Edited by Winnie, Charlene, Pesy & Rachel

Have you ever tried to make a video or audio with your classmates in English classes? What impression did these experiences give you? This type of class participation activities in the field of digital multimodal composing (DMC) has drawn attention in language teaching and there has been a growing interest in applying DMC in EFL classrooms since it can make students more engaged and motivated in language learning.

What is digital multimodal composing (DMC)?

According to Jiang (2017), it is defined as “a textual practice which uses various digital tools to produce texts by combining multiple semiotic modes that include forms such as image, word and soundtrack.” Although DMC has been applied in several contexts, there are limited explorations in the affordances of DMC for EFL learning. In order to find out the affordances of applying DMC in EFL contexts especially in China, Jiang (2017) designed a study. Here are some basic information about it:

  • Context: In a university-based EFL curriculum in China.
  • Participants: 5 teachers and 22 students
  • Duration: One year
  • Research Content: Students were asked to make five videos by using the digital tools and multimodal resources introduced by teachers.
  • Data collection: Collected written reflections, one from each student and each teacher, and conducted individual interviews among teachers and students.

Based on this research, there are three main affordances of using DMC in teaching: “technological affordances”, “educational affordances” and “social affordances” (Jiang, 2017,p.416).

1. Technological affordances

*Recording learners’ EFL performance for revision/ exhibition
By transforming their oral and written work into digital records, learners can replay and revise them repeatedly. They can also exhibit their target language to a massive audience, which motivates students to try harder with their videos.

* Transmediating meanings across different semiotic modes
DMC makes it easier for students to make meaning beyond the language level. They can produce videos with on-screen narration and background music, which makes shy speakers feel more comfortable. They can also use different forms to make an adaptation of literary texts.

2. Educational affordances

* Learners experience new classroom learning
Incorporating DMC into language learning classrooms would help students better understand the meanings that the others are trying to convey through the multimodal resources used. Hence, it will be easier for them to participate in the leaning activities.

* Learners learn English not only in the classrooms
Learners can search the Internet for more information, which is not included in the textbook content. DMC makes it possible for learning to take place in an authentic online context.

* Learners learn multiliteracies skills in DMC
By using DMC in language learning, learners can develop their language skills as well as other literacies skills. Their creative expression is valued in the DMC programme.

3. Social affordances

* Facilitating peer interaction and S-T interaction
In the DMC programme, every language learner can take the own role of an expert and make some contributions in peer interaction. Students also take the active role to present and talk when they share about the videos that they made, compared to a traditional S-T interaction where learners are always listeners and passive recipients in language classes.

* Facilitating civic participation
DMC makes it possible for students to participate in a socially authentic context. Students can make videos about current affairs and post them on the Internet to raise the public’s awareness. At this stage, language learner is also a civic participant.

The affordances enhance EFL learning at micro and macro levels

At the micro level, through real-time replay and self-paced revision, DMC offers opportunities for students to learn and use their English in a more authentic environment, which leads students to hold a more positive attitude toward English learning; they start to relate English to their interests and lives, become confident and enjoy the sense of being recognized.

At the macro level, a learning space is created by DMC for students to form other abilities. When students make their own decisions in the progress of textual production and learn literacy skills, a sense of autonomy and competence are developed. Through expressing their thoughts and participating in civic activities, students derive a sense of meaningful purpose. Due to their peer interaction, some even develop a strong sense of belonging to the community of EFL learners.

A girl creating her digital story as homework is a good example of DMC

Worries about DMC

It is undoubted that DMC itself benefits students a lot in terms of speaking and writing by offering various affordances. In Jiang’s paper, he created a relatively ideal situation for integrating DMC into the EFL curriculum. However, in reality, teachers may be reluctant to apply DMC to their teaching for the following reasons:

1.Teachers themselves need to have a thorough understanding of DMC otherwise they cannot explain the concept to the students and the students may struggle to follow the concept during their tasks. If teachers have not been trained beforehand or have been asked to conduct DMC without help from experts, it would be very difficult to achieve the expected affordances of DMC.

2.The assessment of DMC assignment may also be difficult. Due to the use of different digital or non-digital materials used in students’ tasks, teachers will receive various kinds of work. Therefore, setting a universal rubric for the assignment could be very challenging. What if some new elements are found in  one assignment but not in the others? Will the assignment be awarded extra points? Also, how can we decide the portion of total score that each element should account for? Therefore, more efforts should be made in terms of this area.

