15 November 2005 

My Professor Lets Us Blog Papers...

So here it is:
Within this past few weeks' batch of readings for Educational Media Theory, I will tackle the pair offered for us to read as an introduction to multimodality. I will look at the introductory chapter first, followed by Carey Jewitt's take on assessment and multimodality. To begin, a quote from Kress and Jewitt's introduction: “Rather than taking talk and writing as the starting point, a multimodal approach to learning starts from the theoretical position that treats all modes as equally significant for meaning and communication, potentially so at least.” (Kress, 2)
I am not sure that I can articulate this very well, but I am in disagreement with this theoretical position. Why? Why did the authors have to throw in that last, awkwardly placed prepositional phrase: “potentially so at least?” I am of the opinion that this puts the theoretical position in hot water. Is it betraying the common sense notion that some modes are much more significant for meaning and communication of some types than others? That is to say, it seems like, with the caveat attached, the theoretical position is really saying “depending on the situation, different modes can be equally significant.” That I will buy, but I do not think it's a terribly interesting position to start from.
It seems to me that the real basis for encouraging multimodal skills and learning is more sociological than philosophical. There is no need to set up a tricky theoretical framework to explain that we live in media saturated environments and that a sensitivity to all of the modes (even ancient ones, like gesture) is very useful to engaging the world instead of just being dragged along by it. Proposing that there exists some sort of undue bias towards the written word by writing hundreds of pages on the topic (as I suspect some people have done) seems silly and self-contradictory to me. This brings me to the second reading, Carey Jewitt's chapter on “Re-Thinking Assessment.”
I was


07 November 2005 


I really wish I could be Roman Catholic.

A Cardinal Asks Faithful Not to Discount Science