About this web site

This web site is primarily to house the multimodal PhD dissertation Storyboard - Primary school students designing and making explanatory animations. It was completed through the University of Melbourne in 2015 and set a precedent for Multimodal Thesis and Dissertation (MTD) publication in the emerging area of digital scholarship. In addition to the abstract describing this thesis, the following 50-word summary was read at my graduation ceremony:

Brendan Jacobs investigated the conceptual consolidation of primary school children through their creation of explanatory animations. His research advanced our understanding of animation pedagogy and demonstrated how the children's mental models, as depicted through their animation key frames and storyboards, functioned as both flexible models and diagnostic tools.

Publications and conferences

Jacobs, B. (2024). Digital scholarship in education: Multimodality as a window into learning. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003449324

Jacobs, B. (2023, October). Introducing Provisional Multimodal Research (PMR): Constructionist principles at the methodological level. FabLearn/Constructionism biennial conference. Teachers College, Columbia University.

Jacobs, B. (2023). The spiral curriculum revisited. Linking Research to the Practice of Education, 7(1), 6-7. https://bit.ly/SoEresearchnews

Jacobs, B. (2022). Improving primary STEM education by integrating the Australian Curriculum. Curriculum Perspectives, 42, 135-143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-022-00163-x

Jacobs, B. (2021). A transdisciplinary protocol for digital scholarship. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 36(1),115-221. https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqz087

Cripps Clark, J., Jacobs, B., & MacCallum, J. (2020). Solidarity and community: Collaborative learning in times of crisis. Human Arenas, 4(4), 607-615. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-020-00152-4

Jacobs, B. (2020, 3 August). Children as content creators: 'Learning by doing' during the pandemic using technology. Australian Association of Research in Education [Blog]. https://www.aare.edu.au/blog/?p=5561

Jacobs, B. (2020, 15 April). Kids could become 'Content creators' as part of authentic learning push. CQUniNEWS [Online newsletter]. https://tinyurl.com/y8laopen

Jacobs, B. (2020, 19 March). Online learning has its time in the Sun, as unis cope with COVID-19. CQUniNEWS [Online newsletter]. https://tinyurl.com/tb2fqdu

Jacobs, B. (2020). Explanatory animations in the classroom: Student-authored animations as digital pedagogy. Springer.

Jacobs, B. (2019, December). A transdisciplinary protocol for digital scholarship. Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Annual Conference. Queensland University of Technology.

Jacobs, B., & Usher, A. (2018). Proximity as a window into the zone of proximal development. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal, 9(1), 2856-2863. https://doi.org/10.20533/licej.2040.2589.2018.0376

Jacobs, B., & Cripps Clark, J. (2018). Create to critique - Explanatory animation as conceptual consolidation. Teaching Science, 64(1), 26-36.

Jacobs, B. (2018, December). The future of digital scholarship. Melbourne Polytechnic 2018 Teaching and Learning Conference. Melbourne Polytechnic.

Jacobs, B. (2018, December). Designing assessment tasks using the twin concepts in Vygotsky’s cultural-historical psychology. Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Annual Conference. The University of Sydney.

Jacobs, B. (2018, September). In search of the multimodal thesis. In Eighth Annual Conference of the United States Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association (USETDA). Denver. http://www.brendanpauljacobs.com/Jacobs 2018.pdf

Jacobs, B., Wright, S., & Reynolds, N. (2017). Reevaluating the concrete - Explanatory animation creation as a digital catalyst for cross-modal cognition. Mind, Culture and Activity, 24(4), 297-310. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2017.1294181

Jacobs, B., & Usher, A. (2017, December). Co-constructing learning in the early years using project-based learning. In London International Conference on Education (LICE): 2017 Conference Proceedings (pp. 466-469). The University of Cambridge.

Jacobs, B., & Robin, B. (2016). Animating best practice. Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11(3), 263-283. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746847716662554

Jacobs, B. (2015). Storyboard - Primary school children designing and making explanatory animations [Doctoral dissertation]. The University of Melbourne.https://brendanpauljacobs.com/

Jacobs, B. (2013). Implementing a QUAL-qual methodology using a prism metaphor for the CHAT triangle. Presented at the Contemporary Approaches to Research in Mathematics, Science, Health and Environmental Education Methodology Symposium. Deakin University.

Jacobs, B. (2013). Storyboard: Primary school children designing and making explanatory animations. Presented at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education Graduate Research Conference. The University of Melbourne.

Jacobs, B. (2007). Animating best practice [Master of Education thesis]. Monash University. https://brendanpauljacobs.com/abpindex.html

TEDx Townsville 2020




I live in Uralla, was born in Sydney, grew up in Canberra, and spent most of my life in Melbourne. My wife is a Houstonian but we are now empty nesters as our children are all adults. We enjoy taking our dogs Sam (Spoodle) and Tex (Labradoodle) for walks in the neighbourhood.

Australian OpenAustralian Open


I am an Associate Professor and Head of Department (STEM Education) at the University of New England.  My research interests are in STEM education, explanatory animation creation, conceptual consolidation and digital scholarship.

Before entering academia I worked as a primary school teacher for 17 years. During this time I staged seven whole-school productions and six film festivals at some of Australia's largest theatres; namely the Astor Theatre, National Theatre, Palais Theatre and Village Cinemas.

My interest in multimodality began many years ago when I wrote some content to help people learn to play musical instruments. My first release was enable Bass (1999-2017) which was revised and updated for many years. This content is now available for free as part of this site. Simply click on the icon below or go to http://www.brendanpauljacobs.com/bass/index.html

enable Bass

Likewise, enable Guitar (2006-2017) can be accessed at http://www.brendanpauljacobs.com/guitar/index.html

enable Guitar

Contact details


Orchid ID


Orchid ID

My current research is called The SILO project – Integrating STEM education in primary schools.  This research has a dedicated website at https://silo.edu.au/.

Main menu