“The young person who watches digital TV, downloads MP3 music onto a personal player, checks e-mail on a personal organiser and sends symbolised messages to a mobile phone of a friend will not be satisfied with a 500-word revision guide for [HSC] physics.” Abbot, 2003
Researchers contend… [e.g.Kress (2003); Bearne (2003); Unsworth (2001); Callow & Zammitt (2002)] Language-based pedagogy is no longer sufficient for literacy practices needed. Students need ‘multiple literacy practices’ or ‘multiliteracies’. Theories of reading have been drawn from the reading of monomodal or print-based texts.
Heath (2000) Neurobiological changes are occurring as a result of new modes of communication. “Better theories of learning are embedded in video games than many children in primary and secondary schools ever experience in the classroom.” (Gee, 2003) “ … encourage children to be more critical, constructive & reflective.” “Computer games require concentration, forward planning, lateral thinking & sustained problem solving” (Johnson).
Theory of Multimodality … (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001; Kress et al, 2001; Kress, 2003) emerged from attempts to conceptualise changed learning & literacy practices [visual literacy, technoliteracy, e-literacy, digital/silicon literacy, multiliteracies.] communication occurs through different but synchronous modes: language, print, images, graphics, movement, gesture, texture, music, sound.
Multimodal texts -2 or more modes READING Picture books and information texts Talking books CDRom narratives and factual texts E-books Web-sites, web search, web quests, book raps Games, DVDs Emails, discussion boards. PRODUCING Emails, discussion boards Slide shows [KidPix/ power point] Digital photos Digital videos, i-movies Video editing E-books Web sites / home page SMS messaging
Multimodal Learning Environments Incorporate a range of tasks that require a constant interchange with others and with texts using the modes of speech, print, image, movement, gesture and sound.
‘Multimodal Learning and Literacy Project’ 2004 – ACU, CEO Sydney & CEO Parramatta Purpose: to examine how students read and interact with visual and multimodal texts in different curriculum areas, and to examine what types of learning and or literacy are apparent in students' interactions with such texts.
14 Teachers developed a range of tasks with multimodal texts, K-8 Students [majority ESL] worked in small groups Used one or more multimodal text [web site, CD Rom, picture book, information text, DVD] Tasks integrated different curriculum areas Sequence of tasks were developed over several lessons. These frequently resulted in a …
1) Year 2 – Picture Book and CD Rom Chn listened to the ‘words’ /print of the story ‘Grandma and Me’ Drew their own illustrations of the story. Read the CD Rom version. Played the CD Rom game. Discussed with teacher the differences between the print / CDRom story. Video clip
2) What were these children learning? Prediction, visualisation, decoding, making meaning - shared talk with teacher – produced own visual text Read & responded to CD Rom – shared together – auditory/ visual/ gestural / kinaesthetic responses Compared features of book with CD Rom – metatextual awareness/metacognition
3) Yr 3 – Web Quest & Power Point Pairs of Ss completed web quest on Gallipoli & Anzac Day – questions from T as guide. Collated findings into an information report then into Power Point. Presented to whole class. Answered questions/comments from class members about their learning/process. Video clip
What were these children learning? Understanding the historical and geographical events of Gallipoli. Insights into the culture of Anzac Day. Search skills, reading & interpreting questions, following links, locating & synthesising information. Developing power point – organising information in own words, technical & production skills Oral presentation skills & responses, peer support
4) Yrs 3-4 – Visual literacy Ts used Gorilla, to develop Ss background knowledge of visual codes, Groups applied to range of picture books [e.g. An Ordinary Day], Advertisements from local paper, 1 st Harry Potter film. Ss used digital cameras to compose photos applying visual codes. Ss participated in Book Raps with other schools – activities e.g. dramatisation, photos, p/point, survey, journal responses
What were these children learning? Visual codes [angles, framing, colour, demands/offers/salience etc] – how they construct meaning. + metalanguage. Application & articulation of this knowledge to other texts/products. Peer collaboration, reflective learning, creative engagement, critical awareness, critical literacy – deep learning evident. Online communication & learning.
5) Yr 4 – Scaffolded Web Quest Ss in mixed ability groups research 2 Aust animals using websites/information books Whole class retrieval chart provided as scaffold – Ss recorded information. Ts provided continual scaffolding of knowledge, skills & language. Ss compared & contrasted 2 animals from chart. Synthesised into concept map. Produced information report on powerpoint. Video clip
What were these children learning? Science content re animals, content vocabulary & language. Technology skills of searching/navigating – locating, comprehending, synthesising & recording main facts. S talking was to process learning – peer support. Oral – written knowledge: from websites to retrieval chart to powerpoint - developed through T. scaffolding
Other examples Year 8 Secondary students evaluated web quests and developed home pages. [For further Secondary egs see Beavis 2002] Year 6 class – digital videoing, i-movies and video editing with Secondary boys. Year 6 – developed animation in advertisements Year 6 – developed products using Inspiration software.
Findings – Literacy Decoding not an apparent problem – in some cases Ss read aloud to help each other. [Coding practice] Comprehension developed as Ss were motivated to find information – collaborated. [Semantic practice] – Many found recording information ‘in own words’ the most difficult. Only some instances of critical practice. Metalanguage of visual grammar / digital codes assisted Ss literacy & learning. Literacy embedded within integrated, purposeful tasks.
Findings - Learning Talking enhanced Ss learning as they talked through the process of the tasks and their understanding of the texts and curriculum content. Peer support and collaborative learning occurred. Evidence of problem solving, reflective thinking, metacognition, deep learning, creative thinking. Ss’ articulation of their learning- revealing.
Implications Multimodal learning environments can provide stimulating engagement in learning and literacy when… tasks are carefully planned in a logical, coherent sequence, integrated with curriculum content and skills, and Ss are able to respond to and use different modes of communication.
“What’s our children’s working environment going to be like in the future? Will it look like their gaming life, where they’re checking 5 emails while having a conversation, while moving through these virtual worlds, or is it going to look like reading a book? If we’re going to train kids for that future, we probably need environments that are going to reflect what it’s really going to be like”. (Johnson, in SMH 3 June 2005)
Survey of 350 students Majority read books, particularly novels – did not find reading difficult or boring. Larger nos of students either watched TV, played digital games than read ‘in their spare time’. Majority enjoyed using the internet in their spare time and ‘never’ found it boring - commented that they did not have trouble navigating it and did not need help from older people. Larger no of students said they found it easier to read on a screen than printed page. Internet use was dependent on access at home. Older students used emails more frequently than younger students.