Digital pens and multimodality, revisited

At the 6th International Conference on Multimodality I gave a paper on behalf of Muriah Umoquit and myself on using digital pens in a research context for drawing.

Using digital pens – link to prezi

The paper summarised our experiences with using digital pens. Three conference highlights related to educational technology were:

  • Cheryl Ball talked about a multimodal journal, Kairos, which, breaking with the tradition of publishing articles with static writing and images, uses multimodal forms such as hypertext and multimedia such as videos, links and web-pages. The premise is that each article chooses the ‘right’ kind of modes, which can best communicate the given argument, rather than the journal’s format restricting the mode of the argument. They work with authors to use various digital tools to produce their multimodal texts. See for instance one of the articles organised as a website using the metaphor of the Shakespeare’s rose relating to the theme of definitions.
  • Marthe Burgess from Norway talked about a school project in which students were asked to construct a video narrative (as opposed to a traditional essay). In this case, students producing ‘multimodal’ texts a bit like when our students in Engineering or in Music are asked to produce wikis ( websites ), in which the form (site design) of the site is an integral element in the way the content is constructed and understood.
  • One of the articles that I read in preparation for the presentation by Luff et al (2007) entitled, “Augmented Paper: Developing Relationships between Digital Content and Paper“, which examines the ‘affordances of paper’ as a form of technology, arguing how versatile it is and why we still don’t have a paperless office. One of its features is that it is very mobile . Luff and colleagues’ project looked at, probably before the appearance of QR codes, how paper can be augmented to link to digital media. I just love the arguments as the digital pen operates the same way, it combines the graphical with the digital in a symbiotic way. (You get a drawing or written note, which can be tapped by the pen which evokes a digital audio file. Or you can digitise the written note or drawing in the form of a pencast, which can be played on the computer.)



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