Here we are in 2017 with smart phones, computers, comic books, and so much more. A great deal of our world, and our students’, is online, immediate, political, and multimodal. How can we English educators teach students to live The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies, to:
• Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
• Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
• Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
• Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
• Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
• Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.
Enter the Studies in Literacies and Multimedia Assembly (SLAM) of NCTE .
Like me, you may ask, “What is multimedia, anyhow?” SLAM cofounder, Antero Garcia responds in his blog,
“[M]ultimedia is not limited to simply things that can be downloaded, clicked on, animated. From exploring powerful transmedia narratives in comic books to supporting youth music production to designing and playing games that don’t require an electronic console (such as sports games, tabletop board games, card games, social games, and alternate reality games), the term “multimedia” means so much more than just the digital stuff that is filtered to us via screens.
“While we may often be hyper-aware of the digital demands in our classrooms, I believe that multimedia tools should be utilized in ways that foster powerful relationships between students, teachers, and the larger school community. As such, what relationships do you foster vis-à-vis the multimedia used in your classroom?”
Participants in the SLAM-hosted #nctechat “Beyond the Screen: Multimedia in the Classroom” add more.
If you and your students are ready to take action in your communities, check out SLAM School, a series of short videos for educators and organizers, providing
“guidance and instruction for using specific digital tools and curricular ideas to support civic engagement, protest, and discussion of the crucial issues that are shaping classroom and broader culture.”
Take a look and listen to the recent class on learning to use Facebook Live and Periscope:
and then proceed to the SLAM Assembly YouTube Channel for more.
And, there are SLAM Hangouts , featuring discussions on a variety of multimedia topics. I found Cheryl Ball’s discussion of Kairos, for which she’s the editor, and multimodal composition fascinating.
Speak Up survey after Speak Up survey demonstrates the disconnect students have between in-school and out-of-school literacies. More often than not this disconnect is not only technological but relational. We and they live in an online, immediate, political, and very visual world, and as humans we need to be in relationship. SLAM and its members are eager to share and learn together with us how to help our students utilize and examine in school the multimodal literacies they use after school.