The students that we teach live in a fast-paced world where they interact with more and more media every day. They have meaning-making skills that we can only begin to imagine. Yet there is a gaping divide between school learning and real world literacies. Imagine a classroom where the real world literacies directly inform classroom practices. Students’ ways of making meaning of the word around them are taken up for school subjects. Students’ ways of creating meaning for others and self-expression are understood as valuable and representative of their knowledge. The connection between what is learned and practiced in school and what is learned and practiced outside of school is evident to the teachers and the students alike.
All too often traditional schooling only recognizes one mode of learning and knowledge expression as valuable. By privileging one way of knowing over others, we regularly send the message, both overtly and inadvertently, to our students that they do not belong or their way of being is wrong and must be fixed. Multimodal approaches to learning allow us to disrupt this normalized notion of knowledge and create learning opportunities that are inclusive of the variety of learners we teach.