3.In Jiang’s research (2017), the students he studied are of different ages but all have the same intermediate level of English language proficiency. However, in reality, teachers often have a class of students who are of the same age but with different levels of English. If the students are classified based on their English proficiency, the assignments completed by groups which consists of relatively low-level students may not perform as well as the others. When there is a contrast, the affective filter might actually increase for some students who feel inferior to others, so they might be less interested in the class.

1. Have you ever experienced any DMC activities in language learning? How do you feel about those DMC activities?
2. If you were a teacher, would you combine DMC with traditional teaching methods?  How would you do?
3. In your opinion, what are the benefits of DMC, or what difficulties might teachers have when using DMC?


This entry was posted in DMC.

43 thoughts on “A New Approach to Language Learning — Digital Multimodal Composing

  1. Thanks for your group’s sharing on DMC ^^

    I have experienced an in-class activity related to DMC before. I asked my students to create a short drama according to a short play (one A4 paper length) in their textbooks. Some students were responsible for filming, some were for photos shooting, some were for being narrators & characters & some were for moving props e.g. chairs & desks for different scenes. Both my students and I felt happy in that English lesson. However, after the lesson, I received a complaint from a girl about a boy in that class took some photos of her laughing face. I had to handle that complaint and it hindered my further use of DMC.

    I think I will combine DMC with traditional teaching methods more in my English lessons, especially speaking lessons. I observe that most of my students are not confident with their speech. They tend to speak English to the teacher instead of speak in front of the whole class. I think I can ask them to produce their own presentation video in order to build up their self-confidence and communicative skills e.g. eye contact, gesture and posture in the video clips.

    In your opinion, I think the benefits of DMC are the following:
    1. It makes English lessons more interesting, meaningful, task-based and applicable
    2. Students think they are doing something which aligns with the global trend and most of teenagers’ interests
    3. Students can have more preparation before they produce their final presentation video clips in which they can present their best

    And the difficulties teachers might have when using DMC are the following:
    1. There will be discipline problems as some naughty and immature students will make fun of others using their electronic device
    2. Teachers need to prepare a lot before using DMC but the reality is that Hong Kong teachers do not have time for developing a thorough understanding on DMC
    3. If most of the students are shy, quiet and not presentable, teachers need to help them overcome their shyness and fear of making public speech video clips. This is not an easy job.
    4. As mentioned in point 3, if the students have been shy and quiet for a long time, they will not perform well in front of the camera as it is very likely for them to lack confidence and different communicative skills. (Their English levels may not be low). Teachers need to prepare a lot in advance to make sure they are well-equipped before producing their video clips. Otherwise, they may have a negative attitude to DMC in the future.

    • hi,Ivory. Thank you for sharing your own experience. I think you provide us a new perspective that we need to consider the students’ personalities when applying DMC in class. Indeed, we may face some unexpected situations since younger students are easy to conflict with others or too shy to complete the task. But maybe helping them build a good personality is also what a teacher should do. Although it may take more energy to conduct activites, it is also worthwhile if they are aware of their mistakes or overcome shyness through DMC, right?

    • Thanks for this interesting comment – you’ve summed up very nicely some of the benefits and challenges of DMC. Perhaps one way to overcome student shyness would be to give them the option of providing a voiceover – i.e. not insisting that they capture their own image on the video, but provide the voiceover to other images instead.

  2. Thanks for sharing the information about DMC with us.

    Refer to the first question, I think I experienced DMC in language learning during 2-year post-secondary education. It was the final year project. My teammates and I organised a concert for some famous singers. One of the requirements was to tape a video in our first language (i.e. Cantonese) to promote the concert. Later on, we had to dub into the target language (i.e. English) plus adding some background music to make it more appealing and watchable.

    On the one hand, this type of activities is very interesting. I also benefited from the activity. As I kept practising my lines (containing different sentence structures and some difficult words), I acquired those linguistic elements. Apart from it, I think as a representation of introverts, the activity somehow reduced my anxiety and stress since I didn’t have to do a presentation in front of my classmates but to show my video only. It was a big relief for me.

