To start this week’s blog post I would like to share a fun fact that I have learned from reading “10 Mind-Blowing Interactive Stories.” Did you know that about 90% of all information transmitted to our brains is visual. People are able to remember 80% of what they see but only 20% of what they read. (Read more at – http://blog.visme.co/10-mind-blowing-interactive-stories-that-will-change-the-way-you-see-the-world/#Y0RFWyTTC7J3fwEl.99).
I found this fact to be very interesting because as a future educator and a college student I understand how important reading and writing is to be successful within education. However, I believe that educators tend to put too much importance in just reading and writing things such as reading articles or stories and writing, essays. There are so many other ways that can enable students to become literate individuals. Through the use of the concept of multiliteracy, educators, are able to support their students’ literacy using multiple ways in representing the information and engaging students while also allowing students various outlets in how they are able to express their understandings.
Before continuing with this blog here is an informative video called “Multiliteracies: 21st century literacy and language” by Michael Mendes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xj01hk8Osg). This youtube video does a great job in explaining the fact that literacy is no longer limited to just reading and writing. Instead, it encompasses a broad spectrum of categories such as music, art, dance, video games and much more that better fits the needs and interests of our colorful and diverse classrooms.
One great way for teachers to introduce multiliteracy to students is through the use of digital stories which allows students to fully engage with the story because it uses visual and auditory aids. According to the article, “Reinforcing Multiliteracies Through Design Activities”, by Tonia Dousay, “Educators considering the usefulness of digital storytelling as an instructional strategy with preservice teachers should note Li’s (2007) findings that all participants in a preservice teacher survey using National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers as a benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of digital storytelling as an instructional strategy “gained knowledge and improved skills in all areas.” (Dousay, 2015. p. 32). This quote explains that the use of digital storytelling has had a positive effect on students’ literacy skills as it allows for students to interact with the text as a whole. As an educator it is essential to constantly critically think of how to improve their classroom and lesson plans in a way that best fits the needs of the students. Creating a Multiliteracy classroom shows the students that all learning styles are accepted in their classroom and they are all valued members of the classroom. Multiliteracy is able to fit the needs of all students as it uses “a variety of mediums of communication to construct meaning.” (Holloway, 2015).
Multilietracy has many values within a classroom as it is able to exemplify to students on how to be active and productive citizens in society. According to “The Multiliteracies Project”,
“Literacy should acknowledge that we live in increasingly diverse social, linguistic, and cultural milieus. We need to ensure that people of all backgrounds have equitable access to a range of literacies to be active and productive citizens. A multiliteracies theoretical framework recognizes that the discourses necessary for critical engagement within communities and workplaces are always evolving. Multiliteracies have a social justice focus, noting that language is always socially constructed and is a form of power.” (Holloway, 2015).
This quote explains an important aspect in how multiliteracy is able to have multiple forms of use that extends outside the classroom. Not only does it allow for students to have multiple forms of access to their education but it also teaches them what it means to an active citizen within their ever-changing communities. The digital stories which I have discussed previously are an inexpensive option in which it allows for free access throughout the web. The use of digital stories allows students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of this experience rich reading program. I also believe that it is essential for educators to acknowledge the fact that all cultures and languages are accepted in the classroom. Educators should avail students to opportunities in reading text that is in a language that they are comfortable with. If a teacher has a student from another country who speaks a different language, they should welcome the student to use their home language along with English as it is important to their literacy skills. The educator should be mindful of being culturally and linguistically relative to that student when choosing reading components which the digital stories would be able to provide.
As educators, we are constantly learning from our students on how we can better fit the needs of students in our lesson plans and classrooms. Multiliteracy is able to provide more accessible means in reaching our students attention by fully engaging in their education. To me personally this is a very exciting concept. It allows us to use our creativity to provide a meaningful and an experience rich education for our students where we hope they will be able to reach their highest potential. As teachers we are ever learning and progressing in order to better the education of students.