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Andres Reyes

"Multimodality? Let me Google that..."

3 min read

Reflection on Reading Images: Multimodality, Representation and New Media


(Gunther Kress)


            Gunther Kress does an awesome job of breaking down the effects and differences in learning from ‘old-school’ writing and comprehension from paper media to comprehension via the screen in his piece Reading Images: Multimodality, Representation and New Media.  Kress discusses how different media can shape or change how we interpret situations.  From simple change in voice deflection or a change in dialogue tone, to changes in visual media (paper or technological); Kress explains how these effects affect our comprehension as learners.



I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have to Google the meaning of ‘Multimodality’ upon first seeing the word in the title.  After reading its definition, I understood what Kress was trying to get across in his piece on multimodality.  Multimodality has everything to do with how we represent, interpret and learn via media.


Kress uses an example of explaining a nucleus of a cell.  It may seem like a simple task to verbally explain how a nucleus works within a cell or even verbally describe how a nucleus looks, but learners will have different interpretations.  A few misinterpreted words can mean a completely different perception of what is being explained. (link to hypothesis)Other students agreed that a visual representation of a nucleus would lead to a better understanding of what it looks like and its function in a cell.



Kress even explains how a simple movement in a teacher’s body, complete with involving speech, can get a point across to a student.  A technique I find myself doing also automatically and something that has helped me recently in a classroom. 




We all go through life with different interpretations on multiple subjects.  We interpret speech, visual media and written work differently. This is our nature…  Kress put it in perspective that as technology evolves how we get our point or lesson across to someone also evolves.  New media can help us see points, lessons, subjects, etc. from another’s perspectives.  I mean I used Google to interpret what 'multimodality' even meant, who else hasn't googled subjects?




Link to the reading...