    On the other hand, this kind of activities is rather time-consuming. Take the experience as an example. My group mates and I had to discuss different many things before moving to the next stage (shooting the video), for example, the plots of the promotion video, the lines for each character and the narrator and the English version of the lines, the customs, the tools and the selection of a high-quality camera. During the shooting stage, we spent a lot of time on addressing various difficulties such as technical issues, finding the best angle for each shot, the standing point of every character and the use of optimum volume. Until the last stage (which was to present the video to the audience), we had gone through too many problems and needed a rather long time to fix them.

    I think the similar type of activities may not be suitable for primary students in Hong Kong. As teachers have very tight teaching schedules on a daily basis, schools or/and they may not approve of this type of time-consuming assessment methods/activities. Moreover, some teachers, especially the “experienced” ones, may not be very familiar with the technological devices, and a certain number of them are even resistant to the devices. I don’t think they would be able to help students solve technical problems. Also, from the perspectives of parents, some of them, who are conservative, may not see the necessity of DMC in teaching and learning. (The information above is based on my observations of different English teachers at a local primary school.)

    However, I think the need for incorporating DMC in teachers’ teaching and students’ learning should be emphasized nowadays. The decision-maker(s) at the school should take this into account and strive for balance for students’ best sake.

    • Hi, Fannie. Thanks for sharing! I think the project you have done before sounds very cool and meaningful hahaha! But you must have been under a lot of pressure when doing this preoject. I agree with you that some activites are quite time-consuming and I think about a question that students may lose interest in some activites because they think those activites are too time-consuming.

    • That sounds like a really interesting project. I like the way that it blends L1 and L2, allowing students to approach the task with the benefit of their L1 as a kind of scaffolding resource, which leads to possibilities for L2 development. The issues that you’ve identified suggest a need to develop skills and confidence of teachers with these kinds of activities and also to try and find space in an already crowded curriculum. One way to do this is to ’embed’ digital multimodal composing alongside more traditional tasks: in my teaching (at a university, not a primary school), we replaced a presentation with a digital video scientific documentary and students appeared to find the digital video much more meaningful.

  3. Thank you guys for your nice sharing!!!
    Combining the DMC into language learning has been an ubiquitous phenomenon in education. From the perspective of teaching patterns, DMC has changed the conventional instruction mode and diversified leanguage teaching patterns and methods. I have registered some online course which are relate to the world civilization and Latin American history. These online courses involve in different cultures and it is normal that many International students gather and discuss. Our professor skillfully exerts the online canvas and flexibly turns boring historical information into meaningful and attractive instruction. Except from setting some basic assignments and quizzes, professor also encourages us to establish personal blog which according to the content of text books, as well as follow students’ interests. I have browsed some blogs of my classmate’s, which really manifest the subtle integration between the DMC and personal interest part. I remember that one of them demonstrated the historical topic about the black slave, and the author purposely chose the background music which matches the theme of his blog (as you mentioned, it could help students express individual attitudes and ideologies) Moreover, I have to acknowledge that our professor also creatively borrowed multimode which attaches to the other genres. She assigned the discussion part as a platform of Twitter and promoted us to expand imagination which suggests us as someone who return back to the certain historical period, and express our opinions based on the seen things. It is a wonderful way to me because it indirectly enhance my literacy ability, especially, this way provides me with larger space for creation and expression.

    For me, provided that I am a teacher, I am going to integrate DMC into my instruction, and mix into the task-based teaching methods. DMC offers a multi-dimensional platform for students to achieve the goal of studying tasks, and it is worthwhile to be used.

    As for the drawbacks of the DMC, I suggest that it is an available method but it might not be applicable to every language level of students, as you mentioned. The size of classroom , the language proficiency of students as well as the suitability of DMC application, all of them should be considered.
    Looking forward to your further discussion! Good job.

  4. Thank you for the sharing,
    In Futian District, Shenzhen, DMC application in language teaching is a very popular trend nowdays. The education bureau encourages teachers to implement technologies into their lessons and investigated in funding schools to be equipped with equipments such as ipad, VR kits. However, according to many teaching shows and real feedbacks from teachers, many teachers are still unwilling to apply DMC in their lessons. Firstly, DMC had very high requirement to funds and settings. Teachers may be scared of “high technology” since it is not as stable as chalk and boards. Secondly, students may be distracted from the contents and focus on the eye-catching equipments. In one of my teaching show, students were obssessed in watching the video and did not finish their writing task in time, resulting in less effective composing.
    In all, DMC is very promising according to previous theoretical studies. However, it still takes a long way to fully play its role in language teaching.

