Multimodal Composition in Teacher Education: From Consumers to Producers by Jill Ewing Flynn and William Lewis
In the twenty-first century, visual texts are vital to learning in English language arts (ELA). As English educators, we know the importance of telling and sharing stories in various formats in order to build community as well as facilitate deep understanding of the concepts we teach. In our methods courses for undergraduates, two of our course projects help students think creatively and reflectively about themselves as ELA teachers, particularly in this time of changing demands, standards, and high-stakes testing. Further, these projects also help to expand students’ understanding of visual and digital ELA content and promote their development as sophisticated consumers of these texts. However, the projects also encourage students to be producers of digital content and to better understand the affordances of multimodal composition. We ask students to use digital tools such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and VoiceThread to achieve our goals. In this chapter, we share the multimodal assignments we use and student project examples. While we teach in a university setting, we discuss adaptations to these projects that make them applicable to learners in other contexts.