A medium for me, a medium for you.

I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from reading all the awesome blogs posted this week. I found it so interested to read the varying opinions on different media and preferred media when it comes to learning and teaching. I found that I was able to connect with a lot of classmates on some or many different ideas.

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dane Vandeputte Flickr via Compfight cc

Just like Liz and Kelsie I have to admit that I lean more towards text as a medium in which I prefer to learn from. Bates provides strong evidence as to why text has proven to stand the test of time. I liked that Bates commented on text as as essential medium for academic knowledge.  He mentions that text can provide us with more detail and I immediately thought about how we compare the book to the movie. I have yet to see a movie that is better than the book and I would bet that many of you feel the same way. This is because the book can express details relating to emotions, settings or experiences better than a video can.

One reason I like to learn from text is because I have the ability to go at my own pace and read it over as much as I need in order to understand. I prefer to have paper text to read from so that I can highlight, make notes and write questions in the margins as I read. I find that this helps me remember and understand what I am reading more. I must admit that although I prefer text I do not consider myself a reader. I don’t think I have finished a novel for my own reading pleasure since 2012 – I know…that’s insane (and a tad embarrassing). But I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise after saying I’m not a reader.

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: matsuyuki Flickr via Compfight cc

In terms of audio I can see the plus to creating it and using it, especially for students who may have difficulty reading text. Like Jess mentioned in her blog, I can see how it could be useful in learning a language so that you can understand the proper pronunciation of the text, however this would have to be combined with text which might make it difficult for some to manage. I like that you can pause and rewind audio and the fact that it can be taken along with you to listen to with your phone or in your car. I personally can’t seem to jump on board with the podcast learning/listening. I find that it is too difficult for me to focus on audio only which brings me to my next topic, video.

I believe that videos are a great tool for learning, especially when learning certain skills. For example, if you wanted to learn how to work a power tool, a video might prove to be a lot more helpful than a manual. In terms of creating videos it does take time and you need to have the right tools in order to create a quality video that will get the content delivered in an appropriate way. I use a flip class model for my math class and provide video lessons for the students to watch as homework. I like that students can pause and rewind as well as watch the video as many times as they want. I feel like this is beneficial to them especially when it comes time for a final exam and they are expected to recall information from the first chapter. With a video lesson they are able to go back and watch the video to help refresh their memory.

As with everything else the medium we choose will vary depending on the content we are trying to deliver. If the content is more skill based, perhaps a video showing the skill can be used. For language courses maybe audio is the best. Regardless of the medium used, I know that for me I have to be in the right frame of mind in order to learn. I would imagine that this is the same for our students. I don’t know if the medium will make a different if students have other barriers such as lack of sleep, hunger or emotional factors getting in the way. We need to be cognizant of all of these barriers when choosing the appropriate medium and be willing to adapt and be flexible for our students. The better we understand our students and how they learn, the better we are able to choose a medium that is best suited for their learning needs.

Perhaps the best thing for the classroom is to have multiple media available in order to give students a choice. I don’t often provide a lot of choice but when I do it’s usually text and video. Do you offer media choices? How do you do it?


17 thoughts on “A medium for me, a medium for you.

  1. Great walk through of your ideas, Ashley. I think I offer options of media in my classroom, but I think I need to provide more variety at one time instead of specifying the medium my students use. I also utilize far more video than audio. That’s for sure. Thanks for the questions to prompt my thinking.


  2. Thanks for your honesty! As a reading teacher, I’m interested to hear what you think might help you become a reader? Anything? What made you finish the novel in 2012?
    I also would love to hear more about your flipped classroom model. How are the students liking it? Are they “doing” their homework? Have they given you any feedback that has helped improve your practice? Love this! Way to go!


    • There’s a few reasons I feel I’m not a reader. I seem to get bored or distracted very easily so the book has to be a fairly easy read that hooks me right away. I have one author that I like to read – Jodi Picoult. I find that her books are easy to read and engage in topics that are controversial like a school shooting in the book Nineteen Minutes http://bit.ly/2iZHVAP.

      The biggest barrier to my lack of reading for pleasure right now is that I feel like I am on information overload. At the end of the day I don’t want to make my brain work anymore, I’d prefer to relax and watch a house hunting show or the food network. Between teaching, taking two grad classes and having two toddlers I just can’t make myself find the time to read. Hopefully when I’m done in April I’ll be able to pick up a book again. I might have to make it my goal to get through a book or two this summer. I asked for a few books for Christmas and I got them, so they are waiting to be read – Girl on the Train, Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) and All the Light We Cannot See. Wish me luck!


      • I read Girl on the Train and All the Light We Cannot See, you should be hooked by those! I agree that I struggle to sit down to read while taking classes, I felt the same in my undergrad.


    • Also, in regards to the flipped classroom I find that there is a learning curve with the students when they start the flip class. We have had two weeks of the flipped model and most have made the adjustment. Others are still trying to figure out that I’m not actually going to teach in class so they have to watch the video at home. A few students have learned the hard way that if they don’t watch the videos outside of class and choose to watch them in class when they should be working on the assigned questions that they are missing out on an big opportunity to ask me questions and help them. I think it makes a big difference that it is a grade 11 pre-calculus class, so the students are pretty motivated for the most part.


  3. Great post, as per usual Ashley! You and Jessica are right about audio helping with learning a language. I know when I was trying to learn italian at the same time as you for eci 831, I appreciated the combination of audio with spelling to learn new words. I guess it is the combination of mediums that works best rather than one by itself. Thanks for sharing!


    • I automatically thought of using Duolingo and Mango language to help me lear Italian when Jess made that comment. If I didn’t hear the audio I would have never known how to pronounce certain sounds in Italian. It was a big help having the audio with the text.


  4. I also am a text learner, however I do love books, and seldom read a magazine or graphic because I find them too busy. I agree with your last thought- the reality is that each of us learn differently, and to be effective and reach as many learners as possible, I think we have to provide many different mediums.


    • Having said that I sort of feel like the idea of providing different mediums might be one of those easier said than done. I feel like for most things we could easily find text and then video or audio to support it. It’s just a matter of making sure the information is somewhat similar so that students who are choosing text aren’t missing out on something that is presented via video.


  5. Great post Ashley. I am also a text learner. I find I also do best with paper copy so I can highlight and write in the margins too. I find it difficult in this class when the articles are all online. If I don’t get a chance to print them out it takes me a lot longer when I have to respond to them.

    Do you find that you spend more time planning or making videos with your flipped classroom model?


    • I haven’t found that I am spending too much more time making the videos. I find that it takes me about 45 minutes to prep the handouts and make the video which is about how much time I would spend teaching the actual lesson start to finish live in class with all the questions students have. I have handouts already created but I have had to take them and put them into a SMART Notebook so I can record my video on the SMARTboard. I figure that once I make all the videos I should be able to reuse them for the most part from year to year making minor adjustments as I go so I’m hoping it’ll save me some prep in the long run.


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