Rose Colored Glasses

Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Eight Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

The term “multimodal” has a wide range of definitions in this posting we will explore three broad definitions — two provided in the narrative below and a third in the TED video at the end of this posting.

In “Contending with Terms,” Claire Lauer (2009) writes that multimodal was a term coined by the New London Group in 2000 in order to talk about how “communication is not limited to one mode” or “realized through one medium.” The transition from composition for a page on a page to the “more fluid medium of a screen” opens up a world of possibility, but also a wealth of new visual and textual (and auditory) design choices. (p. 227-28).

The abstract for the article “Helping Teachers to Explore Multimodal Texts” by Michelle Ansty and Geoff Bull (2010) for the journal Curriculum Leadership also offers a succinct definition of multimodal composition: “A text may be defined as multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems. There are five semiotic systems in total:

  • Linguistic: comprising aspects such as vocabulary, generic structure and the grammar of oral and written language;
  • Visual: comprising aspects such as color [sic], vectors and viewpoint in still and moving images;
  • Audio: comprising aspects such as volume, pitch and rhythm of music and sound effects;
  • Gestural: comprising aspects such as movement, speed and stillness in facial expression and body language;
  • Spatial: comprising aspects such as proximity, direction, position of layout and organization of objects in space.”

In the following TED video Dr. Belshaw discusses the importance of message design when creating multimodal messages.

Is Dr. Belshaw talking about one of the next evolutions in learning or a new trend in teaching?

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2012 by in Techniques.

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