I admit it. I’m biased.

Those colds I wrote about last week? Through some bizarre twist of biology, they’ve morphed into stomach flu. 0/10 do not recommend.

Source: Giphy

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.

Source: QuotesWave

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.

Source: Momfilter

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…

Source: Open Clip Art

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.

Is that awesome website still up? No?!

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.

Source: Makeawebsitehub.com

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.

Source: Giphy

If you’ve read this far, thanks.


I leave you with a question: how do you decide which type of media to use?


19 thoughts on “I admit it. I’m biased.

  1. Ahh. Good old dungarees! To answer your question, I usually choose media based on the content or skill, just like Bates suggests. Sometimes I choose more appropriately than other times, but I usually try for a mix of media with any content. Other times I choose media based on the quality. (Is the video of Ancient Rome more engaging, thorough or accurate than the text?) I wonder if our ECI 834 class will primarily choose text as their favourite medium as they have had success in school learning this way. Would another group answer differently and consistently?

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    1. It’s interesting, I would’ve thought yes, because that method of learning seems to have worked well for us (university educated, gainfully employed…), but reading through other blogs, it seems no! There’s a real variety, which is really neat!


  2. I think I typically go for something that Sarah identified and that is…quality! I feel that face to face learning has a particularly strong presence, so if I feel confident that I can explain something about as good as anyone else, I’m going to tackle it myself. However, there are some topics (many in science) that can be best explained through video as they are incredibly abstract and the video can help paint a picture for students. I end up with a mix of media in my class as I spend a lot of time continually trying to track down the single best option for each topic and that leads me to many different media options.

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    1. For sure. Science definitely lends itself very well to a mix of different media. In some ways, I’m jealous of the really neat ways to teach concepts. I have yet to find a cool video to teach how to write an essay 😦


  3. I like that you discussed the Social Media aspect of media because it is beginning to impact our society in ways we probably never thought it would 5 years ago. It’s important to be able to sift through all the information and decide what is fact and what is not. We need our students to understand this as well because they are engaged with social media from a very young age.

    When I try to pick a form of media I am also looking for quality. I find that sometimes text is the best way to get something across, especially when combined with writing. I firmly believe in the idea that when we write something down we have an easier time remembering it. Videos are great, but for me personally I know I zone out and find it hard to really take in what is being said. If I really want to take a message away I have to write down notes as I watch. In my classroom the medium definitely depends on what I am trying to accomplish.

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    1. I have to write notes to remember too. This is most vividly illustrated by grocery shopping: my husband will tell me what we need. I arrive at the store without writing it down and wander aimlessly for hours, trying to remember and reminding myself WRITE IT DOWN.


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  5. Great post, Kelsie. I choose media depending on my purpose. What is the best way to teach or assist understanding of the concept I’m trying to teach? Often times, I use media myself as a way to learn about a concept that I will teach – sometimes text and sometimes video. PS – I love your Michael Bolton gif with the chest pat. Well done.

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  6. I want to know how many novels you have time to read while on mat leave! Many? Any?
    I love that you brought up subtitles on shows/movies being a combination of audio, video AND text. I hadn’t thought about that. But honestly, if I wanted to learn a new language, that might be how I chose to do it. Watching a different language television show with subtitles on. It’s just like Rosetta Stone right?! Thanks for the post, and reminding us all about social media and how it fits into this as well!

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  7. I loved your blog this week Kelsie! So easy to read and absolutely enticing! I agree with you – text is my go-to for personal and professional learning. Also, side note, Nancy Drew stories were my first novels as well! Thanks for sharing your wonderful post!

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  8. Ahh, Nancy Drew- those were the days! I am with you, I love to read. I still cannot handle podcasts or audiobooks- I need to see the text in front of me to follow. I actually never considered myself too much of a user of technology- but I definitely spend a ton of time researching stuff for work- and yes I’ll admit it, Facebook…

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  9. Great post Kelsie! I try and choose a medium that best suits my purpose and the students that I’m teaching. I think it is important to consider who we are teaching to and that what works for one class might not work as well for another.

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