What are multimodal texts? (see full text by Anstey & Bull 2010, in Professional Readings)

A text may be defined as multimodal when it combines two or more semiotic systems. There are five semiotic systems in total:
  1. Linguistic: comprising aspects such as vocabulary, generic structure and the grammar of oral and written language
  2. Visual: comprising aspects such as colour, vectors and viewpoint in still and moving images
  3. Audio: comprising aspects such as volume, pitch and rhythm of music and sound effects
  4. Gestural: comprising aspects such as movement, speed and stillness in facial expression and body language
  5. Spatial: comprising aspects such as proximity, direction, position of layout and organisation of objects in space.

Examples of multimodal texts are:
  • a picture book, in which the textual and visual elements are arranged on individual pages that contribute to an overall set of bound pages
  • a webpage, in which elements such as sound effects, oral language, written language, music and still or moving images are combined
  • a live ballet performance, in which gesture, music, and space are the main elements.

Multimodal texts can be delivered via different media or technologies. They may be live, paper, or digital electronic.

Kay L. Bitter (1943–2001) was involved in early childhood education for more than 20 years. She had a passion for teaching, always inspiring her young students by engaging them in exciting learning activities. She was truly a cutting-edge professional who was extremely effective in bringing technology into her classroom on a daily basis. Each year ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) gives in memory of Kay L. Bitter an award that recognizes a P-2 educator whose work has had a significant positive impact on technology use in education.

Amanda Marrinan - Award winner (2011) and Queensland teacher - speaks with us about what multimodal resources means to her and how she incorporates technology within her classroom.

Multimodal Literacy from 2M Gems on Vimeo.

(Our thanks to Amanda and children for their generosity in allowing us to share their story and images on this wiki)

Another thought providing video for educators branching into multimodal texts is...