Multimodal multiliteracy

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  • 1. Multiliteracies Complex Simplicity By Sheri Leeder EDUC 5436 October 11, 2013
  • 2. From Literacy to Multiliteracies  Singular literacy implies an autonomous skill set but has been pluralized as multiliteracies to allow for the consideration of historical, social and cultural differences.  Multiliteracies go beyond standard writing and speaking to include nonlinguistic representations and ways of communicating that include, but are not limited to the use of technology. (adapted from Jewitt, 2008)  While it may appear that this pluralization necessitates major changes for today’s teachers, slight changes to traditional teaching combined with a genuine interest in the students’ interests and abilities may be all that are needed to embrace a multiliteracies approach.
  • 3. Communication and Literacies  Whether you consider communication from a behaviourist, cognitive or humanistic perspective, learning to communicate comes naturally.  Even the earliest cries and coos of a new born baby carry meaning.  Becoming literate, on the other hand, has traditionally been understood as the ability to read and write. While some societies such as Yoruba in South Africa, never did embrace such a narrow view (Thompson, p. 12), today’s technological developments are helping us see that even reading and writing are not isolated skills.  Communication, on paper, on screen, or by any medium, may actually be far more complex than we realize.
  • 4. Teaching New Literacies  In order for students to internalize new learning (through overt instruction) teachings must, at least in part, be connected to something a student already knows about (situated practice).  One of the key elements of a multiliteracies approach is that students are able to realize new abilities and freedoms through a critical framing perspective.
  • 5. The Multiliterate Learner  As complex beings with emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual needs and strengths, the need to balance a variety of strategies and techniques is essential.  What is required is, a comprehensive approach…[that] acknowledges the importance of both forms (phonemic awareness, phonics, mechanics, etc.) and function (comprehension, purpose, meaning) of the literacy processes and recognizes that learning occurs most effectively in a whole-partwhole context. (Morrow & Dougherty, 2007, p. 9)
  • 6. All Kinds of Minds  To help teachers better understand the complexities of each learner, Mel Levine, author of A Mind at a Time, has identified over 70 different areas in which students can display strengths or weaknesses:        Attention Control (which consists of 17 subskills) Memory System (which consists of 3 subskills) Language System (which consists of 6 subskills) Motor System (which consists of 5 subskills) Higher Thinking System (which consists of 26 subskills) Sequential and Spacial Ordering Systems (which consists of 5 subskills) Social Thinking System (which consists of 10 subskills).
  • 7. The Learning System  Combining Levine’s approach with current research, an examination of various learning therapy programs, and my own experiences as a resource teacher, I have created my own interpretation of the learning system.  The map I have created is my artifact. Each area of learning, I think, is intricately involved in literacy development, especially in light of the pluralization of literacy toward a multiliteracies approach.  Feel free to explore the different branches of the map, and then click the star in the lower right corner to continue the presentation.
  • 8. * Click on the small stars to learn how each component relates to literacy and the new multiliteracies approach. * When you are finished exploring these links, click this star to continue the presentation:
  • 9. Seeing  Vision is one way we perceive input. Skills such as visual acuity, visual tracking and visual discrimination can all impact a students’ literacy development.  In terms of multiliteracies, teachers must be cognisant of the need for students to be able to visually navigate and take in the elements of visual modes of communication. For example, “[t]he structure of many digital texts opens up options about where to start reading a text—what reading path to take” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 259). Back to Map
  • 10. Hearing  Auditory acuity and perception is one way receive input. Not being able to hear instructions or distinguish between sounds in a word can have a tremendous impact on one’s literacy development.  With respect to multiliteracies in particular, even everyday speech is, “intrinsically multimodal…. Spoken language is closely associated with the audio mode in the use of intonation, inflection, pitch, tempo and pause” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, p. 179). Back to Map
  • 11. Smell/Taste  Despite ongoing neuropsychological research into the relationship between our olfactory senses and learning (Verbeek, van Campen & Cretien, 2013), I don’t think smell and taste have received much attention as of yet in the field of education. Back to Map
  • 12. Touch/Feel  In order to benefit from the spacial, gestural and tactile modalities of learning students must be able to receive the appropriate proprioceptive and vestibular inputs (awareness of their position, orientation, movement and balance). Back to Map
  • 13. Short term Memory  In order to be able to manipulate or think about something, the mind must be able to hold onto what is being perceived long enough to make any sense of it. Otherwise our perceptions are, as the expression goes, going in one ear and out the other.  Any mode of communication requires being able to remember what you would like to communicate or what someone else is sharing/has communicated during an exchange. Back to Map
  • 14. Visual Memory  One reason the multimodal approach to literacy is essential is because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. For some students, being able to engage with a visual representation may make learning and/or literacy development easier.  From a multiliteracies perspective, the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” has never rung so true. Back to Map
