The Language Teacher. Vol. 22. No. 8. August 1998. (pp. 45-47)

Internet Multimedia Resources
for Language Classrooms

Tim Newfields & Randall S. Davis

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 language classes.

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 sites.

  1. 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 [Expired Link]. For example, the Nesna College reflector ([Expired Link]) out Norway is for discussions of educational research. The Global Schoolhouse reflector ([Expired Link] is mostly for classroom-to-classroom educational exchanges. The University of Tsukuba reflector ([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 and Nerd World of KeyInfo Services

  2. 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.

  3. 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 JavaScript listening quiz using a RealVideo clip of a teacher talking 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 [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 Internet Guide.


Sperling, D. (1998). Dave Sperling's Internet Guide. Eaglewood Cliff: NJ. Prentice Hall Regents.

Chronological Index Subject Index Title Index
Copyright (c) 1997 by Tim Newfields and Randall Davis