Encouraging engineering undergraduates to voice their ideas worth sharing

Arancha García-Pinar


TED Talks have these days become a valuable tool for online information dissemination in a wide range of areas of expertise. The use of TED Talks in a course of Technical English offers numerous advantages. TED teaches how to communicate by linking different modes (i.e. the visual, gestural, verbal, written and spatial) to technological production. Students can construct communication when they attentively observe and make meaning from this ensemble of modes which go beyond the verbal. TED Talks might also give rise to different tasks that entail some type of critical multimodal analysis, by which students can study the aptness of modes. They can explore why the speaker says something visually and not verbally, or which mode is best for which purpose. Yet, TED and its zeal for sharing and transmitting ideas to a wide audience should not be regarded as a means incompatible with more traditional models of information. As Jewitt highlights (2005), rather than asking what is best, the book or the screen”, it seems more reasonable to ask “what is best for what purpose”.


TED Talks; mode; engineering; communication; multimodal analysis

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