Monday, February 14, 2005

She speaks!

This audio post is a response to a recent post in ElderBob's blog in which he argues that video distracts learners from "the finer points of language". L-derBobEd: On the road again!: In the audio post, you will hear me reading an excerpt from an article I wrote on this subject some years ago.(The text appears below the console) Not very effective use of audio, I agree. It can only get better! I'm also posting it as embedded audio temporarily — as soon as I've looked at Nate's tutorial I'll try to unembed it.

In this article I discuss how the visual element in video can be fully exploited in viewing tasks. I aim to show that the pictures are far from accessory, that as an integral part of the whole message they can be used to facilitate and supplement listening comprehension as well as to prompt exploration of what lies below and around the words uttered. Video relays language in all its glorious context and that context can be used, the visual element being enlisted as the learner's ally, not ignored or treated as a distracting blur of colour and movement that interferes with comprehension.. The more we capitalise on the power of the pictures through tasks that encourage the learner to use the visual information to aid and reinforce linguistic comprehension the better equipped the learner will be to deal with sound and vision in real-life contexts.

1 comment:

elderbob - the blog boss said...

I'm a bit late to listen to your post. I appreciate your response and indeed, this two posts together are a part of what makes blogs enjoyable.

I did not intend to state that visual always distracts the learner from hearing an aural lesson. However, it that particular video, a couple of things were going on. One was that it was very experimental for me. The .avi file that I used for the video is actually a repetitive set of very short .avi clips of the same scene. It's all I had that fit with that particular music. My intent was to get something which a point could be made and a discussion started. I felt, and think I still do, that in this case, the "bland" video causes the listener to listen more closely to the words of the song (er...poem).

I don't think either of us is "right" or "wrong", but I do think our discussion brings a lot of thought to our self-awareness of how sound and visual interplay in our learning abiilities.

Another thing that was going on in this video, was my experiment with sound. The drums in the background were a "free" drum loop of which there are literally thousands on the internet (there are also bass guitar and even lead guitar "loops" that can be copied and freely used under open source liscense. One of the awesome aspects of video is that of adding audio that can be taped together in multiple channels to make it into a sound that brings the picture more to life. What if i had started the film by having the sound of the cars enter from the left and exit to the right. Would that have given the reader more of a feeling of movement. What about if I substituted car horn sounds for all the "beep, beeps" in the song. Would that have changed the overall feeling of the poem.

Truth is, it was never much more than a first attempt at "multi-media".

There is no doubt in my mind, that if all the folks in this group gathered together here, in a year, we will have all added finesse to our skills at multi-media users. Sometimes, one person's tinkering about can lead to two other people developing much better ideas about potentials. I think and hope that is what has really happened.

Again, I truly appreciate your comments and would love to discuss them further with you anytime. I think your area of expertise is one in which much could be accomplished by the judicious use of multi-media.

Who knows, a year from now you may have a cadaver choir singing "beep,beep,mmmmm, beep, beep.....yeah!".


PS. Keep up the great work.