Pedagogy of Multiliteracies Assignment One
Jillian Cockwell

Resource Evaluation

Multiliteracies in the English curriculum acknowledge the variety of ways and forms of texts that students read. The internet offers educators and their classroom communities an abundance of resources encouraging students in their expansion of literacy. Finding resources that will effectively add to the class can be a challenge requiring time and research in order to identify the merits and potential pitfalls of the resource. Two resources that can be particularly well used to enhance learning environments are Tackk and the NFB. These two resources serve as examples of how students can look to the internet as a way to both create and engage with multimodal works.

Tackk

Tackk offers educators and students a variety of opportunities to create and share assignments incorporating concepts of multiliteracies through the creation of their own multimodal web pages. Users can add traditional text but also have the opportunity to include visual, audio and video elements directly on to their Tackk. Tackk also provides users easy ways to share their creations with options to post to their own profiles, email, print and more. The site is exceptionally user friendly with simple choices to click what to add and drag it into the order they wish to present materials. Another feature of Tackk is that a login is not required to create works so, should students not wish to set up accounts with emails, they are still able to use the resource with the Tackk having an expiry date so that it will not be saved forever on the site or internet in general.

How to Use Tackk for a Class

Tackk provides a variety of templates to their users. These templates provide an easy means of tailoring the variety of uses of this website to the classroom. Teachers can create their own tackk projects to provide students with supplementary course material or to share information about assignments or homework. Tackk provides an opportunity to create a kind of teacher blog or website free of charge that their students can access online. A teacher could post a syllabus in the form of a tackk and provide students with button links to resources or their other tackks with more detailed information on assignments if desired. There is the ability for other users of the site to post comments meaning that tackk can also stand as a forum for students to ask questions of their instructors and of each other directly below the information provided.

Students can create tackks based on characters or themes from classroom texts providing the class with images and video or audio to enhance their explanations and analyses or creations. Cross-curricular uses for this site are not to be ignored either. A research assignment of any focus can be easily organized by Tackk. Students can input a variety of data into the templates including images and audio as a means of differentiating their learning through the modes of presenting their knowledge.

For its variety of uses and flexibility of form, Tackk would be a useful resource for teachers and students to create with and explore.

National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a producer and distributor of documentaries and animated films. The website provides a means by which students can explore professionally produced works. The documentaries and films archived on the website offer students a unique opportunity to explore the works without cost and to view and engage with video resources other than those more commonly found on sites such as YouTube.

How to Use the NFB for a Class

In an English class, the NFB would be a resource that could be used to teach through but also to teach about films and their production and construction. One can teach through the NFB by using a variety of their documentaries and films in conjunction with the traditional classroom texts. The NFB has a great number of historical films that could provide valuable contextual knowledge for students while completing other readings. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird can lead students to discussions of racism and discrimination in America and the NFB can provide an interesting extension and context for how Canada too experienced these issues through individuals’ stories in “Journey to Justice”.

The NFB also provides a number of interactive tools for students to explore. It allows students to not only view the materials but to engage in them as they choose what to view, experience and interact with. Many novels, poems, short stories and other texts delve into the construction of memory and one of the interesting interactive works shared on the NFB is the “Please Call, Very Sentimental” project by Alicia Smith that looks into how technology particularly cell phones and digital cameras have caused concern for the expendability of individuals’ constructions of memory with the loss of these devices. The concern people have over their lost cell phones can connect to works such as Fahrenheit 451 with the abundance of images and technologies surrounding the characters or to Never Let Me Go as memory is essential to the characters keeping hope in their short and constrained lives. In these ways the NFB acts as a way to enhance student learning through its additions.

One must also think of the NFB as a tool to teach about film and video resources though as well. Students should be made aware of who is producing the works and consider them as constructions. A teacher could ask students to consider the perspective the film has taken and what may have been included or excluded. Students must also be encouraged to think about the choices of camera angles, shots, the incorporation of music and choice of images to consider what their intended and unintended affects are on the audience. In discussing these topics, the NFB can be used as a means to teach about film as text.

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