Making meanings about school learning during the pandemic: The experiences of students in a Greek primary school

stella painting

FRIDAY 17 July 2020

13:00-14:30 GMT+1          Online session via Microsoft Teams

How has the experience of the lockdown during the pandemic shaped the students’ meaning making about learning in and out of school? How has the digital learning environment impacted on students’ designs for learning?

The recent changes in communication and social interaction within primary schools in Greece have been the prompt for a research project on students’ viewpoints about what seems to be “new” and “normal” at school after the lockdown experience due to the pandemic.

In her recent project, Dr Styliani Karatza, from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, investigates how the pandemic has affected schools, teachers, and students, especially in terms of communication, teaching, learning and technologies used.

Further to a prolonged closure, primary schools in Greece reopened for a period of four weeks of teaching regulated by specific safety guidelines for communication within the learning environment of school.  Dr Karatza initiated a research project in her role as a primary school educator interested in the experience of students in this new communication landscape. The research design involved classroom observations, student questionnaires and in-class focus-group discussions as well as drawings made by students.  

In this session, Dr Karatza applies a multimodal social semiotic perspective to the analysis of student drawings, attending to how students have represented their learning experience at school and home.  This analysis is further contextualized by ethnographic observations and contextual information from the student questionnaires.  The session raises questions about the context specific understandings of teaching and learning in virtual spaces and school classrooms.

About the speaker

Stella Karatza

Dr Styliani Karatza is an Adjunct Lecturer of the Faculty of English Language and Literature of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She is an experienced teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Greek primary schools. Her research interests include multimodality, social semiotics, SFL, multimodal discourse analysis, language teaching, testing and assessment. She has worked as a collaborator of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project EU-MADE4LL, European multimodal and digital education for language learning, appointed by the University of Leeds, UK, for the production of the Common Framework of Reference for Intercultural Digital Literacies (CFRIDiL 2019).



The session will run on the following Microsoft Teams link, which is accessible after registration:

If you have a UCL account, please send an invitation to this Microsoft Team well in advance of the session. All non- UCL participants will need to register through the following google form up to a day before the session to enable them access to the link above:

Please kindly check that you have access to the group well in advance of the session. For any technical difficulties, please e-mail us at

About the Forum

The Visual and Multimodal Forum is one of the outreach and teaching activities of the UCL Centre for Multimodal Research. It a hub for researchers across the world who are interested in multimodality. It aims to provide a platform for dialogue and collaboration for advancing visual and multimodal research across disciplines, with a particular emphasis on communication and learning.


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