Artistic literacy involves multimodal capacities moving beyond the visual, challenging humans to respond to an ever-changing world with feeling, intuition, playfulness, resilience, and imagination. This collaboration involves how we, as art teacher educators, use social media in innovative ways that stretch and strengthen multimodality in lesson design. Specifically, we explore our process of using the popular blog site Tumblr as a format to design what we have termed “tumbling lessons” with preservice art educators. Our approach to teaching-learning lesson design was inspired by Tumblr’s use of seven distinct modalities: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, video.
What might occur if each of these icons became an opportunity to play within the structure of a lesson design? How might preservice teachers begin to engage with difficult to grasp educational constructs, like multimodality, in generative and creative ways? When used as curricular prompts, the Tumblr icons provide a concrete way to think through the varied and complex possibilities inherent in multimodal lesson design. Further, documentation and assessment need not be limited to photography or text-- instead, videos or online chats that recap conversation snippets can energize our thinking.