    • Thanks for sharing the realistic example of application of DMC! You are right about that DMC often involves high-technology stuff and schools and teachers may make great effort to use it. Actually,we have already surrounded by many high-tech devices like smart phone. Teachers might overestimate the difficulties of using DMC. We can create really simple DMC task like making a recording by smart phones. So the real problem I think is combining DMC into teaching tests teachers’ creativity!

    • Thanks for this comment. Do you have any suggestions on how we can overcome some of the problems that you’ve raised?

    • Thank you for your sharing of the authentic situation in language teaching via CMD and I would like to share my opinion too.

      As for teachers, maybe schools could provide some training of how to use CMD to teach language in class in a more effective way to teachers. In today’s world, if someone would like to get more useful information, he/she supposed to equip himself/herself with up-to-date new literacies. Only when teachers are not scared of “high technology” can they teach students to apply high technology to language learning.

      As for students, DMC is quite attractive for them to get information and due to the large amount of information maybe sometimes they will get lost and cannot concentrate on the target text. For this, I think maybe the teacher could set some limit to student’s digital devices or the access to the certain websites or texts that are required in the certain class. For example, if there are only apps that teachers and students need in language class, the input that students get from CMD is helpful for language learning.

  5. Thanks for your group’s sharing!

    I once finished a group work about recording a video to show about a pacific topic. At first, it was interesting and new for us to combine the content with technologies. But later, we continuously met challenges in technological problems. For example, we all wanted to take a video like what we thought about, but it turned out that we lack techniques to fulfill our goal. In the end, we gave up some aspect of the video and finished the task. I think most of us would become more familiar with the content and have a deeper understanding of the topic. In order to show the underlying meaning of the topic, we spent a lot of time in thinking about the logic to master it better and present it better.

    For me, DMC will definitely intrigue students’ interests, but meanwhile, it needs time and energy to see the ultimate product. For advanced learners, it may be a good choice to achieve student-centered task. And for beginners, teacher-centered is easier to actualize, like leading students to finish small tasks, instead of the whole project.

    • Yes. Yan, to a certain extent, you are right. DMC sounds interesting to many language learners but integrating DMC into learning a language may take a great deal of time for learners. Based on this concern, educators should adopt different teaching approaches to different levels of students. For example, students in post-secondary education may have more time to explore a language through DMC. Yet, as for students in primary and secondary schools, it is better to give them small and achievable tasks to maintain their motivation for learning.

  6. Thank you so much for your sharing and thanks for our classmates who shared their practical teaching experience which enlightens me a lot.
    I haven’t grown up surrounded with digital tool nor did I have the experience of teaching. So this is a blank space for me. But based on my imagination, I think DMC could be applied to teaching more maturer learners like the level above primary school who are better at controlling themselves. Children now cannot learn in the way we learned before. The purpose is different. It is teachers’ and other stakeholders’ responsibility to cooperate and adapt to new pedagogy for students who are learning in a new era.

  7. DMC is an intriguing way to integrate our language learning with specific tasks, which seems to be viewed from the perspective of the sociocultural context. I feel that DMC could help people express themselves with the three-dimensional, which would turn the expression of meanings into creativeness and imaginativeness instead of monotonous alphabets. The outlook of DMC, I believe, is clear. Because new technologies have dramatically changed our lives, it would gradually become necessary for people to master this new competence for their future life, work, and study.
    But considering the current conditions like the constraints you guys mentioned above, it is hard for us to integrate DMC into learners’ daily language study on a large scale. Anyway, it is a trend and increasingly involved in people’s life. I have never tried to apply DMC into my own teaching and language study, unfortunately. The barrier is that I rarely have the chance to push me to do things with DMC. Perhaps teachers could firstly change their mindsets and become facilitators of DMC.

  8. Thank you for your sharing🌹! I did not experience DMC activities in language teaching before, but I do believe it is worth a try⛽️! In my opinion, one possible method is to ask students to make an interview and upload it to YouTube or other appropriate public platforms online. The specific steps of the activity are as follows:

    a) divide the students into several groups, provide them with topics which are suitable for their English proficiency level, and ask them to select one that they are interested in;
    b) search for relevant information on the Internet and make a poster explaining the topic concisely;
    c) prepare a list of questions about the theme, invite two to three people such as their friends, classmates, and teachers to share their ideas, and make short videos of these interviews;
    d) by applying the materials of the poster and interviews, students need to make a short film (three to five minutes) to introduce, elaborate, and analyze the topic systematically and critically;
    e) upload this film to the virtual space and engage with the interaction with others

    I suppose such kind of activities may arouse students’ interest, motivate them to learn English autonomously, and make them get the sense of achievement because their assignments are exposed to the public and truly meaningful.

