Snagit: Instructional applications

Author:Jason Kozel

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Discussing the topic:

“A medium is something we use when we want to communicate with people indirectly, rather than in person or by face-to-face contact,” (Buckingham, 2003).

In the corporate world people communicate through varied and multi-layered media. As an EFL teacher of corporate clients it is then my responsibility to train my students not only to use English in a business setting, but also to use English—naturally and comfortably—while manipulating the media that supports these settings. It is the intent of this mini-course to show the communicative properties of the program Snag-it as a medium for using English while manipulating media.



Needs Assessment:

Description of Intent:

Language is a celebration of community and there is no better way to learn a language than by practice. Unfortunately language learning is often stifled by stale textbook scenarios and often repetitive teacher- student interaction paradigms. In order to duplicate a business-like environment for English language exchange, this mini-course uses the software program Snag-it to promote a constructionist approach to learning the English language.


  • Constructionism vs. Constructivism: Meskill (2002) states, “Constructionism refines the notion of learner-centered discovery and the construction of knowledge to include construction in consort with others. Constructivism emphasizes learner individuality and autonomy in the learning process, while constructionism sees construction with others as essential to that process,” (p. 44).
  • Snagit: A robust piece of screen capture software that allows users to take snapshots of their screen, manipulate graphics, and create basic flash pop-ups and rollovers for captured and/or user owned images.


Gathering Information:

The personal academic needs of my Saudi students are unsurprisingly varied. However, the needs of the companies paying for them to attend class are clearly stated: The students must have a communicative grasp of the English language that can be directly applied to the clients’ unique business settings. The Saudi students are expected to communicate in English with expatriates from all over the world. In short, English is the lingua franca for the petrochemical industry in Saudi Arabia.

It is the intent of my employer, and me as a teacher, to duplicate our clients’ corporate settings in the classroom to the best of our abilities. One way in which I propose to do this is by using the software program Snagit as a means to affect learning in a constructionist setting; a setting that promotes cooperation and language use through media development.

Buckingham (2003) states, “In the ‘real world’…production often requires a range of specialist personnel—albeit often organized in hierarchical ways; and in simulating professional practice, students are frequently required to adopt defined production roles,” (p. 129). By mimicking a professional situation in the classroom where the target language is used to achieve tangible goals we are able to adequately affect learning to appease or corporate clients. Leadership roles may naturally develop and students may become comfortable with working in groups while using the English language. Our students’ fluency will develop in tandem with their understanding of corporate business interaction practices.

As we progress from the practical needs of our clients and into the didactic needs of the classroom we start to see more benefits of using media as learning tools. It is amazing what a well timed image can do to capture students’ attentions. According to Meskill (2002) the introduction of media into the classroom has the capacity to:

  1. render listeners/viewers into a relaxed, receptive state;
  2. foster unpredictable links between what are otherwise disparate elements;
  3. Activate our drive to make sense, no matter what it is we see and hear;
  4. Broaden our view to include the opinions and interpretations of others;
  5. Be affectively powerful—The Media causes us to laugh frown, fret, and cry.

(Meskill, 2002, p. 24).


By approaching English language learning through media we can guide our students toward achieving their goals for language learning as it is applied to the corporate setting. Although a focus upon media is apparent, the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) content should never be overlooked or glossed over. It is imperative to see the media as a tool that aids our students in their journey toward fluency.


Summary:

There is clear merit for the use of Snagit in the EFL classroom. Students may utilize its robust platform to affect their learning of EFL content. The benefits extend beyond the target language and into what exactly their employers are looking for in a competent English speaking worker: self-directed behaviors within a group production setting.

The goals for students participating in this mini-course are as follows:

  1. Use Snagit to alter an image for the purpose of creating and giving an interactive multimedia presentation to the class.
  2. Evaluate the ways in which they achieve an end product while manipulating information and using the English language.
  3. Develop a cognitive scaffolding of group interaction practices.
  4. Translate this scaffolding to the corporate business setting.



Performance Objectives:

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Rationale for objectives:

The aims of this lesson are to give students the opportunity to focus their productive language abilities (speaking and writing) by using Snagit. Snagit is a screen capture tool that is primarily used to manipulate digital images (http://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.asp). In order to successfully complete this lesson students will need to have a basic understanding of how a mouse works as well as digital images and some ways to manipulate them. By reviewing and participating in this lesson participants can learn more about how we might use hypermedia to affect learning.

The attitude of the EFL learner must be receptive to learning if progress is to be made. From a content focused perspective, it is the aim of this lesson to promote an attractive way to learn language by using technology. I hope to affect learning in a way that promotes en eagerness to engage the material through hypermedia production.

Purpose (1):

To provide training in using Snagit, a software program used to take screen captures and complete basic fixes and flash amendments to image files. Upon completing this mini-course...

  • Students will be able to generate, through hypermedia production using Snagit, basic flash files that exhibit the use of a conditional grammatical structure.
  • Students will be able to identify appropriate hypermedia content to show the use of a conditional grammatical structure.

Prerequisite entry skills:

  • Students will know how to execute computer interface manipulations by using a keyboard and mouse (essential).
  • Students will have a basic understanding of digital photographs (essential).
  • Students will have a positive attitude to working with computers (supportive).

Purpose (2):

To promote the use of hypermedia as a conduit for using a second language (L2). Upon completing this mini-course...

  • Students will be able to state a conditional structure by explaining to the class their images and the conditional structures they have applied to them.
  • Students will be able to identify conditional grammatical structures by naming them as they review a set of test sentences (oral and written as presented by the teacher).
  • Students will be able to classify three conditional structures into situations related to use (i.e. second conditional—unreal situations).
  • Students will be able to demonstrate orally the use of a conditional structure by creating their own example based upon scenarios posed by the teacher.

Prerequisite entry skills:

  • Students will have been introduced--either formally and/or informally--to conditional structures (essential).




Organization and sequencing

Unit 1:

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Unit 2:

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Unit 3:

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Mini-course:

Exploding dog and the conditional structure

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(Brown, 2008)



References

Brown, S. (2008). Explodingdog. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from Explodingdog: http://www.explodingdog.com/

Buckingham, D. (2003). Media education: Literacy, learning and contemporary culture. Malden: Polity Press.

Meskill, C. (2002). Teaching and learning in real time: Media, technologies and language acquisition. Houston, TX: Athelstan.