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Language Learning Through Captioning and Revoicing of Clips

Stavroula Sokoli (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain)
Vasilios Delis (Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus”, Greece)
Session Information
November 21, 2013 - 9:40am
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere 4
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Information Session 6
Virtual Session

Language learners engage in a motivating, hands-on activity: adding captions or voice recordings to a video clip.

Extended Abstract

1. Target audience
This session is expected to benefit language teachers and learners as it provides innovative tools and activities for language learning. Participants will be informed on what captioning and revoicing is, why they are valuable and fun and how to include such activities in their classroom, whether face-to-face or distance, K-12, college or university.
In this session we will present:
a) the Conceptual Framework for language learning through captioning and revoicing activities
b) the Studio which provides innovative, free, open-source tools for creating such activities (
c) the Social Network (
d) the Gallery of materials including ready-to-use activities for various languages and levels, as well as clips (,
The tools are open toAll, so that teachers, learners and researchers from around the world are benefited, as they can freely access and use the material.

2. Why Clips?
Using audiovisual material in the language classroom is a common resource for teachers since it introduces variety, provides exposure to nonverbal cultural elements and, most importantly, presents linguistic and cultural aspects of communication in their context. However, teachers using this resource face the difficulty of finding active tasks that will engage learners and discourage passive viewing.

3. Why Flair?
We propose a productive and motivating way of working with AV material: by asking learners to flair a clip, i.e. to revoice or caption it. Revoicing is to add one's own voice recording onto the audio track of a clip, such as foreign film dubbing, free commentary, audio description for the blind and karaoke singing. Captioning is to add words by writing them on screen, such as foreign film subtitles, captions for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, annotations and intertitles. Clips can be short video or audio files, including documentaries, film scenes, news pieces, animations and songs. This hands-on simulation of a professional environment (that of a subtitler or a dubber) has a tangible, shareable result: the captioned or revoiced clip.

4. Background
According to the European barometer survey Europeans and Languages (2005) there are three main factors for discouraging language learning: time, motivation and expense of language classes. The project aims to counter these factors by providing a motivating, open and easily accessible application for language learning.
Subtitling as a language learning activity was first introduced by the LeViS project. According its evaluation report, learners not only consolidated and improved their linguistic skills, they were also very enthusiastic because of the innovative nature of the subtitling activities. ClipFlair aims to build on the success of LeViS by:
- finding new ways to interact with video-clips and by offering ready-to-use revoicing activities
- promoting an ever growing library of activities, and
- establishing a community of authors and learners.

5. The Conceptual Framework and Pedagogical Methodology
This is a methodological framework for learning through the interaction of words (written and spoken), image (still or moving) and sound. It includes fundamental principles and factors involved in language learning and video awareness, including a synthesis of the latest specialized literature, definitions of terms, educational specifications for the revoicing and captioning tool of the web platform, as well as clip selection criteria. It can be accessed through the ClipFlair Social Network.

6. The ClipFlair Studio
The Studio offers the captioning and revoicing tools needed by activity authors to create activities. It is also the space where learners can practice and learn languages by using these activities. It is basically a zoomable area, the Container, where activity parts are added, the Components.
There are six types of components:
a) the clip component, for loading and reproducing clips;
b) the text component, for viewing and editing text such as instructions or other information;
c) the captions component, for adding and deleting captions, as well as editing timing and content of captions;
d) the revoicing component, for recording voice, as well as saving and listening to saved recordings;
e) and the image and map component, for loading and viewing images and maps respectively.
Each component is editable as far as size, zoom and features are concerned to suit the objectives of each activity, depending on the learner's level and needs. When the activity design is completed these options can be locked so that the learner can focus only on the content of the activity and forget about formatting.

7. The ClipFlair Social Network
The network and content management system aims to enable users to:
- form online communities to collaborate, interact and share materials through Groups and Forums
- access revoicing and captioning activities, clips and other resources through the Gallery
- provide feedback to software developers of the web application
- watch and read tutorials on how to use or create activities
- study guidelines for activity creation and evaluation

8. The ClipFlair Gallery
This is the library of resources with activities for 15 languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian, as well as reusable material, namely clips, images and texts. In the long term, the project intends to develop materials that can potentially be used by any FL learner by expanding the community to include any language, level or age.
Given the component-based nature of the ClipFlair Studio, the same material can be mixed differently for different activities in different languages. For example, the same clip may be exploited differently for other levels, or the same set of instructions can be used in similar activities.
Each item in the Gallery is accompanied by relevant metadata which facilitates searching and identifying.

9. The ClipFlair online community
A community of users of the ClipFlair Studio, including teachers, learners, activity authors and researchers interested in the field, collaborate, communicate and interact and form Groups at the Social Network.
The consortium consists of ten institutions from eight European countries, with proven experience and competences to undertake the tasks in their field ofExpertise and to create material for 15 languages. There is a balance betweenExperts in the three fields involved: Language Teaching, Audiovisual Translation and Accessibility, & ICT.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Vasilis Delis received his Diploma in Computer Engineering from the University of Patras, 1993, an M.Sc. in Geographic Information Systems (with distinction) from the University of Edinburgh, 1995, and a PhD in the area of Geographic Information Handling from the University of Patras, 1999. His research lies in the areas of data/spatiotemporal data management, ICT in education & e-learning, published in acclaimed journals and conferences. He has taught database and software engineering courses at the University of Patras and the Hellenic Open University.
He is the Deputy Director of the Educational Technology Sector at the Research Academic Computer Technology Institute, GR, conducting applied research under national and EU funding.
He is special advisor of the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Education on IT issues in education

Stavroula Sokoli holds a PhD in Translation Theory from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain and BA in English Language and Literature from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her teaching experience includes Spanish language at the Hellenic Open University and Subtitling courses at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. She has carried out research in a number of projects and coordinated the EU-funded “Learning via Subtitling” (Socrates/Lingua II) and ClipFlair (LLP). She has published about 20 articles and book chapters related to audiovisual translation and subtitling in language learning. She has also worked as a professional freelance translator, subtitler and interpreter.