    • Thanks for these great ideas. At each of the steps you’ve outlined above, there are lots of opportunities to introduce a specific focus on language as well.

  9. Three years ago, my team members and I decided to made a video as the form of presentation in our German course. We were asked to introduce some famous German brands, and we wrote them and draw the logos on the black borad and made a video to record the explanation of everyone. It was challenging for us to speak German in front of the camera, but we practiced a lot and provided an attractive and meaningful presentation in class.

    If I were a teacher, I would involve this kind of assignment in my class and ask students to form groups and present the knowledge by video as a teacher in class. It helps students improve their sopken skills and check whether they really learn the knowledge. It is motivating to make video and present materials such as pictures and objects to other classmates. But teachers are supposed to guide them and offer advice to make them feel confident of themselves and set some examples in class. The requirements have to be clear, e.g. the length, the knowledge and the form.

    • HI, Evelyn. I also made a French video before for my assignment and it took me a lot of time because I practiced repeatedly in order to perform well in the video, which I NEVER done in class! I suppose teachers should consider lots of elements when using DMC, such as how to use, when to use and what kind of instruction should be offered… Because in fact, DMC also is a big challenge for students’ autonomy. Anyway, it’s nice for us to hold a positive attitude toward DMC! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks for your sharing! Once I have accomplished audio as well as video activities with my classmates for English class. I think DMC is so interesting that it is really a motivating way for students to learn English outside the classroom and can help learners learn to cooperate with other classmates well.
    As to be an English teacher in the future, I appreciate the digital way of DMC and exactly will try to use DMC during my teaching. Also, with the learning experience in literature lesson, I would ask my students to use singing or shooting videos of their role-play to adapt any poems or stories we learned in the textbook. And then share their production in the class.
    As for me, the use of DMC can contribute to activate students’ interest of learing English and get them to interact more in target language in and outside the class. Moreover, it can inspire them have greater imagination and think more deeply of what they have learned in the English lesson.
    However, this way is not as simple as it seems to be in progress. Students should find out spared time and space outside the class to do the activity. As they are at younger age, both the safe problem and digital problem need to be considered by the teacher.

  11. Thanks for your sharing!👍

    I think DMC is not an unfamiliar teaching method in a language class. As for my own learning experiences, I created videos based on the assignment that language teachers made in class a lot of times. However, although I did many times, I still believe that it is a good way for language learners to reinforce their language knowledge.

    Firstly, it can, to some degree, motivate students’ interest in language learning. A lot of students will subconsciously use the language when finishing the digital assignments, like making a video, writing a blog. It is an assignment that will show in public with a lot of fancy icons, images and videos, so students would be interested in exploring them.

    Secondly, it is not a single, dull individual assignment. A lot of tasks require a group of people to cooperate together to finish the task. Through communication, they can help each other, and even for those introvert, they will be more relaxed in those situations.

    But as some classmates commented above, it is difficult for teachers to manage the class, since DMC involved some new techniques which some students would feel amazing and keep talking😔. And the time is another difficult point that teachers need to struggle, for some task involved techniques are too difficult for some students, and they may spend much time in technique problems.

    So it is important for teachers to have some training about DMC before having the class.

  12. The idea of combining advanced digital tools with curriculum design is a challenge for both teachers and students. I think children nowadays have more exposure to digital tools and they have access to digital tools earlier than we were, so sometimes it is not surprised to find that most of them can operate those tools in a very sophisticated way. So, it may pose some pressure on curriculum designers and teachers, because they need to consider questions like what kind of activities are suitable for students’ development. In this new digital era, students’ capability to master the digital aspects of learning is required, and what teachers should do is to guide students and help them to make better use of the technologies.

