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.