A recent MODE introductory training course included a workshop on analysing video which we designed so as to work through the process of ‘noticing’, identifying hypothesis and questions, detailed description, hypothesis testing and refining. This process stayed as close to the data as possible, grounding and exploring ideas through the data. We watched a short clip of video of children working with an interactive light table to explore science concepts. We viewed it in stages:
- Collected up general points and ideas;
- we moved through the video with attention to posture and position;
- gesture and manipulation, and gaze;
- orchestration of all these modes.
Position: we explored where people were, what they were orientated to, what their position made it easy or difficult to do. We looked for gross shifts and minor changes , and triggers for those changes, and stillness and sameness. We asked how position effected interaction, roles, rhythm and pace. We asked what all that might mean for learning.
Posture: we looked at the ways the children’s bodies seemed connected or disconnected in the space around the table, their leaning in, learning out, mirroring and so on.
Gesture: we asked who was gesturing, at what, when, in what ways – and the effects of these on the interaction, we looked at manipulations of objects and explored the difference between gesture and manipulation, and the ways the children created overlays of imagined plans, and hypothesis through gesture .
Gaze: we examined the length of gaze, direction, focus, shared or individual, and notions of fluctuating and stable gaze.
Talk: when did the children talk, or stop talking, how much talk was there, who was talking and what about, was it short or extended, shared, what was its affect.
Orchestration: we noted all modes were tied to position – where to look, point of view, access to objects on the table and so on. We explored clashes and interferences, coordination, turn taking, pace and rhythm, mirroring, fragmentation, the role of structure. We examined which modes coordinated across the activity and which did not – sometimes talk and manipulation were coordinated other times not. We explored what kinds of multimodal action flows or dialogues were present.
In this way we generated a rich layered preliminary account of the video data and generated a whole range of questions drawing on our different interests and knowledge. Hopefully this brief account shows something of how we used a multimodal analytical gaze to open up the date to scrutiny.