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Multiliteracy is a term that I haven’t really understood in its entirety yet and that’s why practice is good for the teacher, too. One aspect of it is that students, and all of us really, will encounter texts that don’t, say, look like the one you’re reading now, but rather exist in a variety of forms: as charts, tables, menus, timelines, images, videos etc. Understanding these and finding the information you’re looking for requires new type of reading skills and we should practice this at school. Here’s a nice article about multiliteracy skills in Finnish.

Inspired by a colleague, I came up with work sheet for my students where they have to find out specific things about the UK. Information was searched online and a very informal report was then written on the findings. Both the work sheet and the report were shared in our school’s cloud service so we didn’t use paper at all.

Work sheet: A jouney across the British Isles

I’m happy with the questions and the different text types this exercise covered. However, time management could’ve been better. I should have taken some time out of our previous lesson to explain what we’re about to do and demo the document sharing bit so that none of our ‘laptop time’ would have been wasted. And obviously, as always, there were quite a number of technical glitches, but that seems to be unavoidable in these things. Oh well.

EDIT (about six months later): Upon rereading this post, I began to wonder whether there shouldn’t be any closed questions in the work sheet. I still like the open questions; I feel like they are relevant whenever the students do this exercise (cf. questions 3 and 9). The closed questions, especially 13-15, are too restricting. They do present interesting text types (timeline, video, map), but maybe I should somehow give the students the freedom to choose the information they are interested in and want to search for. Hmm. I’ll have to give this another thought.

Image: Plane coming to land on the beach runway by marcus_jb1973 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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