Prensky (2001) noted that “digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students will work for their students now. But that assumption is no longer valid. Today’s learners are different.” (Prensky, 2001). Similarly, Selfe (1999) argued that the price we pay for ignoring technology and its relation to literacy “is the clear and shameful recognition that we have failed students, failed as humanists, and failed to establish an ethical foundation for future educational efforts in this country.” (Selfe (1999, p.5).
The development of Web 2.0 imposes a new reality for language learning and practice. The meaning of literacy is no longer restricted to the traditional abilities to read books, write with a pen, and/or communicate orally face-to-face with other people. The meaning of literacy has become dependent on many things and various factors such as: the new technologies emerging everyday; the new social practices that these new technologies impose; the growing needs of people in a certain society; the new ways of communication; and the new challenges that globalization has recently imposed (Abdallah, 2011). Adolescents and children in the 21st century are accustomed to these developments in Information and Communication Technologies and are considered digital natives. Therefore, as educators we should find inspiration to enrich our teaching in order to meet the needs of our students who have grown up in a world of digital Information and Communication technologies.
I believe that the use of multimodal representations in classrooms encourages teachers to move beyond teaching with just text, and incorporate technologies students are accoustomed to such as computers and mobile phones. Through the use of technological multimodal representations, meaning making can be viewed as a social practice through a variety of semiotic affordances, including the visual, aural, spatial, and gestural. In the classroom, students can learn through a combination of these modes, including sound, gestures, speech, images and text. As a result, using and encouraging students to use multimodal representations through technology has risen to occupy a legitimate space that has traditionally privileged the role of language in the construction of meaning. According to Darvin (2015) learners communicate through a diversity of ways, therefore, the integration of multimodal practices into the classroom is a recognition of the multiplicity of identities, languages, and cultures of students.