Designing an online video annotation environment for language learning programs: the case of the VIDEO.DE-project

Jelena Vranjes, Geert Brône, Kurt Feyaerts, Hans Paulussen
University of Leuven – Department of Linguistics

Context – In modern language education there is a growing tendency to use online accessible audio-visual data to incorporate authentic language use in the didactic practice (Höfler-Hoang et al. 2011, Shrosbree 2008, Sydorenko 2010, Bargeron et al. 1999, Weyers 1999 a.o.). Despite the vast growth of online accessible audio-visual material (such as the streaming media), there is still need for its systematic didactic embedding.

Aim – The key purpose of the VIDEO.de-project is the development of a technological-didactic tool by which audio-visual material from existing online resources can be implemented in academic and professional language education. The actual elaboration of the tool is done in a pilot study for German linguistics and involves collaboration between different partner institutions of the Association KU Leuven.

Approach – In the first step a layered and fine-grained annotation scheme is designed for the multiple coding of the videos, with parameters such as genre, vocabulary, grammar and discursive features. The next step involves the development of an online and user-friendly annotation and transcription tool as well as a didactic user interface. In order to advance students’ interactive use of the audio-visual material two innovative work forms are thus introduced: (a) an analysis module which consists of an interactive annotation environment for the independent coding of videos by students according to a task-specific annotation template, and (b) an online-exercise module with interactive exercises and assignments attached to every parameter in the annotation scheme. The design of both the technological tool and the annotation module allows for the further expandability to other academic language programs than German.

Preliminary results – The effect of the VIDEO.de-method on the learning results and motivation of the students compared to the traditional method is measured in a small-scale case study. Furthermore, the instructors and the students are presented with a questionnaire which assesses their motivation, involvement, self-activation and user-friendliness of the tool. The preliminary results of this testing phase contribute to the integration of the VIDEO.de-method in the curriculum of the partner institutions for German language instruction.

Relevance – The open database structure of VIDEO.de will allow students and language instructors to have direct access to relevant streaming video material as illustration for certain phenomena in language. In contrast to most existing language learning environments based on video data the VIDEO.de-project provides a strongly student-centered annotation environment and interface, which stimulates students to engage in a process of collaborative annotation across the partner institutions.

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