Teachers of the 21st century need to develop high order cognitive skills to have a significant impact on their students’ outcomes. Video production comprises the use of technological tools and contributes to developing their high order cognitive skills by giving “the language learner a choice not only about what to say, but also how to say it and how to present a point of view” (Dal 2010, 5). The present paper aims at exploring our 21st century students’ view of their own digital oral skills. To achieve our aim, we asked 40 students from our English for Specific and Academic Communication Course (EPAC) at the Computer Engineering School of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) to produce 2-minute motivational videos. The idea was to present their research in computer engineering and to upload their videos to the EPAC Facebook account. A short written description of their research topic was also to be provided. Then, the students were involved in self-assessment processes by watching and self-evaluating their videos with the help of a rubric.
Results revealed that the acquisition of the digital oracy skills that are required for video presentations is still a must for a good number of students nowadays, especially when it comes to technical aspects of video editing.
Findings revealed that 60% perceived their level of digital oral skills as average, whilst the other 40% did so as moderately high. None of the students rated their command of digital oracy as either low or high. When describing their major weakness, special emphasis was given to aspects such as body language (lack of eye contact, rigidity, excessive movement), speech delivery (nervousness, lack of fluency, bad pronunciation), video editing (sound, music, special effects), language use (lack of technical vocabulary, wrong grammar), and storytelling (cohesive and coherent discourse).
In the light of the above results, conclusions reveal that the acquisition of digital oral skills is still a must for our ESP university students. Results also show that digital oracy is a new area of communication whose complexity is often underestimated by university teachers, who seem to overlook the fact that a considerable number of students still feel intimidated or threatened by cameras. Digital oracy skills must be further developed in the classroom because the acquisition of digital oracy contributes to our 21st century university students’ acquisition of oracy skills.