The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 14

classrooms have a document camera. At my elementary campus, there are also two computer labs with desktop computers. One of the computer labs is used for a computer class throughout the day, and the other computer lab is primarily used to administer computerized progress monitoring curriculum. Each class has a scheduled time to visit the former computer lab at least once a week, and most classes visit twice a week.

How did you find out about multimodal texts for instructional purposes?

As a beginning teacher, I was fortunate to have fellow teachers at my campus who were always looking for new digital tools to use in the classroom. I was introduced to Photo Story and Prezi from colleagues and fell in love with the possibilities that these platforms presented regarding 21st century multimodal texts. Recently, I have joined communities on Facebook, Pinterest, and Donor’s Choose, which allow me to gain ideas from other teachers. Over the last few years, I have also attended professional conferences as a way to learn more about 21st century multimodal texts.

Why do you use 21st century multimodal texts?

I use 21st century multimodal texts for many different reasons. I enjoy the convenience that multimodal texts allow. For example, if I want to use a specific picture book for a lesson, I am able to download it directly onto my tablet device, rather than worrying about making a trip to the bookstore. By downloading the picture book as an electronic text, I can also give my students access on the tablets in our classroom. My students then have the opportunity to engage in repeated readings, and I do not have to be concerned with damaged and/or lost copies of printed books.

Another reason I use 21st century multimodal texts is they keep my students’ attention and interest. During my own personal experiences with literacy instruction, students’ desks were lined up in rows and we read books aloud together (similar to a round-robin reading practice). However, students today have been exposed to digital tools, such as cellular phones, tablets, and computers, since they were babies! Current learning

theories and models have recommended that teachers incorporate instructional practices that are more learner-centered and develop proficiency with 21st century literacy skills among students. As students get older, the amount of technology and digital media that they are exposed to will increase, which places many students at the forefront of new technological advances. I believe that teachers have the responsibility to prepare students for lifelong literacy practices.

How do your students respond when 21st century multimodal texts are used?

My students love to use 21st century multimodal texts! They are engaged during instruction and are motivated to complete tasks that use multimodal elements. For example, my school campus uses Raz-Kids, which is an online program that provides digitally leveled books for kids to read on the computer or tablet. For homework, my students are required to record themselves reading a book and submit it to me. The majority of my students complete this homework task every week, and some of my students arrive to the classroom at 7:30 every morning to use Raz-Kids!

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Editor's tip:

Click on underlined blue-phrases within the text of this article in order to access the various platforms and communities mentioned in the article e.g. Prezi .