LeVIS Project Workshop
It is becoming increasingly evident to FL teachers and researchers that there is no one and only guaranteed teaching method and that a variety of technical and methodological resources are needed in the classroom. It is now commonplace to say that audiovisual material with its rich context is a powerful instructional tool known to have a motivational, attentional, and affective impact on viewers, which in turn facilitates auditory processing. However, learners need to be trained to develop active viewing strategies for an efficient use of audiovisual material, which very often is not feasible for lack of motivation. Therefore, tools and methods, such as the ones proposed here, are necessary to counter passivity when working with audiovisual material.
More specifically, this approach aims to cover the need for:
- creation of active learning, task-based activities where cultural elements are involved in an authentic and motivating way and which expose the learners to highly contextualised language input
- productive use of multimedia as the core of an activity and not as a nice add-on
- creation of reusable activities requiring a relatively low level of computer literacy by tutors developing such activities;
- soundness of the development methodology and transferability across various languages and educational systems.
In the proposed activity the student is asked, after some introductory tasks, to create subtitles or complete unfinished ones for a film scene selected according to the teacher's specific pedagogical goals. The outcome of this activity (the subtitled clip), unlike most FL learning activities used in the classroom, is practical and concrete given that the student's work provides an actual product which can be viewed by and shared with other students and teachers.
The "Levis Project Workshop: Experiences and Perspectives" took place in Patras, Greece at the Hellenic Open University Library (Trion Navarxon & Mezonos), 11 - 12 December 2008.
In the so-called “subtitling countries” viewers are exposed to subtitled foreign films or TV programmes from a very young age. Given that this exposure is regarded to promote language learning, teachers have exploited various kinds of audiovisual material in the FL classroom.
It has also been observed that students of translation attending subtitling courses have improved their linguistic skills. However, only professional subtitling tools have been used and no subtitling software has been designed specifically for language learning - with all the shortcomings this entails.
Advances in Information and Communication Technologies provide new opportunities for the exploitation of subtitling in language teaching and learning, namely the development of a subtitling software for active learning task-based activities. This tool is intended to give learners the chance to use a special version of a professional environment, not for the purposes of training but for its side benefits.
The main focus of Learning via Subtitling is the development of educational material for active foreign language learning based on film subtitling. It aims to cover the exigency for active learning where cultural elements are involved effectively through real-life (simulated) activities and the need for productive use of multimedia not as a nice add-on but as the core of an activity.
A subtitling simulator (LvS) has been designed for educational activities' purposes in language learning. Through this tool and activities, the learner is asked to add subtitles to a film thus engaging in active listening and writing tasks.
The flexibility in the use of LvS is evidenced in that it can be utilized in any real or virtual classroom and within any curriculum, as it does not imply any change in the methodology used. LvS is also adequate for use in autonomous learning environments: the application’s main screen includes a document viewer area, where all the necessary steps for self-study can be provided. Moreover, it may be employed for any number of students, with unlimited choice of video content (film scenes, educational material), for any suitable duration of video segment, student level (beginners, intermediate, advanced), age and interests.
The project is supported by a www portal aiming to provide effective partner communication and dissemination of project results, hosting the software itself, a library of video-clips, exercises and educational activities. Project outcomes will be further promoted through scientific publications and a workshop organized at the end of the project.
Sustainability of results is foreseen to extend far beyond the project's completion, as other universities, language schools, FL teachers' associations, and in general researchers interested on the use of ICT in education will be able to use the produced open-source software platform.