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Smartphone Addiction

We know students love their cell phones. How about showing your students this popular video by the folks at and as they do so they can consider the foundational elements of rhetoric:


  • Who is the communicator?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the message?
  • The purpose?
  • The exigence?.



Nicotro also suggests that students consider these questions as they watch the video for a second time:


  • If the video uses dialogue, how, when, where, and why do the people talk to each other in the video? How does this affect your perception of the video’s content?
  • If the video uses voiceover narration, why do you think the creator chose to do this?
  • Where else does text appear in the video (in written form, for instance)? How does that add to the spoken text?
  • How do the pitch, tone, accent, etc. of various characters’ voices (including the narrator, if there is one) affect how you perceive them?
  • Do the other elements (modalities) of the video support what’s being said or do they undermine it?


Class Activity:


Instead of putting these questions on the board and asking students as a full class, "What do you think?", we've got two suggestions:


A low tech approach: "Think, Write, Pair and Share"


  1. Ask students to get a piece of paper ready to answer the questions above as they watch the video. They don't have to have an answer to every question, but rather have jotted down the answers that really popped out at them.
  2. Play the video again
  3. Pair and Share (and maybe even "Snowball")
  4. Get students into groups of two and have them share their answers. Again - they don't have to have an agreed upon answer to every question.  After about 2 minutes of sharing have the groups of two form groups of 4 for discussion, then perhaps groups of 8 and so on (the "snowball" part). 

This approach should really get your students to think carefully and do a thorough analysis of the video.


2) A little higher tech approach: find out what students are thinking by using the "BackChannel":

Want to try something a little different and as little higher tech to see what students are thinking? Click here to go to our Community Exclusive area to see how you could take this same video and present it along with a "backchannel" to see what's going on in students' heads as they watch the video.

How to add text to your MindTap course