Today’s Digital Technologies input focussed on multimodality and how it can enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. We then looked at different ways to create multimodal texts, and in particular, explored the program called ActivInspire. As a cohort, we have learned about multimodality in our semester one module, Literacy for Understanding; however, time did not allow us to look at this in depth, we now have the opportunity to fully explore multimodality.
We learned that a text is considered multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems; there are five semiotic systems altogether: linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial. It is understandable that it is so important for teachers to fully understand multimodality, as we all know that children all have very different learning styles, and multimodality can cater to a wide range of them. Beauchamp (2012) states that multimodality “allows teachers to present an idea in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it”.
The curriculum displays the need for multimodality in the classroom, as the Literacy and English Principles and Practice document states that the “framework reflects the increased use of multimodal texts, digital communication, social networking and the other forms of electronic communication encountered by children and young people in their daily lives”. Beauchamp (2012) also goes on to say that “we must challenge the implicit assumption that speech and writing are always central and sufficient for learning.”
The reasons for using multimodality in the classroom are vast – presentations that include more than 2 semiotic systems tend to be: captivating, motivating, interactive, personalised, dynamic, memorable and engaging. Multimodality can be introduced into a classroom in many different ways: one of which being presentations on interactive boards. Prandstatter (2014) states that “touch displays can become a social learning tool encouraging hands-on experiences thereby helping children learn by doing.”
We focussed on a program called ActivInspire, which is very common in schools. It allows you to create interactive flip charts which bring lessons to life. There are two forms of ActivInspire: Primary and Studio. The former being more suitable for younger children with bright colours and enlarged, simple icons, with Studio being slightly more advanced and functional. ActivInspire has many features: adding annotations, highlighting texts, adding handwritten notes or drawings, inserting images or videos, creating shapes and designs, adding backgrounds etc.
We were tasked to work in pairs to create some ActivInspire flipchart slides to create an interactive lesson in a classroom. My peer and I chose to make a French lesson. The focus of the lesson was learning basic French colours. The slides included interactive activities for the children to complete such as drawing a line from the English to the French translation and unscrambling the letters to create the French word for certain colours. The idea being that this flipchart would assist in teaching the children, by getting them to be active in the lesson. Completing this task really made me understand how an interactive flipchart is so much more captivating for children, as opposed to regular PowerPoint presentations.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
YouTube ActivInspire series of support videos: