Facilitating Multimodal Literacy Instruction Through Digital Curation

Facilitating Multimodal Literacy Instruction Through Digital Curation

Michael S. Mills (University of Central Arkansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3417-4.ch007
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It is becoming clearer that multimodal literacies (specifically textual, visual, and digital) will frame classroom instruction for the near future. The mission of this chapter is to highlight the potential of digital curation as a means for facilitating multimodal literacy instruction and the subsequent creation of dynamic digital learning resources by both students and teachers. Over the past several decades, there has been a tremendous shift in how educators and students communicate, learn, and share ideas. As society moves more toward creating and sharing information through the aggregation, filtering, and customization of digital content, it is imperative that educators create opportunities for students to do likewise. Drawing on recent research on the cognitive benefits of multimodal literacy instruction and its potential for increasing opportunities for student engagement, this chapter will provide a rationale for, and subsequently sketch, a practical approach for teaching collaborative digital curation using Web 2.0 resources.
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Information in today’s society is increasingly being shared primarily through audiovisual digital content, hyperlinked web pages and e-books, SMS (text) and MMS (multimedia) messages, RSS feeds, adaptive gameplay, tweets, and Facebook status updates. The Internet has become the dominant medium for this shift and has prompted many to consider the importance of increasing the focus on multiple literacies in preparing students for success in contemporary society (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; Leander, 2008). In today’s Internet information culture, literacy spans not only multimodality in the forms of text, images, and audio-visual elements, but also dynamic features that redefine themselves based on user-input and the user’s interaction with others through social media. The drawback of the Internet is the vastness of information and the general lack of focused resource platforms that are dynamic, student-centered, and socially interactive, and that also facilitate appropriate levels of multimodal literacy instruction (Rosenbaum, 2011). Digital curation appears to be an approach that may help harness Internet resources in such a way and help frame an inquiry-based pedagogy geared toward student engagement and multimodal literacy comprehension.

Digital curation is the sifting and aggregating of Internet and other digital resources into a manageable collection of what teachers and students find relevant, personalized, and dynamic. It retains the constantly updated components of the Internet while providing a repository that is easily accessible and usable. The beauty of digital curation is that it can be teacher-directed or student-directed. As teachers, we can develop dynamic, interactive social resources that supplant mundane textbooks containing outdated information. Students can develop their own customized resources as well, drawing from all aspects of the Internet to build their own anthology of video, news feeds, Twitter streams (and whatever else is pertinent and engaging) that allows them an outlet for inquiry-based projects as well as a personalization of the curriculum.

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