Journal article

Integrating ICT through multimodal discourse in a primary classroom

Schools Information technology Australia Victoria

Most children talk to their parents about what they learned at school. Parents hear about books read, pictures drawn, stories written and games played. But how often do parents hear of children using ICT to make multimedia stories with a mathematical focus? In this paper the term “multimodality” will be used to describe such activities. Kress (2004) states that multimodality “deals with all the means we have for making meanings – the modes of representation – and considers their specific way of configuring the world.”

Although digital technology is now available in most Australian schools, classroom use of such technology is not always creative and meaningful for learners. Recent state and federal government initiatives provide teachers with opportunities to integrate various digital technology applications into their classroom practice. In late 2011 a small research project was conducted with a class of Grade 4 students from an outer suburban Melbourne government school. As part of the project students planned and produced a multimedia artefact that explained some aspect of mathematics they had learned during the year.

This paper outlines the planning and production of the multimedia artefacts created by the students, together with a brief discussion of some impediments to teacher use of technology that were identified by teachers at the school. Other issues considered include assessment and reporting in multiple subject areas based on one piece of student work, and the balancing of the relative importance of subject areas in integrated projects and tasks. The authors argue for the development and deliberate inclusion of integrated multimodal activities throughout the primary school curriculum.

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