  13. Thanks for your great sharing. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried any kind of DMC activity except for the assignment last semester. But this limited experience gives me great interest to try this way for my future teaching career. Maybe I can ask my student to recreate the passage we learned in class by any type of language art like short role play, video, song, etc. Different from the traditional way of teaching which focus on grammar and forms, this new combination gives opportunities to show their own understanding and creative ideas. It can also facilitate the group cooperation skills which can, in turn, help to build rapport between students, and I think it could be a useful way for those shy introverts to participate in class and outside the classroom.

    In spite of the benefits, the limitations of DMC can not be ignored. One could be the age issue, as the study also chose university students as participants, we can notice this may not be applicable for young students. They don’t have appropriate digital equipment and techniques to control the tool, and normally, their parents are too busy to participate in children’ creative assignments. And also, as mentioned by Julia before, using digital tools in class may requires better classroom control skills of teachers.

    Still, I believe DMC should be a popular trend for language teachers, as it transferred the focus of language to traditional test-oriented to communicative competence, but to achieve fluent use of DMC, there are lots efforts need to be done, the first could be how to change the idea of “score is everything”.

  14. Hi everyone! I am one of the editors of this blog post. Reading all the comments you make, I find that most of you have mentioned one of the biggest challenges is technical problem. So here I wonder do u have any good solutions or advice about this issue? If u have an idea, plz feel free to share with our classmates!

    • I think one thing we can do is create our own digital multimodal compositions in order to get some sense of what students will be doing. Other than that, I try to create some space in class (i.e. a video workshop) to provide students with a basic introduction to the tools and some ideas about where to learn more. Do others have more suggestions?

    • In schools, there are few IT technicians providing technical assistance to teacher and students. They do help educators fix many technical issues. However, occasionally, too many teachers ask for their help at the same time, resulting in delaying teachers’ teaching progress due to a small number of them.

      Another possible solution is like what Christoph suggested: organising workshops. Yet, the target is teachers, introducing the device tools to them so that they can teach their students how to use the instruments.

    • Although we cannot deny the benefits of digital multimode composing in language teaching, I think the reason why technology becomes one of the difficult problems in teaching is that teachers ignore the following three important points in the use of multimedia technology:

      (1) Teachers should pay attention to the scientific application. It is not sensible that blindly pursue surface effects and modernization of teaching methods. No matter whether the content or key points are presented in the form of courseware, if the whole class is not written on the blackboard or not demonstrated, it is not conducive to students’ learning. Some teachers in order to do a good performance in the class of courseware and thinking, a lot of time spent in the preparation of courseware or courseware selection. Therefore, it neglects the research on textbooks and lacks the organic combination of courseware and textbooks.
      (2) Teachers cannot completely replace students’ practice with demonstration. Some teachers do all the teaching content and links in the computer, think that with it, students can do without hands. But in fact, according to the theory of educational psychology, in the process of teaching, if the conditions allow students to operate by hand, the effect will be better and the efficiency will be higher.
      (3) Teachers should not pay too much attention to production technology. Some teachers show excessive and blind pursuit to the digital multimodel composing . The abuse in class seriously distracts the students’ attention, which makes them feel confused about the teaching content and don’t know the key and difficult points , and finally affects the actual effect of teaching. Therefore, in language teaching, we should follow the principle that students are the main body, teachers are the leading force and multimodel composing is the auxiliary mean. This kind of course must be designed according to modern teaching theory and students’ characteristics.

    • I think the technical problem is related to teachers’ personal habit to using digital devices. If they’re frequent users, then it won’t be problem for them to use it. And since more young people are engaging in teaching, I don’t see it will be a too serious problem. Besides, a training before using is also important. For example, instructions about how to shoot videos and edit videos, how to upload online, what tools are needed, etc. Then teachers can follow the instructions to use CMC during their classes.

  15. Thank you for your group’s sharing!

    As for an English teacher, I would definitely integrate DMC into my teaching since in this way, students especially at young ages, are willing to learn with pictures and other colorful images, which can attract their attention at first.

    For example, as for students at younger age, I would try to use more videos or pictures at the beginning of the class to get their attention first. Certainly, the videos and pictures should be relevant to the content of language class. Before showing the videos and pictures, I would ask them some questions and let them answer the questions after watching videos. I think only if students have to find the answer in the videos or pictures could the DMC makes a difference in the class.
    Otherwise, if teachers just play the videos or show pictures without any tasks implemented in advance, most students would just purely watch without any educational purpose.

