period of time. Photographs capture the context of day-to-day communication; specifically, the layering of media through which we communicate in quotidian life. Your ideas on the interactional and meditational data pictures reveal on how we communicate with each other, and how researchers interested in digital mediation, and multimodality might analyze this information, are warmly welcomed. Light refreshments will be served.

Please rsvp to


Heather Lotherington

Dr Heather Lotherington is Professor of Multilingual Education at York University, where she is appointed to graduate schools in both the Faculty of Education, and the Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (LAPS). She is an applied linguist who has taught in universities in England, Germany, Fiji, and Australia as well as Canada. Her current research focuses on framing digital communicative competencies, which are intended to inform language teaching and testing. This research was inspired by collaborative action research to develop dynamic multimodal literacies pedagogies in elementary school, which succeeded well in the classroom but were not recognized in consequential out-dated assessment instruments. Contiguous with this research is an investigation of how literacies in the post-human spectrum can be applied to language learning. Professor Lotherington’s most recent book is: Pedagogy of multiliteracies: Rewriting Goldilocks (Routledge, 2011).


Download the Presentation Slides Here.