In the context of multiliteracy, the big question that I have been considering lately is: What does this mean for me as an educator in spaces where my job is to teach “conventional” literacy? How does a broader understanding of literacy as including things like financial, musical, digital, and mathematical literacies inform my ability to teach reading?
The concept of multiliteracies is undoubtedly valuable, but it was not immediately clear to me where it might fit in to my own teaching practice when I first learned about it. In English and Social Studies, the classic concept of literacy as reading and writing is still relevant, and these are still the “literacies” I will most often be teaching.
The graphic novel workshop was useful to me in terms of considering how teaching a basic concept like setting up a story can be taught in a visual way. It led me to consider how an approach like this would be useful in terms of supporting learners who might need additional visual components to comprehend a story. However, I’ve also seen firsthand how something like a graphic novel can be used to introduce advanced concepts through my own experiences studying “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale” and “V for Vendetta” in upper level university courses. My takeaway from this is that supporting literacy with a multimodal approach can be more than just a means to help those who struggle with the basics, it can be a means of enhancing the learning process for advanced students.
The recent workshop on technology integration models was also useful to me because it emphasized that a single concept can be taught in a number of different ways. In particular, the SAMR model demonstrated that the same learning task might be taught in a number of multimodal ways. For example, I might be able to support students in building their reading skills by integrating technology and visual or audio components. Alternatively, advanced literacy skills could be taught through more transformative technology. In my observation at Vic High today, I observed students working on a project where they had to create their own piece of dystopian fiction to demonstrate their understanding of the genre. They had the option to write a short story in conventional or graphic novel form, or to create a short film. This was an excellent example of how basic “conventional” literacy skills can be a learning objective in a lesson that also allows students to build visual or digital literacy skills.