This paper discusses a Pilot Interactive Language Package which is being developed to enable major language difficulties facing any newcomer to Australia to be encountered and overcome well before the need to interact arises.
The Pilot introduces concepts and interactive video and videodisc techniques which are used in the complete package of four units. Areas being developed within a Pilot are: Social Contact Language, Business Contact Language, Cultural Differences, and Study Skills. Concepts, teaching methodologies and skills areas which will be covered in the complete package are previewed in this Paper.
Interactive education and the use of interactive videodiscs as part of interactive educational programs and projects are becoming more and more commonplace. The use of such mediums offer an exciting and flexible medium for teachers of English as a second language.
This paper outlines an interactive language education project being developed by the authors. Interactive videotape and videodisc is being used as the vehicle for an interactive language project.
This linguistic minefield includes being able to use appropriate register (formal, idiomatic, local, slang and so on), communication signals which introduce semantic content, acceptable expressiveness, body language and gesture (non linguistic features), understand turn taking rules and many more elements of verbal and non verbal communication that native English speakers take for granted.
It is this overall inability to operate adequately in uncontrolled communicative settings that causes great despair and frustration amongst non native speakers; whether they be expressing a point of view in a boardroom or responding to an opinion in an informal social conversation.
The difficulties in interactive language acquisition is as daunting for foreign business people, government representatives, cultural groups and students as it is for the migrant language learner in the classroom. While the pedagogic value is needs based, the implications of commercial viability are also extensive.
Video based material has become an increasingly important part of ESL teaching methods (usually in the form of off air television programs, formatted by individual teachers to suit their immediate needs). This has mostly been in the form of comprehension testing and discussion provoking, rather than analysis and evaluation of participants in authentic communication scenarios. Reasons for this are obvious: there are almost no materials of this type available. Much of what does exist is generally second rate (with notable exceptions).
Home computers are available with interface cards to control the operation of home video discs - for example, quite some time ago Micro-Ed of the USA marketed a Commodore 64/Pioneer consumer laser video player interface. Similar interfaces are available for use with Apples II and Apple IIe microcomputers. With this wide range of microcomputer/ interface cards /video disc players on the market, they may become common place in homes and offices during coming years.
As long ago as the Japan Electronics Show of 1982, some Japanese consumer oriented companies offered integrated microcomputer/video systems. Sharp displayed its X1 system, which comprised an eight bit computer, a 14 inch colour television monitor and optical "Teletropper" which enable the computer to be connected to a video camera, video tape recorder or video disc. It allowed computer graphics to be superimposed and displayed simultaneously over video images and television signals. This is made possible by a RGB mix circuit. Sharp named the concept "Visual integration" and called the X1 the world's first personal computer/television monitor system.
Microcomputer systems linked to video players show great potential for use as a simple interactive teaching unit, which could be suitable for ESL programs. But the availability of integrated microcomputer/video systems (and especially those containing video discs) enable the production of highly flexible (and very useable) teaching packages containing dynamic programs in a format acceptable to a variety of students, from beginner to advanced, from newcomer to one wishing to improve interaction in the English language.
Optical videodiscs are looked upon by program developers as a new and innovative means assembling interactive teaching units and packages. There are a number of reasons for this, including high storage capacity (54,000 frames on one side of a videodisc), random access to each "picture" or videotape sequence, the disc player can be interfaced with a microcomputer (allowing software control of scenes on the disc), an almost limitless variety of programmed alternatives and branches when developing teaching units from any one disc and there is virtually no wear of the disc with the laser reading device.
Video discs offer a means to produce a software controlled system to display video/computer graphics and audio in a static or dynamic mode. Programs can be written using an integrated personal computer/interface card/video disc player equipment package.
The advantages of optical disc format over lineal videotape for language acquisition are mainly concerned with the interface available for interactive computer driven sequences for optimum exploitation of the materials. The random search mode of teaching resources on an optical disc allows for a rapid selection of desired linguistic (or non linguistic) features of any conversation sequence on the disc, rather than the tedious, almost impossible operation of rewind/find and play modes of videotape. Add to this the ability to store student responses, the analysis of these responses and then the reformatting of particular individual teaching strategies as a result of analysis, then the true teaching power of such a package can be appreciated.
These variable language and social dynamics depend upon a number of factors. These include mode, setting, communicative function, group familiarity, shared cultural knowledge, occupation, temperament and so on.
Production will involve scripting, filming, editing and the assembly of a BW master 3/4 inch video tape. Once complete, a videodisc will be manufactured and programming of interactive routines using "Turbo Prolog" will link appropriate teaching units.
The material will be reformatted and republished in Digital Video Interactive (DVI) when that technology is commonplace.
Version #1 will consist of videotapes, audiotapes, transcripts and text.Tailored packages of teaching kits, hardware and training programs will also be offered after consultation with individual clients.
Version #2 will contain videotapes videodisc, transcripts and text.
Version #3 will contain videotapes, videodisc, transcripts and text and will include a training program presented by the authors for in house training personnel.
The Authors expect to liaise with commercial marketeers of educational media when the products are complete and marketable.
Elements of verbal and non verbal communication techniques that native English speakers take for granted will be explained and practised.
After completing these four self paced language, cultural and study skills units a newcomer to Australia will be able to comfortably and positively participate in social, business and educational activities by "knowing the rules" of the conversation game.
|Author: Warwick H. Lobb, Centre for English Language Learning, and William E. Cartwright, Department of Land Information, Victoria University of Technology - RMIT Campus, 124 Latrobe Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
Please cite as: Lobb, W. H. and Cartwright, W. E. (1990). Interactive videotape and videodisc language packages. In J. G. Hedberg, J. Steele and M. Mooney (Eds), Converging Technologies: Selected papers from EdTech'90, 158-162. Canberra: AJET Publications. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/edtech90/lobb.html