A blog for the Second Language Literacies course from the MA in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages (ML2) at UPB-Medellín
Multiliteracies and Multimodalities in our classroom
Day by day students go to school to learn and it is usual for them to use technologies to create and design, and they use their minds in the job to improve on the passions and interest they have, and the school should be a tool to help them to discover what kind of people they are and what are their interests to produce good ideas and make good proposals.
Each day the school is a way to learn and to comprehend what do the students want and what are their strengths as students, students nowadays have the advantage to share their ideas and interests through social nets and have the possibility to get in touch with people that have their same tastes, who share information and form some kind of clubs ,so ,are the teachers who help them to use these resources to transform something simple in better, and the most important what is the purpose that each one have in the creation of something. “In today´s classrooms, educators must be prepared to work with how messages are sent, received, and interpreted as well as media and technology position us as viewers and users of multimedia texts in the world”. Alberts &Harste (2007)
In the case of English ,it is not the same to learn it as we used to, just going to the library to investigate about one topic or looking for the meaning of one word in a spanish english dictionary ,or having a conversation with our classmates who had the same english level that us,with any oportunity to share with people from other countries or cultures,so, are multiliteracies and multimodalities the oportunity for students to create, investigate and propose as faster as they can ,no as a competence ,but also working on their own rithm ,and they have many resouces to improve pronuntiation ,comunicative skills ,and not less important to learn directly from native people through the advantages that technologies give them.
Students nowadays have a different behaviour when they get in touch with people from different cultures ,comparing with the shy behavior that most of the students had years ago ,because of the lack of real and current information about how was the world running. And the classroom is a good space to learn why each work can be helpful to get meaningful experiences of senses and to know and have a different perspective of the world,according to Greene (1995;2001)Education is a process of enabling a person to become different breaking with the taken for granted,what is normal and natural and looking trough the lenses of various ways of knowing,seeing and feeling in a conscious endeavor to change the perspective of the world.
And is this part of new literacies that call my attention because even most of the students of my school do not have the opportunity to go abroad ,they have the perspective of the way the world is running,they have many good ideas that can compete with the ideas of students from other
countries and they feel comfortable when for any reason they get in touch with a foreing person, understanding the cultural differences and having the skill to adapt them each other in he environment and in the behaviour.
The relationship betweeen the skills developed in class and the reality in which students apply the ideas they propose, serve them to be a different person and to understand what is the real concept of the world they had, and how it have been changing; the lack of resources does not mean students can not go ahead. At jose acevedo y gomez school a public institution located in guayabal neighboorhood where most of the students who asist there belong to stratus 1 and 2 , have a lot of students who are going beyond. In cience class of nineth grade the teacher began a robotica proyect where students began reading,aquiring information and observing examples,and the class became so interesting for most of the students because teacher used a lot of images in the process to get information,and stablished formats to begin to design their own proyects.
Acording to Gee,2007;jewitt and cress,2003. Video games, websites,expository texts, magazines,textbooks,advertisements,picture books,and graphic novels require students to simultaneosly process written text,visual images,and elements of design to construct meaning.
according to the science teacher students began to work with picture books, after reading and investigate in internet and read robotical articles ,students spent much time giving ideas and proposing models. when the ideas were finally accepted, they began to construct their robots, so there were a clasification and the most creative projects participated in a contest created by secretaria de educacion. Finally five selected students are going to travel next April 30th 2014,to New México to show their projects, that kind of activities show a process in a multimodality class in my school that can help our students to have a different perspective of the world and be different citizens.
As teachers, we know we should have strategies depending of our purposes with the students, but we also know that is important to develop in them the comprehension in written texts, which take them to the understanding of multimodal texts. “Multimodal texts are more complex than text that use written language as the primary semiotic resource” ( kress 2003;kress & van leeuween,2001). “Written text and visual images are governed by distinct logics. That is, written text is governed by the logic of time of temporal sequence, whereas visual images are governed by spatiality, composition and simultaneity” (kress,2003).
In technology classes at José Acevedo y Gómez school, the purpose the teacher has, is students be creative but taking into account they are having a reading process in Spanish class, but in his class he gives time to students to understand what they see, what they interpret and what ideas they have based on what they see; he says he teaches to the students their ideas are going to be represented by images in internet, and for that reason they take time organizing and producing.
What Multimodality Classes are for us at José Acevedo y Gómez?
May be if you go to my school and ask some teachers, what does a multimodal class mean? , they do not have the words to explain it, or may be the answer is going to be, “my classes are not multimodal”, but observing some practices and asking some questions, we realize media technic with emphasis in multimedia and technologies and, we have an agreement with SENA , and we make our students an active part of the social development of the neighborhood and make them aware of the needs and advantages of their space, and we help them to be aware how life develops around them, watching our practices, we can say, most of us teach many times to our students in a multimodal way.
