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Planning to Test the Framework in Practice

Written by Lanette Jimerson
September 22, 2011

The MAP Committee came together in April for a meeting at CCCC in Atlanta. Our goal was to network with others at CCCC and to refine our framework. Continuing to build on our meetings, the feedback we received at the NWP Annual meeting, and our review of student work, we felt we had developed a sufficiently solid working framework that we could take it out into practice for testing. In developing our framework, we believed assessment could and should address recurring elements of multimodal composing. We identified five recurring elements: context, artifact, substance, process management and technical skills, and habits of mind.

  1. Context is the world around the artifact, around the creation of the artifact, and how the artifact enters and fits into the world. Authors-designers-writers attend to the context of a multimodal artifact when they make decisions about genre, along with considerations of where and how communication enters this world. Authors-designers-writers consider the constraints, affordances, and opportunities, given purpose, audience, composing environment, and delivery mode.
  2. The artifact is a consumable product that can stand-alone. It contains a coherent message with a clear focus created through an appropriate use of structure, medium and technique. The artifact identifies the connection between resources, composers, and ideas. The artifact may demonstrate habits of mind such as innovation, creativity, and critical stance.
  3. As a domain, substance accounts for the overall quality and significance of the ideas developed as writer-designers and audiences experience an
    artifact.  The substance of a piece is related to an artifact’s message as well as the contextual elements of purpose and audiences.  However, the domain of “substance” encourages evaluators to consider elements beyond artifact and context.
  4. Process management and technical skills refer to the skills, capacities, and processes involved in planning, creating, and circulating multimodal
    artifacts.  Creating multimodal products involves the technical skills of production using the chosen digital tools, but it also includes larger project management skills as well as the ability to collaborate with others in diverse situations.  Over time, individuals learn to more effectively control the skills and processes of producing and circulating digital content.
  5. Habits of mind are ways that writer-designers engage in active learning.  These habits can be cultivated both inside and outside of school.  Habits of mind are patterns of behavior or attitudes that reach beyond the artifact being created at the moment.  They develop over time and can be nurtured through self-sponsored learning as well as teacher-facilitated activities.  Examples include
    creativity, persistence, risk-taking, mindfulness, and engagement.  

Sharing the Framework

As with any framework, ours notwithstanding, its benefit to a wider audience is only theoretical until the framework is shared with educators and students engaged in multimodal composing. Elyse lead the path to sharing our framework with educators at the Digital Youth Network in Chicago. The discussion resulted in a critical element not addressed in our current working framework: How do we assess performance techniques such as speaking skills or musical skills in multimodal composing? Several multimodal products, such as digital storytelling and voice threads, require composers to perform with their voices. Composers record their voices multiple times in order to produce the appropriate pronunciations, inflections, flow and tone.

Over the summer, we planned to engage in conversations with summer youth programs, professional groups, and policy makers to see if this framework of domains included the range of areas of assessment interest that our publics name. Our framework is a guide and as such, some committee members will engage in conversations about the entire framework, while other members will discuss one or two elements.

We welcome you to join the discussion. How would you use our framework to discuss the development of a multimodal project? Are there elements that need to be added? Where does performance fit within our framework?

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