I’ve been a longtime fan of StoryCorps. The pieces are just right in length and have a common theme that ties the stories together. The piece that was highlighted in this week’s course work was entitled “Spacemen”. The piece began with a story around H.G. Well’s broadcast of the War of the Worlds that was taken literally in the late 30’s. It reminded me of when I was a kid and used to listen to programs that were broadcast on the radio- everything from dramas to Muhammed Ali fights. I love the medium of radio and spoken word. It makes you use your imagination and really makes for a more meaningful experience than when accompanied by visuals. Similar to reading a book- you have to construct what’s going on in your head without the benefit of visual information.
Our theme this week is multimodality. I had to look it up. “Multimodality describes communication practices in terms of the textual, aural, linguistic, spatial, and visual resources – or modes – used to compose messages.” So StoryCorps uses aural, and to some extent, linguistic modes to create its message. But I would argue that the listener is contributing their own “modes” to complete the message. and I think we connect more and get a richer experience when we contribute to the “making of meaning” of something. Filling in the gaps, as it were. I think we get so bombarded by so much media- at some point it all becomes dreck. I think we respond better when we are faced with an experience that requires engagement and effort to fill in the gaps. In some respect, I think that’s why TedTalks are so effective. It’s a simple, repeatable format. A person on stage and their message. You have time to really focus on the person and process their message.
I think this directly connects with learning and teaching in that it’s important to require the learner to fill in the gaps. You can’t spoon feed material. Without learner engagement and contribution you can’t expect to have achieved learning as the end result. Let them bring their contribution to the final message.