  • 15. Kinesthetic Memory  One reason the multimodal literacies approach is essential is because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. From basic kinesthetic learning styles to concentrated Brain Gym activities, movement has long been associated with greater brain activity and enhanced memory ability. (Kaplan et al., 2012)  From a multiliteracies perspective, movements such as gestures and body language are important modes of communicating. Back to Map
  • 16. Auditory Memory  One reason multimodality is essential is because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. For some students, being able to sequentially and spatially grasp sounds can provide greater opportunities for receiving and responding to audio representations of meaning.  Jewitt references van Leeuwen’s (1999) work on the materiality of the resources of sound (e.g., pitch, volume, breathing, rhythm, and so on) in explaining new potentials within multiliteracies (Jewitt, p. 246). Back to Map
  • 17. Working Memory  Working memory, as Levine explains, is the ability to, “retain the beginning of an explanation while listening to the rest of it…[and] hold multiple immediate plans and intentions” (2002, p. 100).  Research continues to show, “high working memory capacity students are very good at acquiring, processing and integrating all types of new information before moving it to storage (Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota 2007) and are thus very capable learners” (Kyndt, Cascallar & Dochy, 2011, p. 293)” Back to Map
  • 18. Long term Memory  In order to engage in the creating and reconsidering of ideas, long term memory is essential. In order to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct meaning within multiliteracies, learners need to be able to efficiently and effectively file and retrieve layers of ideas, experiences and ways of thinking. Back to Map
  • 19. Manipulating Ideas and Thoughts  Put simply, this is our thinking ability.  Some people prefer making sense of things in a linear way while others engage in more divergent or dynamic ways, all of which involve an ability to make sense of things through our own individual experiences.  “Consequently, any given mode is contingent on fluid and dynamic resources of meaning” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 247). Back to Map
  • 20. Linear Thinking  Linear thinking is similar to what Mel Levine calls, “rule-guided thinking” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 207). This type of thinking is typically taught through overt instruction. It includes being able to do things like multiplication or long division.  The idea of checking your thinking can be interpreted as a type of a linear critical thinking step in which the learner checks their answer against the rule or pattern that they have learned.  The false concept of common sense is also included in this area of thinking. Unfortunately, when an idea or thought is checked against one’s social and cultural experiences, a common sense exists only among those within your social or cultural community making the inclusion of a more global perspective key to the multiliteracies approach. Back to Map
  • 21. DynamicThinking  This area of the learning and/or literacy process could be considered conceptualizing.  The great question: Where do our thoughts come from?  Dynamic thinking is very much realized within multiliteracies in several ways. For one, following hyperlinks and creating our own paths of thought are a materialization of our dynamic thinking. Back to Map
  • 22. Experience: Funds of Knowledge  The thinking process is unequivocately linked to our experiences.  Regardless of the nature versus nurture debate, a learner’s funds of knowledge makes a tremendous impact within multiliteracies.  “The ways in which people use language and make sense is inextricably linked to the beliefs and values of particular communities and the sense of self” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 260). Back to Map
  • 23. Selecting Meanings  In the process of thinking, I believe students must assign value to ideas and make choices about which to select and which to disregard. I think this is where the concept of semiotics, or the construction of meaning happens. In the process of “matching…target knowledges with particular modal affordances,” meanings are made and remade (designed)… when students engage with them for the purposes of making their own meanings in lesson practices….Learning increasingly involves students in working across different sites of expression, negotiating and creating new flexible spaces for planning, thinking, hypothesizing, testing, designing, and realizing ideas….In such a view, students need to learn how to recognize what is salient in a complex multimodal text, how to read across the modal elements in a textbook or IWB, how to move from the representation of a phenomenon in an animation to a static image or written paragraph, and how to navigate through the multiple paths of a text. (Jewitt, 2008, pp. 258-9) Back to Map
  • 24. Responding  From a Special education perspective, methods and abilities to respond can often dependent on balance, strength, such as having the fine motor skills to use a pencil or mouse or the large motor skills to simply wave hello.  From a multiliteracies approach, far more modes of expression can be encouraged and taught.  Further, the multiliteracies view presents the idea that through the process of representing meanings, this “redesigning” can transform the world and the person. (Cope & Kalantzis, p. 10) Back to Map
  • 25. Multimodalities of multiliteracies, I In light recognize the manyhave added this to my map to explicitly expressive modes beyond alphabetic print or speech and behavioural materializations of learning. For example, “a digital novel can be a multimodal configuration of music and songs, voices, sketches, maps and photographs, video clips, and written prose” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 259). Back to Map
  • 26. Written Response  Traditional focus of school literacy and dominant mode of evaluating learning in school.  However according to Boulter (1999), “the representational and communicational environment is changing in highly significant ways that can be described as a shift from print as the primary medium of dissemination toward digital media” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 243). Back to Map
  • 27. Verbal Response  Traditional modality of literacy included in the oral strand of The Ontario Curriculum and realized through activities in school from play-based learning through to formal presentations in class.  However, in light of muliliteracies, speech is considered to have only limited “affordances” or possibilities because “sounds of speech occur in time, and this temporal context and location shape what can be subsequently done with (speech) sounds” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 247). Back to Map
  • 28. Behavioural Response  Gestural, spacial and physical expressions, particularly kinaesthesia, physical contact expressions could be considered behavioral modes of response.  According to Cope & Kalantzis, tactile Representations within multiliteracies includes, “touch, smell and taste, the representation to oneself of bodily sensations and feelings or representations to others which ‘touch’ them bodily” (2009, pp. 12-13). Back to Map
  • 29. Phonemes  While Cope & Kalantzis (2009) acknowledge that “[t]here’s something in sound-to-letter correspondence” (p. 16), a multiliteracies perspective argues that there is, “not enough to warrant its fetishisation by the back-to-basics people as one of the keys to literacy” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 247).  However, “all modes, including the linguistic modes of writing and speech, contribute to the construction of meaning in different ways” (Jewitt, p. 247). Back to Map
  • 30. Morphemes  While Cope & Kalantzis (2009) acknowledge that “There’s something in sound-to-letter correspondence” (p. 16), a multiliteracies perspective argues that there is, “not enough to warrant its fetishisation by the back-to-basics people as one of the keys to literacy” (Jewitt, 2008, p. 247).  However, “all modes, including the linguistic modes of writing and speech, contribute to the construction of meaning in different ways” (Jewitt, p. 247). Back to Map
  • 31. Syntax  Syntax is the arrangement of words in a sentence but in a multliteracies context, as cited by Cope and Kalantzis (2009), Action expressed by verbs in sentences may be expressed by vectors in images. Locative prepositions in language are like foregrounding or backgrounding in images. Comparatives in language are like sizing and placement in images. The given and the new of English clause structures are like left/right placement in images (in the cultures of left to right, viewing, at least), and the real/ideal in language is like top/down placement in images (Kress, 2000b; Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996). (p. 13) Back to Map
  • 32. Semantics - Written  Written semantics are the meanings expressed through written symbols.  In the context of mulitiliteracies, this goes beyond traditional texts to include newer technologies such as wikis, blogs, texts, etc. Back to Map
  • 33. Metalinguistics  In the context of multiliteracies, it may be even more important to provide overt instruction regarding the metalinguistics of different languages and cultures whether this be written, oral, or any other mode of communication. Back to Map
  • 34. Oral Syntax  Difficulties with written syntax can sometimes indicate underlying oral syntax difficulties. I can still remember being taught grammar by being told to read both sentences and choose which one sounds better but for those with oral syntax difficulty, “We are running” and “We running” may sound equally viable.  Oral syntax is extremely important for success in traditional written and spoken communications, but possibly less significant when communicating in other modes. Back to Map
  • 35. Oral Semantics  Oral semantics are the meanings expressed through verbal communication.  Oral semantics are remarkably tied to the multimodality of literacy, learning and communication.  In resource, breaking tasks down into simpler tasks has been done in terms of oral semantics by using robots to help autistic children learn better communication and social skills. What an excellent example of using new methods and modes to improve literacy skills. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm3vE7YFsGM Back to Map
  • 36. Metalinguistics  In the context of multiliteracies, it may be even more important to provide overt instruction regarding the metalinguistics of different languages and cultures whether this be written, oral, or any mode of communication. Back to Map
  • 37. Environment  This area of the learning system is really only a reinforcement of the significance experience as it relates to social and physical awareness of one’s surroundings and audiences in shaping one’s response. Back to Map
  • 38. Emotional Awareness  This area is the metalinguistics of facial expression, body language and social context.  This impacts the ability to respond or express and communicate effectively.  From a special education perspective, just as phonics can be taught explicitly, emotional awareness also has a linear component which can be explicitly taught especially for children who are diagnosed with autism. Back to Map
  • 39. Complexity of Multiliteracies  As so eloquently summed by Cope and Kalantzis, the parallellism within the pedagogy of mulitliteracies, means that the starting point for meaning in one mode may be a way of extending one’s representational repertoire by shifting from favoured modes to less comfortable ones. If the words don’t make sense, the diagram might, and then the words start to make sense. But the incommensurability of modes works pedagogically, too. The words make sense because the picture conveys meaning that words could never (quite or in a completely satisfactorily way) do. Conscious mode switching makes for more powerful learning. (2009, p. 14)  This can also mean the difference, for some learners, between learning and not learning. Could the simple act of sharing a story possibly encompass all of this?
