The Language Teacher. Vol. 22. No. 8. August 1998. (pp. 45-47)
Internet Multimedia Resources
Tim Newfields & Randall S. Davis
for Language Classrooms
The Internet is revolutionizing the way people not only watch videos, but create
them. The integration of video, television, and computer technologies
is well underway and many multimedia resources are now available on the Internet.
This article outlines some of those resources which are useful for foreign
Accessing Movie Resources
Multimedia resources available on the Internet comprise everything short
of full-length feature movies. Are you looking for a review or summary
of a popular movie? The Movie Critic Homepage or Gene's Movie Reviews probably have
what you want. The Internet Movie Database is
also a must-visit site for comprehensive information on thousands of
movies. Would you like to read a film script? Over 4,000 scripts can be
order online from the Script Store. Drop by the Scripts OnScreen
or Drew's Script-O-Rama, where you can find hundreds of scripts
online. Are you searching for sound and video clips from recent
blockbusters? The Movie Sounds Page or Movie and TV Video Clips Homepage are two excellent
resources. If your interest is more in educational films, we recommend
Thinking Allowed, the Media Channel, Social Studies School Service, and
Schoolhouse Videos & More. A large number of educational videos can
be found at The Reel, one of the most extensive online video stores.
Internet TV and Radio Resources
Anyone with hi-speed Internet access can download audio or video broadcasts, and in ways consistent with fair use policies, use them for class.
CNN Interactive updates contain clips from recent new stories. You can also watch
BBC television news bulletins three times a day using the RealVideo player. In addition, American National Public Radio broadcasts and
RealAudio & RealVideo Guide contain links to a whole kaleidoscope of radio and TV news broadcasts. To play a sound or video clips on your Web browser, you'll probably need to download special third party software plugs such as
ShockWave, RealAudio, or QuickTime. A list of common Netscape software plug in extensions is available online and the most common
MS Explorer extensions can be found online too. The book
How to Play Sound and Video Files on Your Computer also explains plug ins thoroughly.
Creating Online Video Resources
There are several advantages to integrating conventional videos can with online resources. The most
salient one is a chance to bring people from diverse physical locations
together into one virtual space via video conferencing. Other uses
include classroom multimedia projects or multimedia language learning
- Video Conferencing:
A simple camcorder (a device halfway between a digital camera and a video recorder) with any
compatible program such as ICQ Meeting Point CU-See-Me or
VideoPhone can take video images of up to 20 frames per second and transit them over the Internet.
Real-time video conferencing offers the spontaneity of a phone conversation and varied levels of privacy.
There are over three hundred different public video "chat channels" on the Internet.
(Those supporting CU-See-Me protocols are called "reflectors.") A list of
public reflectors is available at http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~streak/ref.html
[Expired Link]. For example, the Nesna
College reflector (18.104.22.168[Expired Link]) out Norway is for discussions of
educational research. The Global Schoolhouse reflector (22.214.171.124[Expired Link]
is mostly for classroom-to-classroom educational exchanges. The
University of Tsukuba reflector (126.96.36.199[Expired Link]), permits discussions on
any topic, but nudity or profanity are forbidden. Over one-third of all
public video reflectors are devoted to sexually explicit themes, so
teachers wishing to screen out these sort of conferences had best visit
the cite in advance to check the traffic and the content. Each different
channel has its own purpose and rules of etiquette.
The Desktop Video Conferencing Product Survey
gives an extensive list of video conferencing software products used on
a variety of computer systems. Many universities, companies, and even
individuals even set up private channels in which they speak directly to
selected individuals. These services are not unlike private phone calls
in which people communicate by gesture as well as voice. Whereas
international phone calls are not feasible for most classes, live video
conferencing requires no special phone charges, and the equipment itself
is usually well under $200. Moreover, those with limited bandwidth might
prefer to type their messages instead of speaking and also reduce the
frame rate of their camcorders. Two sources of further information about
videoconferencing are Videoconference.com and Nerd World of KeyInfo Services
- Classroom Multimedia Projects
Another way to integrate video and
multimedia resources is to convert classroom videos into multimedia web
pages. Creating a classroom page with video and audio clips encourages
students to consider how they want to present themselves and how to
integrate graphic, audio, and text material. One example of a student
page with AV components is available at
Hoffer Elementary School. These
kinds of projects are especially useful for students who are
contemplating sales, marketing, or computer careers. To create video
clips for viewing online, you will need a video camera, a method of
then digitalizing the video, for example, with a computer video card,
and a tool like the RealVideo encoder to encode and
compress your file. Several excellent resource detailing how to add
video to your site are at Builder.Com,
Adding RealVideo Files to Your Web Page, and
Video over the Internet.
- Multimedia Language Learning Sites:
Besides classroom projects, teachers and material developers can create online audio-visual
materials making use of the multidimensional nature of audio, video, and text combined.
At Sounds English, you can find the Animated
Alphabet, a pronunciation guide with sound and lip-synched animation,
and the English Karaoke Jukebox, both running with QuickTime technology
in very innovative ways. Another site,
Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab, has created an online
about some keys to learning a foreign language. Students listen to the
video clip and then answer five multiple-choice questions. The students'
answers can be check immediately by the page, and this feedback appears
in a separate window. There are many sources for obtaining multimedia
software over the Internet to help you get started creating similar
sites. Fortunately, many of "hi tech" effects can be accomplished on low
budgets with appropriate software. A useful list of multimedia software
programs is available at
http://www2.ncsu.edu/bae/people/faculty/walker/hotlist/graphics.html [Expired Link].
Another recommended source of Internet multimedia software can be found
at TUCOWS. Finally, it is worth
mentioning that the Internet also offers many interesting ideas about
how to use multimedia and videos in a foreign language classes. The JALT
Video SIG Homepage and Dave Sperling's ESL Cafe Video Web and are two excellent resources in this category.
The Ed Tech Pages is also worth a look.
This review has outlined some of the multimedia resources
available on the Internet today. It is important to note that the
technology is changing rapidly and many new resources will be available
in the future. Those without Internet access who are interested in
getting a glimpse of what it possible might want to read Dave Sperling's
Sperling, D. (1998). Dave Sperling's Internet Guide. Eaglewood Cliff: NJ. Prentice Hall Regents.
Copyright (c) 1997 by Tim Newfields and Randall Davis