Understanding what multimodalities means in the classroom can be both simplistic and complex in nature. At the core of multimodalities is the option for students to produce work in a variety of modes. The complexity lies in “combining linguistic, visual, auditory, gestural or spatial modes” to express the meaning the student wishes others to understand (Mills, p. 106). A similar idea is mirrored by Paziuk (2013) in understanding that educators need “to appeal to students of all backgrounds, [and] consider auditory, visual, and kinesthetic models or ‘texts’ for understanding the concepts and theories they hope to convey” ( p.1).
In a society where instant gratification is necessary to many, we need find ways to keep our students engaged and interested in their learning; providing an opportunity to show understanding through a variety of modes and via choice could be the way to increasing student engagement levels.
There is still; however, hesitation about the use of technology in the classroom. Current research “has distilled a number of concerns about the digital/ pedagogy nexus. This includes: (i) a lack of clarity about the benefits of expensive technology, (ii) the underutilization of technologies in classrooms and (iii) confusions over whether the main goal of education is improved performance in formal assessment or greater human capacity more broadly understood” (Tan & McWilliam, p. 1). Even the smallest integration of technology or other modes of sharing learning could be of benefit to students.
Assessment of multimodalities could stand in the way of some educators using more than one mode of expression in any given subject area. It also lends itself to forgo any form of traditional type of teaching practice in the classroom
Mills, K. (2009). Multiliteracies: Interrogating competing discourses. Language and Education, 23(2), 103-116.
Paziuk, G. (2013). “Communicating with Multimodalities,” Teaching Innovation Projects, 3(1), 1-11.
Tan, J. P-L, & McWilliam, E. (2009). From literacy to multiliteracies: Diverse learners and pedagogical practice. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 4(3), 213-225.