Multimodality – Week 3

This week we were looking at multimodal technologies and how they can be used in a classroom setting. For something to be described as multimodal it must contain two or more semiotic systems. In total there are five semiotic systems:

  • Linguistic
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Gestural
  • Spatial

With children now entering our education as “Digital Natives” (Prensky, 2001)there has been an emphasis on newer styles of texts, as it states in Curriculum for Excellence:

“The Literacy and English 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.”(Curriculum for Excellence – Literacy and English Principles and Practice paper)

 The piece of technology we looked at this week was called ActivInspire. ActivInspire is a multimodal programme which helps to brighten lessons as it allows students to interact and work together on the classroom interactive whiteboards. The programme offers many features, for example adding drawings, highlighting texts and tools to use for demonstrations, for example a clock.

The version of the programme that we were using was the primary version which meant some options were limited however, we still had many functions to explore. Working in partners we took around an hour to explore and see how many different functions we could discover. As my partner and I had never used this programme before we took great advantage of exploring what features Active Inspire had to offer.

For our activity we were to work in pairs to display how active inspire can enhance a lesson. My partner and I decided to focus on maths and numeracy. The experience and outcome we chose was:

I have investigated how different combinations of coins and notes can be used to pay for goods or be given in change.

MNU 1-09b

We started off by adding a coloured background to make the overall look more appealing and eye catching. In our first flipchart we included a title and the learning intention to inform the children on what they would be learning in the lesson. To ensure that all the writing was clear we used yellow font on a blue background to stand out.

After we had introduced the lesson, we used one of the features that allowed us to add in pictures of coins that could be moved around for interaction. For each question we added a new slide. An example of a question can be seen below. The children would then have to drag the coins to the other side to show what coins would be needed or what change a person would receive.

Before starting the workshop, I thought that the programme looked simple and easy to use as I had seen many teachers use it whilst out on placement however, I soon discovered my initial thought was wrong. The programme was difficult to navigate as my partner and I had never used it before, and we were not sure where to find the different tools. This meant it was quite time consuming to find tools and then find them later if needed. Furthermore, you could not copy a full slide across to the next page, so you had to go through the process for every page you created. This displays the need for an educator to have a firm understanding of technologies like the Scottish Government wants (Education Scotland, 2016). Beauchamp states that:

“The ability of ICT to present ideas in a variety of ways can help to structure new experiences but only if you as the teacher have sufficient understanding on the area yourself.” (Beauchamp, 2012, p.100)

This once again highlights that multimodal technologies, like ActivInspire, can be a fantastic way of introducing new concepts to children, but also the fact that if our educators aren’t secure enough with the technology the lesson may not be fulfilling and reach the intended outcome.

Although the programme is a little time consuming there are many advantages to using Active Inspire. The programme offers many pre-made flipcharts meaning that teachers can use them without taking extra time to create their own. Also, the flipcharts can be highly interactive allowing the children to engage in the work more as it is not the traditional way of learning. The interactive aspect also focuses children for longer as they are actively involved in the learning and can be introduced to new challenges after each page, meaning they are constantly being challenged.

Overall I really enjoyed working with ActivInpsire and feel it could be a useful skill to have for placements in the coming years.



  • Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.
  • Curriculum for Excellence – Literacy and English Principles and Practice paper
  • Prensky, M. (2001)Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants[Online] Available:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf[Accessed 24 January 2019]
  • Scottish Government. (2016) Enhancing Learning And Teaching Through The Use of Digital Technology: A Digital Learning And Teaching Strategy For Scotland.Edinburgh: Scottish Government


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