  • 40. Multiliteracies and Storytime  The following video of a kindergarten class engaged in Robert Munch’s book, Love you Forever, combined with the lesson plan link for a follow up computer drawing activity constitute, what I believe, to be a traditional approach which encompasses the essence of the multiliteracies pedagogy. VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST59_-2ysFc LESSON PLAN: http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~mwnyutu/paintlesson.html
  • 41. Reading and Listening  As the children joined with the teacher in a choral reading of repetitious words and phrases many of the learning/literacy processes are engaged as illustrated below.
  • 42. Viewing and Speaking  As the children shared about what they were seeing and hearing the following learning/literacy processes seem also to be being developed and enhanced.
  • 43. Representing and Writing  As the children imitate the teacher’s gestures, respond to her body language and gaze, and are provided with the opportunity to share their responses to the story in picture and word, the richness of the simple act of reading a storybook as multiliterate, multimodal experience is realized.
  • 44. Complex Simplicity  No matter your approach – skills, or experiential – learning and literacy happens as we interact and engage with with each other in both traditional and more modern multimodal ways. In doing so, a plethora of opportunities are realized within the multiliteracies perspective.
  • 45. References AldebaranRobotics. (2013, April 29). Robots teach communication to kids with autism. [Youtube video] Retrieved October 18, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm3vE7YFsGM Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2009). Multiliteracies: New literacies, new learning. Pedagogies: An International Journal. 4, pp. 164-195. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from http://newlearningonline.com/~newlearn/wpcontent/blogs.dir/35/files/2009/03/M-litsPaper13Apr08.pdf Jewitt, C. (2008). Multimodality and Literacy in School Classrooms. Review of Research in Education 2008. 32(241) Retrieved October 19 2013 from http://rre.sagepub.com/cgi/content/full/32/1/241 Kaplan R., Doeller C.F., Barnes G.R., Litvak V., Düzel E., Bandettini P.A., Burgess N. (2012). Movement-related theta rhythm in humans: coordinating self-directed hippocampal learning. PLos Biol, 10(2). Retrieved October 18, 2013 from http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1342967/1/1342967.pdf Kyndt, E., Cascallar, E., Dochy, F. (2011, December 6). Individual differences in working memory capacity and attention, and their relationship with students’ approaches to learning. Higher Education. 64, pp. 285-297. doi: 10.1007/s10734-011-9493-0
  • 46. References Levine, M. A Mind at a Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. 2002. Lynch, J. (2011). A Obsevational Study of Print Literacy in Canadian Preschool Classrooms. Early Childhood Educational Journal. 38, pp. 329-338. Morrow, L. M. & Doughterty, S. (2011, Spring/Summer). Early Literacy Development: Merging Perspectives That Influence Practice. Journal of Reading Education. 36(3). Nyutu, M., Learning With Technology & Literature Lesson Plan. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~mwnyutu/paintlesson.html Traxler, K.. (2013, February 24). I’ll love you forever – Kindergarten Music Class [Youtube video] Retrieved October 18, 2013 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST59_-2ysFc Verbeek, C. & van Campen, C. (2013, July). Inhaling Memories: Smell and taste memories in art, science and practice. Bloomsbury Journals. 8(2), pp. 133-148.