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Multiliteracies, Multimodality, New Literacies and …. What Do These Mean for Literacy Education?

Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education

ISBN: 978-1-78714-590-0, eISBN: 978-1-78714-589-4

Publication date: 7 July 2017


Changes in digital communication technologies have impacted on society so rapidly that educational researchers, policy makers and teachers are challenged by the application of these changes for curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment. The multimedia facilities of digital technologies, particularly mobile hand held devices and touch pads, encourage the processing of several modes simultaneously. Thus the traditional concept of literacy as reading and writing has changed as these rarely occur in isolation within digital communication. Many students are engaged in more sophisticated use of technologies outside school than they experience at school. Moreover, participation in gaming and social networking has created significant social and cultural change.

At the same time there have been many initiatives in classrooms to adapt to the learning potential of new technologies with schools introducing laptops, iPads, or students’ own devices. While issues such as pedagogy and equity offer challenges there are new and exciting ways forward for literacy education in an inclusive learning environment. This chapter will examine attempts to re-define literacy with theories such as ‘multiliteracies’, ‘multimodality’ and ‘new literacies’. These have developed to explain the changes in communication and to offer educators ways to balance the incorporation of new modes of communication with those skills of reading and writing that are seen as core for a literate person.



Walsh, M. (2017), "Multiliteracies, Multimodality, New Literacies and …. What Do These Mean for Literacy Education?", Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 11), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 19-33.



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