Last week I met with three English professors to chat about the use of images and rich media in the classroom. In this roundtable discussion, Anne Charity-Hudley, Arthur Knight, and Sharon Zuber share how they integrate images and sounds into English, Film Studies, and Linguistics courses. We discuss how the advent of websites like Flickr and YouTube allowed for easy and efficient access to media, how shifts in technology permit students to contribute examples of texts and media to their courses, and how using rich media in the classroom might lead to more student-centered teaching.
Incorporating Media Found By Students
Anne, Arthur, and Sharon share examples of students who have contributed images, sounds, or video clips in class. These examples show how students make connections between the concepts they learn in class and the media they consume. Anne sees this as an opportunity to bring students’ authentic voices into the classroom. Sharon and Arthur agree that words themselves are images, and that an image analysis or film production is similar to a literary analysis and the writing process. As a film scholar, Arthur says he has “qualified mixed feelings” about texts that are representations of a representation. For example, he recalls a viral video that may have come through one of your social network feeds recently, The Greatest Speech Ever Made. While it is undoubtedly a poignant mix of modern images, music, and Charlie Chaplin’s final speech from The Great Dictator, as Arthur points out, it is not The Great Dictator. Arthur suggests that conversations about text integrity, critical analysis, and student agency should be a part of the class discussion.
Difficult to Keep Up
While media offers rich teaching opportunities, it is difficult for professors (and students) to keep up with the bombardment of media and its evolving formats. Anne, Arthur, and Sharon agree that when using rich media in the classroom, teachers must spend time teaching about the technology. However, because this can take time away from other topics, the decision to spend classroom time teaching a tool resembles a “cost-benefit analysis.”
If you would like to have a conversation about teaching, learning, and technology with your colleagues, let us know.