Screencasting: Foregrounding Aurality/Orality in the FYC Classroom Sarah Moseley ENGL 820 4/26/11
Introduction Aurality/orality is important in the FYC classroom. Today, we commonly have students: Give oral presentations of their work Discuss in large and small groups Work in small groups for peer review Read aloud Answer and ask questions Student-teacher conferences However, writing is too often regarded as “not simply one way of knowing; it is the way” (Dunn 15).
This type of multimodality is valuable for several reasons: Helps students make sense of their experience and everyday lives Draws on a frequent form of communication in student culture Respects students’ “rhetorical sovereignty” – print cultures are not privileged as much over oral cultures (Selfe 642).
History of Aurality/Oralityin the U.S. University Many scholars confirm that writing has only recently become dominant in the U.S. university (Russell, Berlin, Johnson, Halloran). In the early 1800s, Western classical tradition prevailed, with recitations, orations, debates, etc. In the later 1800s, with the rise of industrialization, preparation for specialized professional work became more important. This type of work relied increasingly on writing. As writing culture waxed, oral culture waned in the U.S. university.
Where are we today? If we privilege print culture, we: Perpetuate a binary division between writing and speaking (Biber, Tannen); Teach a narrow understanding of language and literacy (Kress); Limit our students’ ability to use multiple modes common in everyday and professional activities; Value print culture over oral culture, which may work against our students, who come from a variety of backgrounds (Dunn, Royster).
Screencasting: a tool for change While the university still largely privileges print culture, FYC teachers continue to use aural/oral pedagogical methods. One technology that allows teachers to expand on their use of aurality/orality in the classroom is screencasting. Screencasting is a type of digital recording technology that creates a video of a selected area on the computer screen. Many screencasts contain audio narration.
Teacher usage Teachers can use screencasting in multiple ways: Giving students feedback on assignments (Vincelette) Creating short tutorials or instructional videos Showing how to insert a header or use the Purdue OWL website Answering student questions with visual video assistance Screencasting has been used to the advantage of teachers in traditional and distance FYC classrooms, with positive response from students.
Student usage Most sources focus on teacher use of screencasting, but there are also rich possibilities for students: Creating oral versions of traditionally written assignments Transforming written assignments into an oral medium Giving classmates feedback in peer review Demonstrating knowledge by labeling the parts of their essay thesis, evidence, transition Responding to discussion forum questions, holding asynchronous conversations.
Limitations While screencasting offers numerous benefits, there are some limitations: Technology access – users must have computer, recording and internet access. Electronic assignments - to make a screencast, the speaker comments upon documents on the computer screen. Students with hearing or speaking impairments may not be able to fully participate. Learning curve – screencasting programs are generally user-friendly, but any new technology requires some study. Recording limitation – different screencasting programs allow for different lengths of recording, but none that I’ve found allow for infinitely long screencasts.
12 Screencasting Tools Screenjelly Screenpresso Screenr Screentoaster Screencastle Webinaria CamStudio Debut from NCH software Faculte Freescreencast Jing Screencast-O-matic Of these 12 tools, Jing and Debut seem most promising to me. Both allow for screen and audio capture. Jing is easier to learn than NCH, but has a shorter recording time limit (5 minutes).
Conclusion Multimodal composition draws on students’ experience, develops a range of critical thinking and expression skills, and places value upon non-print cultures. Screencasting is a tool for teachers and students to increase the multimodality of the FYC classroom by foregrounding aurality/orality in the classroom.
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