Juan Antonio Sanchez| I.E. José Acevedo Gómez students, in Guayabal, understand that freedom and autonomy make them integral human beings. They do not interpret is as a “passport” a la vagrancy. 83 companies of Antioquia work with the fundation Empresarios por la Educación, in 125 schools in the region.
Image of Jose Acevedo y Gómez taken from el colombiano.com
Garbage collector The tunnel
Images of the students of the IE José Acevedo y Gómez taken from the blog quiero a mi barrio. Blog spot. Natural science project in the institution.
Write the goals you think achieve from your academic subject (thechnologies) with the external practices.
Teachers at José Acevedo y Gómez school have been implementing reading strategies to help their students to be more successful in their comprehension and trying to help them to be proactive and interpretative, to reach this state in the reading world they have to learn to understand meanings and engage each part of the reading to a purpose, take ideas from the readings that are going to help them to be independent in their concepts, and this is a big step to be creative.
To have own concepts is a starting point to develop own ideas and create, and teachers at my institution are working on it. For instance multimedias´teacher is creating a project with students of eleventh grade who, he considers, already have a mental development and have the capability to do a meaningful work that take them to a higher condition to communicate, create and participate in a competitive world with meaningful creations, which ones have a purpose, ones to give messages to other people, and other ones that become basic ideas in very significant works.
The project consists in create a digital table game ,this is going to be the final job at the end of the year, that is going to be presented to some judges who are multimedia teachers at SENA. Students have been investigating what is the purpose of a table game, what purpose do a creator of mental games have,what competences want they as creators that a player have to play this game, it means, the table game has some characteristics that pretend develop in the player certain abilities, so to create a table game they have to look for information, examples, propose ideas, and sometimes those projects are based on trial and error.
After students finish their job ,they are going to create a code that permit players or people interested in this game to download it, or to open it in advices as cellphones, tablets and others, this code permit copy and run some extra activities attached to the table game.
Examples of some codes.
Constructing meanings is one of the goals of this activity; the developing of metalanguage to create is a process that comes from a basic language, this basic language and the metalanguage help students to develop a concept and a meaningful job. “ video games
,websites, expository texts, magazines, text books, advertisements, picture books, and graphic novels, require students to simultaneously written text, visual images and elements of design to construct meaning” (Gee,2007;& Kress 2003).
Students had a process through junior high school and high school, learning many things about communicative process through internet and the development of tools to understand how a media advice works, learning metalanguage, learning art, learning to design, learn how the technology world has advanced, and getting bases to develop and create, not only in multimedia classes, but also in arts and Spanish and other classes.
It is necessary to clarify the process because as Gee and Kress say nowadays literacies are related to visual images and elements of design to construct meaning, and is in this case where students propose the creations and designs to other people and see the digital world from other side, not from the side of the consumer, but also from the side of the producer, who also has an intention, and also has a perspective of the world to know what, where, why and when to produce.
May be because our emphasis in technology, for most of our students is easier to communicate ideas by visual mode and sometimes when they have expositions is to easy prepare material by media ways, written communication is harder for them, and they obtain and package the resources they need from the net, and they make elements fit easily, while with the written language spend much time organizing thoughts.
Although we have interesting projects and we implement many activities that students should connect to their project life ,we know there is a lot to do , and it is important to investigate, because I said at the beginning of this paper in my school teachers have multimodal practices into the classroom ,but they do not know, if we acquire the respective information and if we are aware of what are we doing ,we can go further, teacher sometimes get stocked in some practices ,because need a kind of guide to continue, we know we are following a good way in our practices and in our purposes, but we need to implement a connection between the student in the last year in high school and the project they have when they finish.
Students in school have learning experiences ,and are critical and creative, but only those who had a real learning process can get an interconnection between what they do inside the school with what they do when they finish their educative process in high school, it would be a real good experience to achieve that the projects they elaborate into the school, and the skills they develop become in a reality when they are exposed to be citizens, and in which they must demonstrate that they are prepared to walk at the speed that this required from them.
We feel proud of the practices and activities that we have and develop every day in our school, we try to help them to be autonomous without the exigency of a uniform, without real grades that just are symbolic, because finally is the student who decides which grades he /her deserve with written arguments and without a book or a controlling tab, or any other written instrument to control behavior or discipline, so they learn through the dialogue or learned codes they understand ,and we know that this works because when they go outside with the
teachers to visit some places or to an extra academic activity their behavior is good and they follow the rules as the students from other institutions.
