How easily can you (and your students) create multimodal texts?
The wonderful thing about the Insider and Web 2.0 mindset is sharing. Due to this there are hundreds of web applications available to help you create a multimodal story. Creating a multimodal story with the help of any of these applications can be extremely simple if you follow the given format. I will take you through the process of creating a story, highlighting the easy and difficult parts.
Step 1: You must already have your story/text. This could be the part that’s already in the curriculum. Turning into a multimodal story is the good copy.
Step 2: Choose the application or format to use. When I set to create mine, I wanted to mimic in part the Inanimate Alice story, in that I wanted scenes that were text alone, text with image, moving image and sound effects as well as music. As earlier stated, if you’re happy to follow the given format of the application the process is simple. However having an idea and trying to manipulate the application to do it can prove frustrating, time consuming and sometimes fruitless.
Step 3: Find images that correspond with the text. This alone can take hours.
Step 4: Find appropriate sound. The problem here may be that the song you choose is too long or too short to match the length of the story. This problem can be solved through editing, another timely task, however it is not always possible in a given application. If you would like to add sound effects, you must strive to find an application that allows the sound to be edited so you can slip it in wherever you want, rather than matching a slideshow to a song, for example.
Step 5: Publishing your finished product will depend on the application. Some will allow you to embed it, others won’t. Some will allow you to publish on YouTube or Facebook, others won’t. Few will allow you to download it for use as you see fit without a fee.
Once you have chosen an application and if you are happy to follow the guidelines and format of that application, the process of creating a multimodal story is relatively simple and straightforward. If you can’t figure out how to work the application yourself there is usually a tutorial to show you how. Then it is simply a matter of playing with it until you get your skills up.
This leads me to my final point. While these applications make creating a multimodal story easy, they are extremely time consuming. Creating a story that lasts two minutes can take hours upon hours, which causes problems for using it at school. Teachers are known to be living well below the poverty line when it comes to time. If a teacher were to create one to use in class, it would have to be a holiday project, or one sponsored by the school. To have students use this as an activity is fantastic, but would need to be very, very structured.
In conclusion, multimodal stories are straightforward to create and very rewarding educationally, but if you have any kind of imagination you will become so engrossed they will be the sole focus of your life until they’re completed days later!
Here is a very short multimodal text I made to the first two verses of a very well known poem, My Country. It is very basic but my aim here was just to play around with the web application Prezi. I really would have liked to add music to it, but Prezi does not allow that and while it claims teachers can download the video, it is in a format that cannot be copied into other editing software or applications to further manipulate, nor can the downloaded version be uploaded to this post.