    I think the difficulties teachers might face is the technical problems. They do not know how to present in the best way. In this case, I think school shoulders the responsibility to provide teachers with sufficient training in technical aspects. Also, at the very beginning, I think teachers could not rely too much on DMC in teaching, but just as additional method. Not every aspect of teaching would be properly combined with DMC.

    • Yasmine, thanks for your suggestions towards language teaching to younger students. Integrating DMC into education would be one of the important methods to attract students’ attentions because they are interested in colourful images and videos more than merely verbal forms. Besides, it is important for teachers to find a way to connect the digital tools to what students are going to be taught. Perhaps the images or/and video can serve as an introduction of the topic that students are going to learn. Or the digital instruments can be used as a tool for some tasks, for example, like what you suggested, giving students some questions and asking them to find out the answers while watching a video. After that, the teacher may ask them to share their answers with their classmates in groups in English before checking the answers. It involves and encourages peer interactions in L2 as well.

  16. Thanks for your sharing. I think I’ve experienced DMC for many times in college, especially in native English teachers’ courses.
    For example, when I was in grade one, we students were asked to adapt short films based on some given Chinese films, and the task was to represent one of the film into a concise English-version. Also, we made brochures based on some given themes. All these were unforgettable learning experience as well as precious college group-work memories. So I would like to say that using DMC can help students to refresh their learning models and therefore motivate them to learn better.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience in college! I totally agree with you that DMC can help to raise learners’ interest in learning a new language and learn how to cooperate with other group mates. What’s more, I think when they prepare for a DMC task, they always keep practicing for many times until their performances are at a high quality. In the practicing process, they also consolidate the language knowledge they have learnt unconsciously.

  17. Thanks for your sharing!
    I’ve experienced a group work last semester to show own understanding of a novel. My teammates and I chose to make a video to give brief introduction of the story and used images and sounds in the film version to analyse several ideas. This way was useful, cause members in our team are not active speakers, we felt at ease to record the video and played before the classmates. Instead of being nervous and missing points when speaking in front of others, we clarified the aspects and thoughts clearly via videos. Also, the images and sounds which we got from other sources made our analysis more convincing.
    I also combined it in teaching. Maybe my students are too young and too easy to get distracted, so the results are not good. For instance, if I show them some pictures, they may immerse themselves in maybe one certain picture and keep asking me things about that picture. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand their minds and harder to get their attention back.
    I think DMC do help a lot, but we have to make more preparations before applying it to teaching.

  18. Thanks for your helpful sharing.
    I think digital multi-modality can help create an interesting language class. However, as mentioned above, students may face some technical problems and there are some personal suggestions:
    a) Teachers can use select online materials that have multiple semiotic devices, such as color, italics and underlines. They can share the certain text with their students and figure out those semiotic features together, which can let student know different ways to express meaning apart from the plain text.
    b) It may be suggested that digital multimodality can be part of the content of computer or IT class provided my the school. In this way, students can not only learn the knowledge about the topic but also how to operate with a computer. The practice can also save time for English classes to pay more attention to the linguistic and cultural aspects.
    c) Teachers can ask all the students to read comments on Youtube after class, figure out at lease one way in which those reviewers express their ideas apart from the plain text and try to learn how to do it. (An example should be provided by teachers first!! ) Then, every student should share his or her results with the class, which may be similar to a workshop. In this way, students are encouraged to conduct self-learning as well as peer work.

    • Thank you for your suggestions about applying DMC in class. Yeah, I think we could make use of online sources and learn from these sources.

  19. Thanks for your sharing! Well, I do have abundant experience for DMC in college. Teachers tend to combine various methods in teaching in order to keep students alert all the time and then make learning process more efficiently. Videos or pictures are the most frequently-used technique in class. Picturesor videos can make it interesting when showing some slides and students will pay their attention back to lesson. However, there will be some problems. Students may be distracted by such delicate pictures and they will lost attention to the content. As what you have mentioned, how to assess and evaluate students’ performance needs sufficient regulations. It is crucial to build a system containg grading system and a monitoring facilities for students’ performance.

  20. Thank you for your sharing.

    Honestly, I am a huge fan of applying CMC in class, esp. speaking classes, which helps to increase students’ participation, and enliven the atmosphere. And their learning motivation and outcome have improved a lot in this way.

    For example, I gave my students a topic to talk about their unforgettable events, and suggested them to use multi modal high tech to display their performance. One group of students gave us a video with pics they collect from their family about their growth, including happy and sorrow times with their families and friends. During this process, four people in the group had their individual work, and they really learned a lot, and some students even found their strength in using high techs.

