Thursday, November 13, 2014

Multimodality and Education

In the article Reading Images: Multimodality, Representation, and New Media, author Gunther Kress focuses on the changing forms of literacy and how we, as the designer of this literacy, need to focus on helping our audience make meaning of the text with the variety of media we use to represent our topic.  Gunther states that "the processes of making texts and reading texts are both processes of design" when technology is involved.  The texts are presented in a multimodal way, giving the reader the opportunity to make a decision for themselves about how they will make meaning from the information they are provided.

Given the rapidly changing modes of technology, the key question becomes "how to make my communication most effective in relation to this audience, here and now"?  Gunther gives us a variety of questions to consider in order to answer the previous:

  1. Which mode is best, most apt, for the content/meaning I wish to communicate?
  2. Which mode appeals to the audience whom I intend to address?
  3. Which mode most corresponds to my own interest at this point in shaping the message for communication?
  4. Which medium is preferred by my audience?  Or by me?
  5. How am I positioning myself if I choose this medium or this mode rather than those others?
Why Is This Important for Teachers?
As a teacher, these questions apply to learning in the classroom.  Technology is a great way to assess student learning.  It grabs the students attention by allowing them to interact with and summarize the learning material in a manner that is significant to them.  As we model making decisions to answer the above questions for our students through the assignments we give, our students become more capable of answering the questions for themselves.  This gives our students a strategy that will serve them not only in the classroom, but in whatever walk of life they choose.    

I had never heard of the term TPACK before doing some research for this blog, but it is this very idea of integrating learning with technology in order to make learning more meaningful for students.  Here is a brief overview:

Many are afraid to integrate technology into the classrooms or even allow it into their homes, considering it an evil that should definitely be avoided.  Some feel it hinders children's social skills, while others feel it takes away from time that could be better spent in the great outdoors.  I am convinced it is all about balance, like everything else in life.  I am convinced that our students would benefit immeasurably by teachers including technology in the classroom - it is the "language" the kids speak and we should use it to our advantage.  

I have a feeling views on technology will change with time.  After all, it was one of the best known philosophers who said that writing will "produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it" 

It was one of the greatest French writers who thought that the mass production of books would destroy the constructs of society; Hugo Victor's novel, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame is based on his quote "the book will kill the edifice."

Now, writing and books are the foundations of our education.  Those who think that technology will destroy the constructs of our society will see that it is becoming, and maybe already IS, the constructs of our globalized society today.

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