Those colds I wrote about last week? Through some bizarre twist of biology, they’ve morphed into stomach flu. 0/10 do not recommend.
I am approaching this week’s blog entry with a large amount of bias: I am an English teacher. I teach “text”.
But, as I tell my students, text means a whole lot of things. According to the English Language Arts Curriculum, a text is:
…any form of communication, whether oral, written, visual, or multimedia (including digital media), that constitutes a coherent, identifiable unit or artefact (e.g., poem, poster, conversation, model) with a definable communicative function. It refers to printed communications in their varied forms; oral communicating, including conversations, speeches, dramatizations; and visual communications such as illustrations, video, and computer displays.
So when Bates classifies “text” as simply print media, I’m working against my prior knowledge.
However, I am intimately familiar with text, as Bates describes it. My first love is reading. I have read thousands of books, stories, poems, plays. Books are my one true love (sorry, Nathan). Books are the reason I pursued an English degree and am currently teaching English. What better job is there than to teach what you love?
To hear my mother describe it, I began reading at two years old. Apparently, I had Dr Seuss’s A Great Day for Up memorized.
But that creates an interesting juxtaposition: I had memorized through audio rather than print. Hm.
My first “real” chapter books were my mother’s copies of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, which introduced me to all kinds of colloquialisms like jalopy and dungarees. These were quite frequently mispronounced by me, which created never ending laughter for my parents. Again, the juxtaposition of audio and print. Hm.
As for auditory, I’ve begun listening to podcasts while on maternity leave, just to have some noise and other adult voices. Stuff You Should Know is a current favourite of mine. Lots of interesting things to hear, but like Sarah, I find I don’t learn anything. It’s too easy to tune out because there’s no reinforcement of the material, as Bates discusses. Sure hearing about the origins of quinoa is interesting, but do I remember anything from it? Nope.
Another juxtaposition of audio and text. I’m noticing a pattern…
So then, what about video? I love video. I’m a frequent purveyor of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc. But what I find is that more often than not, I have subtitles turned on. I find it easy to understand what is going on when I can see and hear what is happening. Maybe that speaks more for my advancing age than anything else, but another piece of the pattern: audio and visual and text. Hm.
And we reach computing. It seems to be the amalgamation of all of the above media: “it can combine the pedagogical characteristics of text, audio, video and computing in an integrated manner” (Bates, 2015, 7.5.4). Seems like the perfect solution, no?
Yes and no. I do spend a lot of my (non-maternity leave) days on a computer, interacting with audio, video, and text, whether researching content for a class, modeling, or just exploring. However, using a computing method of teaching/learning requires due diligence and constant double checking.
Finally, social media. Ah, yes. The boon and bane of my existence. I use social media for, well, everything. I crowdsource questions, communicate with my parents who live 3000km away and keep up with the news (today’s Reddit is tomorrow’s Facebook). I really enjoy the collaborative atmosphere of social media and it combines a lot of the previous media. It almost seems a culmination of the other media.
Again, it has its drawbacks, as it can be a time suck and disseminate false information as truth (fake news), as well as create hostile spaces. It takes a bit of teaching and learning in order to use it well and effectively.
But that’s the same with any of the other types of media: they take time to learn thoroughly.
So, to conclude, all of these types of media are intimately linked together, through one way or another. All of that validates the definition of text from the curriculum: it is all this and more.
If you’ve read this far, thanks.
I leave you with a question: how do you decide which type of media to use?