This post is the second in two-part series of posts on some ideas I have been exploring over the past year in a half through in my Graduate Program. If you missed part 1, you can find it here. These ideas originate from a project I completed, Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS.
So often I hear people talking about educational technology without thinking about the why. This series of posts focuses on why I believe we should be moving to teaching not just literacy, but multimedia literacy in schools.
Honouring and engaging in multimedia literacy in classrooms helps to create more student-centered environments. When educators see the value of multimedia literacy they can better communicate with and help their students recognize their own strengths and challenges with regards to different modes of literacy. According to The New London Group (1996), when learners juxtapose different languages, discourses, styles, and approaches, they gain substantively in metacognitive and metalinguistic abilities and in their ability to reflect critically on complex systems and their interactions (p. 69). Students that are aware of their strengths and challenges are better able to make decisions when it comes to communicating their understandings in class. At the same time, educators should also push students out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves and their understandings.
Digital tools and resources have become ubiquitous in today’s modern world. When we discuss multimedia literacy, the impact of digital technology and digital literacy cannot be underestimated. The New London Group (1996) argues, the literacy pedagogy now must account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technology (p.61).
Multimedia literacy and digital literacy share interrelated skills that students should know how to apply to both digital and nondigital media. The affordances of technology have shifted the way people work in their school lives, work lives and personal lives. It is our job, as educators, to prepare our students to participate fully in the world they live in. There is no question that for them, that is a digital world. Jenkins (2013), argues that it would be tragic if we allowed new media literacy practices to take over the place of traditional print literacy practices and that not engaging with new media out of fear of change, would be equally tragic.
Mike Ribble is a well respected expert in the field of education, with regards to digital citizenship. Ribble (2013), proposes a model to move forward in teaching digital citizenship in schools. His framework for digital citizenship includes 9 elements: digital etiquette, digital access, digital law, digital communication, digital literacy, digital commerce, digital rights and responsibility, digital security and digital health and wellness. These elements fall into 3 categories: respect yourself/respect others, educate yourself/educate others and protect yourself/protect others. Ribble cites, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) as providing guidance by updating the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) for educational leaders, teachers, and students. The NETS integrate educational technology standards across all educational curricula and are recognized in the United States, and various countries worldwide.
This digital world we live in requires us to educate our students on the moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of digital technologies. Incorporating multimedia literacies, and thus digital literacies in the classroom, allows us to embed lessons of digital citizenship in authentic ways. Digital citizenship is best taught in context as opposed to a one off lesson here and there.
For more information see my site:
Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS
ISTE Standards Students. (2007). Retrieved July 13, 2015, from the International Society for Technology in Education website: http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-S_PDF.pdf
Jenkins, H. (2013). Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.ca
Ribble, M., & Miller, T. N. (2013). Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically. Journal Of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.
The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review,
This post is the first in two part series of posts on some ideas I have been exploring over the past year in a half through in my Graduate Program. These ideas originate from a project I completed, Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS. So often I hear people talking about educational technology without thinking about the why. This series of posts focus on why I believe we should be moving to teaching not just literacy, but multimedia literacy in schools.
Beyond Traditional Paper & Pencil Literacy
Traditional forms of literacy have long held a privileged status in elementary classrooms. According to The New London Group (1996), Literacy pedagogy has traditionally meant teaching and learning to read and write in page-bound, official, standard forms of the national language. Literacy pedagogy, in other words, has been a monocultural, and rule-governed forms of language (p.61). In the context of our current globalized society, educators need to engage their students in the culturally and linguistically diverse multimedia literacies that they encounter. Barriers continue to be created when educators continue to favour more traditional forms of literacy. Such as barriers of access to differing perspectives when other forms of literacy are not being shared with students or barriers of accessibility for students that are better able to express themselves with non traditional forms of literacy. For example, some students are better able to communicate their thoughts using speech to text software or audio recording. According to Jenkins (2013), while traditional reading and writing skills are still important, print-literacy ways of reading, writing, and interacting with text are not sufficient to satisfy the needs of an increasingly participatory culture.