But we think that is missing a connection with the world without teachers and in which they have to make decisions ,although some of them are prepared to participate in contexts with their jobs ,are prepared to show what they do ,and developed skills that make them feel confident to go to face a competitive world after high school ,some of them do not have a real project life and do not have any idea what are they going to do , and that is the reason which I say that teachers should be aware that is not only create concepts and have teaching practices where students produce a meaningful work, it is also to go further in their projects of life.
Some teachers in school would like to implement creative programs that engage students in a process, because a monotonous pedagogy, that does not mean anything to the students, obtain the same results from them, teacher that not give meanings to their practices, do not obtain any good answer from their students, and now more than before teachers have many alternatives to bring to that classroom meaningful practices. “There is openness to exploring alternative and creative whilst recognizing the importance of diverse meaning making practices and genres (butterwick & dawson 2005,clover;2010; grace & wells 2007).
Another aspect that teachers at jose avecedo y Gomez school should take into account in their teaching practices is that school should be linked to their culture, their social media and other aspects that surround student´s life, students are not obligated to bring to the school text books because of many economic aspects, so, teachers in their practices are not tied to a book that sometimes is not related to their life style, and the proposals that they find in their environment, students are more interested in the class if they learn vocabulary related to their interests and social medium.
Ethics and values are aspects that not all of the teachers consider in their daily practices, and it is important to teach students that are being prepared to be entrepreneurs to respect and have some codes that make them good citizens and to be part of the globalization, taking into account the ethical rules and to know how to use social nets with respect, the ethics teacher mentions the topics, but superficially related with the global communications and citizenship, I consider if our students are being trained in multimedia, business ,creation of web sites ,teachers in class may go deeper into the subject of ethics in internet.
Social problems and the lack of justice in the world and many other aspects that students can see in internet are topics that help teacher to develop a class in which students can express their opinions and develop a critical skill. According to Gouthro and Holloway “ultimately teachers and their students are citizens. What their learn or do not learn informs how they will live their lives and influence those around them”.
As Jose Acevedo y Gómez is located in a municipality which belong people of low stratus, one of the principal premises of the families of our students is to solve economic problems,
then the need of higher education is really important to them, to teach them to analyze the world from different perspectives and because the scholar environment at our school represent to them a kind a relaxing space that permit them to be relaxed and they feel that inside of the school, they have some guaranties as free food, good relations and the opportunity to see the world from a different point of view.
Teachers need to have more information about new literacies and from and where they are addressed, in our school our practices would be more successful if we not only focus them to our subject and the abilities we want to develop in our students, because noting what we do daily,we see we are in a good way , but we are working isolated ,and we need to learn how to tie our teachings to be more useful in outside students life. “ consider the role of teachers in fostering ethical approaches to engaging with New Literacies, recognizing that the blurring between real-life people and fictional characters in media and in on-line environments with which their students engage outside of school creates new challenges and opportunities for educators”.
Williams (2009) argues that “the creation of Web 2.0, which offers more interactive opportunities for participant engagement, also requires ongoing reflective debate about the implications for democratic learning and citizen involvement”. When our students create a game in internet or do a job just to satisfy a teacher to get a good grade, both students and teachers are wasting their time and we in our school know that years ago ,when we propose to our students developing a project we have the purpose to help them to create meaningful ideas, mental or physical ,but the objective is they argument and propose what was the meaning of these activities for them.
We are aware that as teachers of different subjects to multimedia ,we should learn and investigate the real use of technologies ,that it is not only to use technologies as a tool to see images or to listen, to use some advices as computers, tablets or cellphones as the same way that you use radios and televisions, just for watch and listening, we know that technologies go further, but most of us do not give the appropriate use to technologies in our class, in our school we are implementing them to develop some activities, but we know ,we should explore more to get real advantages to technologies.
In our school we are committed to develop in lifelong learning and in multimodalities practices strategies that help our students to be able to use their leanings in whatever context they are ,and to be critical and proactive citizens, they have to discover the opportunities the world give them and our purpose is try they feel confident with themselves and get their on perspective of the world taking from it, more good and beautiful things that becomes in opportunities than just criticize and thing that there are no opportunities, opportunities are everywhere just we have to have our mind open and be sure we are a good part of this world. For me, multimodalities are what we observe in this paper multi-mode to learn.
Alberts &Harste ,2007
butterwick & dawson 2005,clover;2010; grace & wells 2007
Gee,2007;jewitt and cress,2003
Gouthro and Holloway
kress 2003;kress & van leeuween,2001.
Williams ,2009 .