Animation and the remediation of school physics–a social semiotic approach

Yufei He*, Theo van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper opens by proposing a model for the holistic study of design software that emphasises user operations. It then examines the affordances of Explain Everything, a popular interactive whiteboard software, for animating concepts that play a crucial role in the Australian Year 7–10 physics curriculum. Building on earlier work on animation by Leão [(2012a). “Movement in Film Titles: An Analytical Approach.” Unpublished PhD, University of Technology, Sydney], the meaning-making resources of animation, in general, are presented as a stratified system (of choices), which is then deployed to explore the animation operations that Explain Everything facilitates. It is found that Explain Everything can animate some of the Year 7–10 physics concepts but has limitations with respect to others and is not able to realise all the options which the animation system generalises. In this way, the paper seeks to contribute to the growing body of social semiotic studies of multimodal semiotic technologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)665-684
Publication statusPublished - 19. Oct 2020


  • Animation
  • physics
  • semiotic technology
  • social semiotics

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