Multimodalities in the Classroom

Multi modalities are at the forefront of education in today’s 21st century classroom. Teaching and learning encompass many modalities: speech, gaze, gestures, body language, writing. When technology is added to the classroom, the multimodal aspects are heightened. Pre-classroom education preparation and experiences have changed for students. Most students have exposure to electronics such as computers, tablets, and video games prior to entering school. Students are now expected to come ready to learn computer literacy, or have some background knowledge of it, much like kindergarten students practice their alphabet before entering school. In the English Language Arts classroom, literacy is now multimodal and is redefined with the introduction of computers and tablets into the classroom. The introduction of technology has provided new opportunities for students to work in their preferred learning modality. This touches in both cognitive and effective domains and allows for greater individualized student growth, achievement, and more student-specific assessment. The move to a digitally influenced classroom changes the nature of education and because of this shift, multimodality in the classroom has become more necessary than ever before.

Multimodal Literacy is evident in my English Language Arts classroom on a daily basis. As a Google school with Chromebooks, I have recreated my curriculum to pull in multimodal experiences with nearly every topic students encounter. This supports new models of student learning as students are often the expert in the classroom, integrating their technology skills and aptitudes for technology. Students share their knowledge with one another as they collaborate on classwork and projects using Google Applications for Education (GAFE). They use the Chromebooks to complete quizzes on Socrative and they play review games on Kahoot, both which allow for greater peer interactivity. Students participate in Socratic seminars via video chats with students from other school districts, which globalizes their experiential educational interactions. Multimodal literacy is changing how content is published in the ELA classroom as students create digital video PSA’s using their written persuasive essays, and they turn book talks about their required readings into movie trailers. They also take narratives, crafted from drafting to revision and create, edit, and publish multimodal narratives. These multimodal narratives use videos, graphics, music, written phrases, and take into consideration design, content, and auditory selection, in order to create a piece that reflects the mood and ideas students are trying to express.

Multimodal experiences heighten student motivation as they insist that students invest in the learning process as they create and share their work. Lifelong learning is now more applicable than ever as the multimodal skills students hone are highly transferable to the workforce. It seems that education, with the coupling of multimodal experiences, has begun to answer the relevancy question, “When am I ever going to use this?” The answer in today’s technology based society, is every single day in the workplace, at home, with your children, in continuing education. In the new era of digitized education, schools now offer students preparation for the technological world that awaits them beyond school doors.

About Emily Clemons

English teacher|District Tech Staff|Speech Coach|Fusing technology with lifelong learning|EDM:EPOL,LDL:TSE|Mom to 3 techies

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