Authored assemblages in a digital world: Illustrations of a child’s online social, critical and semiotic meaning-making

Drawing on case illustrations of a six-year-old child as he ‘assembles’ a digital world using Webkinz™, this paper proposes an approach that researchers and educators might use to understand, analyse and critique multimodality. This multidisciplinary theoretical framework integrates new literacies, social semiotics and critical literacy perspectives. Data were collected during a broader three-week case study via a side-shadowing interview technique (McClay and Mackey, 2009), where the first author sat next to the child, making detailed research notes, interviewing him and taking screenshots of his digital productions. The findings suggest that authorship is rarely linear as authors continually remix, layer, embed and inter-animate semiotic resources as they assemble their sociocultural worlds and critical positions within these worlds.