The notion of Multimodality (Kress, 1997, 2010) refers to how we can integrate multiple modes (understood as semiotic resources) such as written words, images, colors, sounds, etc., to create more complex messages with richer meanings than what one would achieve using one mode.
The main consideration when creating multimodal messages, then, relates to what kind of messages we want to create and what sense of meaning and intention we bring to their design. If one doesn't keep in mind the intention and sense of meaning as precursors to the actual design, one may have messages with multiple modes, yet they might not be truly multimodal.
Why should teachers consider using/designing multimodal texts in their classrooms?
One of the reasons to include multimodal texts in our classrooms lies right in front of us: our students. Kress (1997) argued that children's ways of constructing text is, in fact, multimodal from the outset. Children integrate modes, their messages are synaesthetic by nature, and they see the world as the multimodal text it really is.
But enough of me. I'll let some of my students remind you again what multimodality is and why you should make that part of your curriculum. I'll share with you some of the videos and Prezi presentations from some of my students:
Prezi by Jennifer Betancur & Camila Giraldo (Semester 1, 2014)
Prezi by Daniel Ramírez (Semester 2, 2014)
Prezi by Brayan Rojas (Semester 2, 2014)
Video by Kelly Salazar (Semester 1, 2014)
Video by María Camila Mejía-Vélez (Semester 2, 2014)
Video by Danielle Eisenheim [aka Daniela Mesa] (Semester 2, 2014)
Multimodality in second language education I: Profiling literacies in today's classrooms
As I mentioned elsewhere on this site, I am a literacy research professor at my university. For my class, I have students design multimodal texts to describe how they are revisiting literacy in their workplaces in light of the class readings and discussions. Their essays are available both on the course blog and on YouTube.
Multimodality in second language education II: Multimodal Response Papers
It is my belief that if you provide students with a challenge that's both enticing and challenging, they will find ways to step up to the challenge. My students in Communicative Competence V (Semesters 1 and 2, 2014) developed multimodal response papers. They used different media to post their messages: Most of them used YouTube; a few used Prezi or SlideShare (I have placed some examples of these presentations on the Slam Poetry page).
While I believe all the responses were absolutely well done, there's one in particular that deserves extra praise: Four students learned the hard way never to pitch an idea that's insane enough for me to say, "Make it happen." (It's because of them that I actually instituted "Rule #5"!) They suggested going Glee on the assignment and create a musical response paper. See for yourselves what they did. I think it's a really nice example of what multimodality looks like.
Multimodality in second language education III: Philosophy of Teaching Statement
In the first semester of 2014, I taught a preservice methods course titled Content Area Conditions & Nature. For the capstone project, they had to profile their early philosophy of teaching statement. They relied on YouTube, Prezi, websites, and blogs as tools. The results show interesting examples of how young teachers develop their identities and prepare themselves to face their craft in the future:
Multimodality in second language education IV: 2014 Symposium
On August 8, 2014, a group of four students and the good doctor held a symposium at the 5th International Seminar of Professional Development of Foreign Language Teachers at Universidad de Antioquia. The symposium titled "MULTIMODALITY AS REFLEXIVITY ON LITERACY AND TEACHING: EXAMPLES FROM UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE TEACHER EDUCATION" summarized some of the experiences that I have shared on this page. Below you will find the links to all the Prezi presentations (just click on the pictures):
For more information about multimodality, I suggest a few points of departure: