Digital and multimodal texts

Resources and strategies to teach media, multimedia and digital texts.

The English K-10 Syllabus has mandated that in each year, students must study examples of media, multimedia and digital texts which are appropriate to their needs, interests and abilities, examples which become increasingly sophisticated as students move from Kindergarten to Year 6.

Definitions

Digital texts – audio, visual or multimodal texts produced through digital or electronic technology which may be interactive and include animations and/or hyperlinks. Examples of digital texts include movies, websites, e-books and apps.

Multimodal texts – A multimodal text uses a combination of two or more communication modes, for example, print, image and spoken text as in film or computer presentations.

Engaging with digital and multimodal texts

Every day we encounter multimodal texts and digital texts in many forms. Understanding how the visuals and written text work together to create meaning allows the viewer to make decisions and respond to the text appropriately.

Reading and viewing digital and multimodal texts

How does a reader read and navigate digital and multimodal texts?

Digital and multimodal texts in context

Think about materials that you use in the classroom which incorporate digital and multimodal texts and look at the relevant outcomes and content in the context of your everyday teaching.

Explore – multimodal text

Look at a page in a picture book to discover how the visuals work with the text to create depth in the story. Examine how the following affects a reader’s understanding:

  • lighting
  • shadowing
  • salient images
  • framing of images
  • camera angles
  • character's gaze
  • colours

Explore – digital text

Look at a webpage to discover how the visuals work with the text to create depth and understanding. Examine how the following affects a reader’s understanding:

  • colours
  • backgrounds
  • image placement
  • keywords
  • size of text
  • layout

Working with the syllabus

The following table highlights outcomes from the English K-10 Syllabus which provide opportunities for the use of digital and multimodal texts.

Opportunities to use digital and multimodal texts
Content points Early Stage 1 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
1-2 content points

ENe-1A

ENe-2A

ENe-12E

ENe-5A

ENe-6B

ENe-9B

EN1-1A

EN1-5A

EN1-6B

EN1-7B

EN1-9B

EN1-12E

EN2-1A

EN2-5A

EN2-6B

EN2-9B

EN2-12E

EN3-1A

EN3-4A

EN3-6B

EN3-9E

3 or more content points

ENe-3A

ENe-7B

ENe-8B


EN2-7B
The entire outcome

ENe-4A

ENe-10C

ENe-11D

EN1-2A

EN1-3A

EN1-4A

EN1-8B

EN1-10C

EN1-11D

EN2-2A

EN2-3A

EN2-4A

EN2-8B

EN2-10C

EN2-11D

EN3-2A

EN3-3A

EN3-5B

EN3-7C

EN3-8D


Where to next?

Access the English K-10 Syllabus and choose the outcome/s relevant to your students. Identify the specific content that encourages the use of digital and multimodal texts. Compare your findings with the content points identified on this page.

Think about:

  • What areas of digital and multimodal learning do you already cover in your classroom?
  • Which aspects of digital and multimodal learning are new to you? How will you deal with this?
  • What will you need (for example resources, professional development, support) in order to appropriately implement the digital and multimodal learning aspects of the English K-10 Syllabus?

Reflect on your knowledge of digital and visual literacy and begin planning for teaching digital and multimodal texts. Start by reading 4 scenarios:

I have a Stage 2 class that have had a lot of exposure to picture books in Stage 1 as modelled and independent reads. However, they do not have a good understanding of the visual images in texts. I will be working with my students on understanding the choices illustrators make, such as where they place certain elements in images and how framing and perspective influence the reader’s view of an image. I have also noticed that my students have indicated they are having trouble finding information on a website. They click on things in random ways, but they do not have the right metalanguage to talk about what they are doing. They do not seem to use words such as navigate, hyperlink, cursor or menu. Using the right metalanguage means that everyone understands what is being spoken. I cannot wait to start working with my students and introducing new and exciting digital and multimodal texts.

I have a Stage 2 class that have had a lot of exposure to picture books in Stage 1 as modelled and independent reads. However, they do not have a good understanding of the visual images in texts. I will be working with my students on understanding the choices illustrators make, such as where they place certain elements in images and how framing and perspective influence the reader’s view of an image. I have also noticed that my students have indicated they are having trouble finding information on a website. They click on things in random ways, but they do not have the right metalanguage to talk about what they are doing. They do not seem to use words such as navigate, hyperlink, cursor or menu. Using the right metalanguage means that everyone understands what is being spoken. I cannot wait to start working with my students and introducing new and exciting digital and multimodal texts.

I have a Stage 2 class that have had a lot of exposure to picture books in Stage 1 as modelled and independent reads. However, they do not have a good understanding of the visual images in texts. I will be working with my students on understanding the choices illustrators make, such as where they place certain elements in images and how framing and perspective influence the reader’s view of an image. I have also noticed that my students have indicated they are having trouble finding information on a website. They click on things in random ways, but they do not have the right metalanguage to talk about what they are doing. They do not seem to use words such as navigate, hyperlink, cursor or menu. Using the right metalanguage means that everyone understands what is being spoken. I cannot wait to start working with my students and introducing new and exciting digital and multimodal texts.

I have a Stage 2 class that have had a lot of exposure to picture books in Stage 1 as modelled and independent reads. However, they do not have a good understanding of the visual images in texts. I will be working with my students on understanding the choices illustrators make, such as where they place certain elements in images and how framing and perspective influence the reader’s view of an image. I have also noticed that my students have indicated they are having trouble finding information on a website. They click on things in random ways, but they do not have the right metalanguage to talk about what they are doing. They do not seem to use words such as navigate, hyperlink, cursor or menu. Using the right metalanguage means that everyone understands what is being spoken. I cannot wait to start working with my students and introducing new and exciting digital and multimodal texts.

‘Features and language in digital and multimodal texts’ are some reflection ideas after reading about digital and multimodal texts.

Use these questions to reflect on what you have just read.

1. What are some of the specific features of digital and multimodal texts which you would need to explicitly teach your students?

  • Multimodal (print-based) – for example
    • metalanguage
    • prior experiences
    • visual literacy
  • Digital (web based)
  • Digital (eBook)
  • Digital (film-based)

2. What syllabus content do you think is the most important for your students to experience first? Where would you head later and why?

3. What specific vocabulary would you expect your students to understand when interacting with digital and multimodal texts?

4. What specific vocabulary would you expect your students to confidently use when interacting with and responding to digital and multimodal texts?

5. What resources or support would you need to effectively implement the teaching of digital and multimodal texts with your class?

6. Construct a word bank of vocabulary you would expect your students to demonstrate a sound understanding of at their level.

Using the English K-10 Syllabus you could now program a short series of lessons for your class incorporating digital and multimodal texts.

All syllabus references are from English K-10 Syllabus © 2012 NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales.

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