    But I must admit that this is a very time consuming project and I heard some complaints from parents that it occupied too much time of students. Though they really appreciate the last work students display, they still don’t think students should spend too much time on this. I think it’s due to the exam-oriented education in schools for junior and senior high students. Maybe it won’t be problem for university students who in some way also know how to use high tech equipments and won’t have so many technical problems.

  21. As for technical difficulties, I think we can overcome them by introducing different levels of technologies to students step by step. At the outset, a straightforward software can be introduced, like creating a txt form on the desktop. And this is very similar to traditional composing except using a keyboard. After learning that, they could be shown how to read passages and leave comments on others’ compositions through the internet, which can also arouse their interest of using this technology in a community. And then they could be taught how to upload, insert images, music, videos in the following classes. Every class we can just teach them one step and build up their confidence. And also digital technology is really commonplace, so I don’t think there should be too many worries about teaching them how to use them.

  22. Thanks for sharing~

    I think it is unavoidable that teachers will have to teach students how to use digital tools at first and it maybe a little bit challenging because it needs a lot extra time and energy for teachers to well prepare a lesson. But young generations nowadays are really good at using these tools, so once they are familiar with these tools, DMC will benefit a lot in their learning process. Unfortunately, I am not grow up with DMC, but in university, teachers will provide some videos and I can learn more out of class through DMC. It arouse my interest in learning to some extents.

  23. I have experienced a language learning activity related to DMC when I was a full time student. My teammates and I were asked to make a short clip to introduce some famous Hong Kong attractions for tourists. Before the filming, we discussed about which attractions should be filmed, then we wrote our scripts, check the grammar and spelling and finally chose a date to film it. There was a lot of hard work before and after the filming.

    Although it was very time-consuming and required a lot of IT skills as well as film editing skills, all of us enjoyed it so much. Apart from language learning, we also learnt to cooperate with others. Therefore, I believed that combining DMC with traditional teaching method will be beneficial to my students, both in their language learning and social relationship.

    However, there may be some real problems when we combine DMC with traditional teaching methods. The extremely tight schedule of teaching will be one of them. In Hong Kong, students, even the primary school ones, are busy with quizzes, dictations and tests. Teachers are busy with following the scheme of work, too. Most of the parents are only concerned with the marks their kids get in the tests and exams. Who wants to care about the activities that will not affect the result of tests and quizzes? Probably we can only introduce it after exams or before summer holiday starts. It is sad but true. I believe that it is useful in helping student learning, but the curriculum sometimes is too packed which hinder the implementation of combining DMC in teaching in subsidised schools.

  24. I have used DMC once but I didn’t realize I was using it at that time. LOL
    I got to cover a lesson with the topic of “being sick” for a group of teenagers but I found the dialogue on the textbook was so boring and not authentic enough. Therefore, I created an audio with my colleague who was having a cold in the office. Through that audio, students were explored to many expressions such as how to describe symptoms, how to show cares for patients in real life.

  25. I have experienced a DMC activity once in the university. The teacher asked us to form in groups and make a video about interpretation. We should find some foreign students as participants and one of us should play the role of interpreter. After recording the conversation, we should also add subtitles for the video. Through this activity, we practiced our communication skills and interpretation ability a lot. Besides, we could also find some mistakes that we made unconsciously during the conversation.
    In my opinion, DMC could make students more actively participate in language learning activities. It also makes language learning more interesting and could reduce students’ anxiety of using the target language. Moreover, since DMC activities involves new technologies and it always require group coordination, students could learn how to cooperate with each other during the activities and learn some new skills.
    However, for teachers, using DMC could be challenging as it might distract students’ attention from language learning to technology using. And it is also very important for teachers to make instructions as clear as possible in order to make the activity progress smoothly.

  26. Thanks for your group’s sharing.
    If I am a teacher, I will combine DMC with traditional teaching methods because DMC can invoke students interests to English speaking. DMC is related to students’ interests and lives, students always have thought to accomplish the work if a work is assigned to them. And I will assign some activities which combined both DMC and cooperation. By cooperating, students can develop a strong sense of belonging to the community. And they can also enjoy the sense of being recognized. Besides, when doing the work with DMC, students’ speaking and writing skills can be practiced.

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