Aligns with Universal Design for Learning Principles
As education moves to more inclusive curriculum and environments, educators have been exploring frameworks such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL). According to CAST (2015), UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. Principle I, of the UDL framework, suggests teachers present information and content in different ways to reach all learners (CAST, 2015). Our classrooms are made up of all kinds of learners. Whether they are strong learners auditorily, visually, tactilely, sensorily, etc., by knowing our students and how they learn, we can choose various representations of work that suit the learners. If you have students that are auditory learners, you can choose to read books aloud, share an audiobook, or play a soundtrack. For visual learners, you could use films, YouTube parodies, fanfic artwork, costumes, toys or video games. Principle II of CAST’s UDL Framework, suggests teachers also provide multiple means of action and expression to their learners (CAST, 2015). Different learners have different strengths and challenges. In order to allow all students to show what they know to their fullestcapabilities, students need to be able to choose how they represent their learning. Encourage your students to interact with the text and show what they know in a way that play to their strengths or challenge them to work outside of their comfort zone. Often times students are asked to respond to stories they read or films they watch by writing about it. Offering only a written response as a choice limits how many learners you are engaging and how many will be successful.
Multimedia Literacy in Action
For the past few years, I have been working with Mr. Wiess and his grade 3 classes to help them create a green screen movie to capture their learning from their social studies research on Tunisia, Ukraine and India. Each year they research the traditions and celebrations and compare them with their own traditions and celebrations here in Canada. As a class they write and create scenes, that they then film and put together into one presentation.
This year, Mr. Wiess wanted to try something different from green screening so I suggested offering up more choice this time. Instead of requiring them all to do film a green screen we also gave them the option of using using Tellagami, Book Creator, or Toontastic to show what they know. Students were grouped and given a choice of what country they chose to research and report on. After groups conducted their research they were introduced to the apps and the formats they could choose to represent their learning.
Tellagami allowed students to customise an avatar of a character and voice record a message or type in a message. Backgrounds could be ones the students took, drew, found online or got from the gallery within the app.
Book Creator lets students represent their learning through the writing or telling of a story. Mr. Weiss showed them the new comic book layout in the app and the groups that chose Book Creator made a comic book. Students could use pictures they took, drew or found online. They could write with their fingers, type in text or voice record.
Toontastic is amazing as it has a huge bank of backgrounds, characters and props students can use. They can also import their own photos as backgrounds and they can even take a photo of their own face to impose on a character from the gallery. There is no option to add text to Toontastic so students tell the story through voice recordings.
Green Screen by Do Ink was used by students that wished to act out their scene and film it. Backgrounds imported could again be ones that students drew, took or downloaded online.
What I liked about these apps is that they all gave students lots of options in terms of how they added text and images to the stories. These multimedia formats gave them opportunities to create beyond traditional paper and pencil formats of text. Their text was found in their research notes, storyboards, scripts, acting, voice recordings, animations, illustrations and their culminating video.
Stay tuned for Pt.2 of this post! For more information see my site:
Multimedia Literacy in the Elementary Language Arts Classroom: A RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS
CAST, Inc. (2015, January 22). UDL guidelines [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/take_a_tour_udl
Jenkins, H. (2013). Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved
The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.
I heard of the Global Read Aloud a few years ago and thought that would be a great tool to connect my class with others around the world. The idea was simple choose one of the books to read aloud to your class and connect with others around the world who chose to read the same book. Pernille Ripp the creator of the Global Read Aloud picks new books each year. She sets a start date and schedule of readings to keep everyone together but if you fall behind that's ok too.
Since I have been out of the classroom the last few years, I have not have the opportunity to do the Global Read Aloud with a class of my own. This year, I sent out some information on the project to see if anyone was interested. Noreen Holt at RF Staples responded and shortly after she reached out to Mary Kaliel at Pembina North Community School and she joined in as well. Noreen decided to jump in and participate with her grade 8 and 9 classes, 3 classes in total. Mary decided to join in with her one grade 8 class. The grade 8’s read Fish by L.S. Matthews, and the grade 9’s read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina. It was a huge learning curve for both teachers as not only was the Global Read Aloud new to them, there were several technology tools they decided to use that were new to them too. They used Edublogs, Twitter and Skype to connect with each other, as well as other classes, teachers, students and even the authors.
Noreen used Edmodo and email to find some international connections for her class but in the end her best connection was the one she made with Mary’s grade 8 class. We used Skype to do Mystery Skypes between classes as an icebreaker activity . Mystery Skype is a game of strategic questioning to figure out where the other class is located.
Twitter was used to follow the slow chat happening each week. The slowchat was where a question or two per week were posted by a class that signed up to moderate that week’s chat. Our students followed the hashtags for the week and then tweeted out answers to the questions that were posted.
Through the project students learned:
-reading comprehension strategies and writing skills
-to give positive feedback that moves the conversation forward
-digital citizenship skills (citing images sources, creating a positive digital footprint, etc.)
