Multiliteracies is a term that highlights two related aspects of the increasing complexity of texts in today’s world: the proliferation of multimodal ways of making meaning where the written word is increasingly part of visual, audio, and spatial patterns; and the increasing proliferation of cultural and linguistic diversity characterized by local diversity and global connectedness. As teachers, it is important for us to explore pedagogies or teaching practices that prepare our learners for the literacy challenges of our globalized, networked, culturally diverse world. Increasingly, students and teachers find knowledge in print, in images, in video, in combinations of forms in digital contexts and are asked to represent their knowledge in an equally complex manner. So our big challenge is to help our students to achieve a more diverse variety of literacies.
Pedagogy in the twenty first century is constantly influenced by technological changes that demand us to work with multiple modalities of information and communication systems (Harrison, 2008). Traditionally, literacy has used old technologies of pen writing, book reading, spoken communications, mental arithmetic and so on to improve mainly reading, but now multiteracies and new communications are changing the way we use old media by enhancing and augmenting them, and by including modes of communication such as visual, aural, spatial and gestural literacies, where visual literacy has a key role as it is an ability that helps learners to construct meaning from visual images that they read in order to develop critical thinking skills (Bamford, 2003).
As twenty first century teachers we must contribute to change the students’ social environment so that they can face this new approach to literacy pedagogy that we call "multiliteracies." The is a multiplicity of communication channels and increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in the students’ world today that demand from us a much broader view of literacy than the one we used to have using traditional language-based approaches. Multiliteracies overcome the limitations of those traditional approaches because if we incorporate them to our pedagogy students will be able to access the evolving language of work, power, and community, and they will develop the critical engagement necessary for them to design their social futures and achieve success through fulfilling employment in the near future.
Bamford, A. (2003) The visual literacy white paper. Adobe system. Retrieved from: http://www.adobe.com/uk/education/pdf/adobe_visual_literacy_paper.pdf
Bull, G. (2006) Teaching and learning multiliteracies. New York: International Reading Association.
Daley, E. (2003). Expanding the concept of literacy. Educause Review. Retrieved from: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0322.pdf
Stevens, V. (2006). Revisiting Multiliteracies in Collaborative Learning Environments: Impact on Teacher Professional Development. TESL-EJ 10, 2.
Unsworth, L. (2001). Teaching Multiliteracies across the curriculum. Buckingham- Philadelphia: Open University Press.