-the value of making connections with classes outside of their own schools
In the end, I think Noreen, Mary and their students learned a lot through this experience but just to make sure I asked these teachers to respond to a few questions for me. Here are their responses:
What were the benefits of participating in the Global Read Aloud for you and your students?
The students were forced to think “outside their box” when they read comments and blogs from other schools. They also were very aware of their audience and always made sure that their writing said what they had intended. ~Mary
The biggest benefit was the larger audience for their thinking. In all of my classes, the author of the book visited their blogs, read a few, and commented. Additionally, they had partner classes in the United States, and the grade eights also partnered with the grade eights in Pembina North. They Skyped with their partner classes and also read their blog posts and responded. I think the authentic audience was one of the reasons my students were so engaged.
The books are about issues relevant to the students right now. It was easy to connect to both books.
For me the biggest benefit was my learning. Blogging will be a part of my class forevermore. I enjoyed learning how to Skype class to class, and I will definitely do that again as well. ~Noreen
Were there any drawbacks to participating in the Global Read Aloud?
It wasn’t always easy to stick to the schedule. We had to be very aware of the schedule and had to fit the reading in when we had many other things happening. Your time is not your own. You don’t want to read too far ahead, but you also don’t want your kids to read any spoilers in the other blogs. ~Mary
The only drawback for me was the timing. Because I hadn’t known about the GRA in September, I had started class novels already. It was tough to keep to the GRA schedule while finishing the class novels. ~Noreen
Any advice for those thinking about participating in the Global Read Aloud next year?
Next year, I would have the books read much further in advance. I would definitely do this again. ~Mary
Do it! I learned so much about Skyping and blogging. ~Noreen
Google Works Best with Google
When using Google apps like Drive, Gmail or Calendar on your computer it works best to open them in Google Chrome because they are made to work together. I have noticed when trying to use Drive in Firefox you cannot not do certain things. For example, when trying to upload documents you can upload entire folders in Chrome but not in Firefox or Safari.
Sync Tabs and History Across Devices
This is so handy! I use the Chrome Browser on my Macbook, Chromebook, iPad and iPhone. When I view pages on my Macbook in Chrome, I can switch to my phone and simply pick up where I left off on from the Mac, by opening up my history.
Customize Your Browser by Adding Apps and Extensions
By logging into the Chrome Browser you can add apps and extensions to customize how Chrome works. There is SnagIt, an app and extension, which allows you to screen capture still photos or videos and save them directly to your Google Drive. Goo.gl URL shortner lets you easily create a shortened URL or QR code for websites. The Read & Write for Google app and extension have excellent accessibility features like text to speech, that can be used while browsing the web or working in Google Drive. In Google Docs, you have the option of text to speech, to read text aloud and voice input or word prediction to write. Those are just a few of my favourite apps and extensions but there are many more you can explore.
See more of my favourite apps & extensions in my Chrome Slide. You can also find more Chrome resources on our Chrome resources page of this site.
For this post, I want to focus in on the theme of digital law and how I taught this in my grade 4 classroom. For several years, I had my students publish their work online using their blogs. In the beginning, we did not worry about citing sources when posting images to our blogs. Students would use Google to search for images and use those. It was much like they did when they used images from the internet in a document or presentation when they did not publish their work online. We soon started questioning if this was the right thing to do when we use the images online. As a class we started investigating the answer to that very question. Are you allowed to take images from a Google search and just use them? This question led to more questions of my students:
-What is copyright?
-Is it different to use images online as opposed to images you use for other things?
-How do you know if you have permission to use an image?
-Where can we find images that we are allowed to use?
-How do we cite images properly?
-Does copyright apply to music we use in our work?
-Where do we find music we are allowed to use?
Over time my class and I have found some useful resources when it comes to using images and music in our work. I hope you find them useful!
2Learn- copyright & teaching the basics
The Noun Project- a community building icons that anyone can understand
Pixabay- Free images
Compfight- A Flickr Search Tool
15 Best Sites for Open Source Images
Photos For Class - The quick and safe way to find and cite images for class!
Pics4Learning - Free photos for education
27 Superb Sites With Royalty Free Stock Images For Commercial Use
Google Image Search Adds Usage Rights to Search Tools
Research Tools in Google Docs- allows students to easily find and cite images in a Google Doc
Incompetech- royalty free music. Search by genre or feel.
Soundation- online music studio with recording, effects, virtual instruments and over 700 free loops and sounds
Audio Nautix – Online collection created by Jason Shaw.
FMA- Free Music Archive. Search by genre.
Jamendo- royalty free music downloads
Are there any resources you and your students use? Let me know in the comment section below!
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.