TESOL Video News

TESOL Video News, Volume 16:2 (March 2005)

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011
In This Issue...
  • Articles and Information
    • Editorial Note
    • Note From the Chair
    • New Year's Greetings From the VDMIS Chair-elect
    • Digitizing Your Old Videotapes: Some Practical Considerations
  • Community Information
    • About the Video and Digital Media Interest Section

Articles and Information Editorial Note

Kenneth Chi, photo.By Kenneth Chi, e-mail: chyipin128@gmail.com

Welcome to the preconference issue of the TESOL Video News. First of all, I want to thank Johanna, my coeditor. With her help and guidance, I finished this issue. Also I want to take this opportunity to thank Susan Stempleski, my teacher at Teachers College, Columbia University, who led me into the world of using video. It's my first time doing this newsletter alone, and I will try my best to take over the job for this coming year.

In "Note From the Chair," Jonathan Gourlay, chair of the Video and Digital Media Interest Section (VDMIS), provides information on the video and digital media sessions at TESOL 2005. Feel free to attend any of the sessions. You will get many hands-on ideas for your classroom teaching. Then we have "New Year's Greetings From the Chair-Elect" by Daniel M. Walsh. "Digitizing Your Old Videotapes: Some Practical Considerations" is a very practical article explaining how to convert videotapes to digital video. The author, Johanna Katchen, is very experienced and knowledgeable in this area.

VDMIS is a group for those who have taken an interest in or want to use video and digital media in their classroom. We encourage you to incorporate these media into your teaching. Once you get started, it won't seem that hard at all, and you will definitely experience the fun of using video and digital equipment.

The VDMIS is soliciting articles for future issues of TESOL Video News. Submit articles or announcements to chyipin128@gmail.com. You may also send opinions and suggestions at any time to the leaders (see the last page of this issue for contact information) or to the electronic mailing list. We look forward to hearing from you.

Note From the Chair

J Gourlay, photo.By Jonathan Gourlay, e-mail: jgourlay@comfsm.fm

Welcome to the preconference newsletter of the Video and Digital Media Interest Section (VDMIS). Because this is my last note as chair of the interest section, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who contributed to the interest section this year. I would particularly like to thank Johanna Katchen, Barbara Morris, and Daniel Walsh, who helped keep the interest section on track and on time.

As someone who wandered into a Video IS business meeting in Vancouver five years ago and ended up as IS chair a few years later, I would like to encourage all of you to participate in the IS. When I went to my first business meeting, I was expecting a large crowd. I imagined that others were as interested in the subject as I was. What I found was a small group of dedicated and overly talented individuals. More important, I found a welcoming group of people. Continuing in that welcoming tradition, I invite all of you who may not have attended the IS meetings in the past to come join us in Texas!

Academic Session--Innovative Uses of Video and Digital Media

This year’s academic session is particularly important for the VDMIS. It marks our first TESOL conference with our new name. As such, it will serve as an important statement of purpose for the group. With our new name and this academic session we are embracing the reality that video is no longer a discrete activity, separate from other media. Rows upon rows of VHS (or Beta!) tapes have been replaced with hard drives full of digital files. The breadth of speakers we have assembled for the academic session reflects this new direction for video in language teaching. The academic session will be held Friday morning from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. in room 203B of the convention center.

Here is a very brief introduction to our speakers and the topics they will present:

Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith, besides having served on the TESOL board of directors, is the author of numerous books and articles. She will be presenting on the uses of web video in the classroom. The Winter 2004 issue of Essential Teacher contains an article by Dr. Hanson-Smith entitled “What’s New in Video Online?”, which should serve as a good introduction to her topic.

Johanna Katchen, longtime FOV (Friend of Video), is a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and author of a book and numerous articles concerning video and ESL. She will be discussing digital audio.

Doug Kelly is the lead instructor of the Media Studies program at the College of Micronesia-FSM. He is the author of Digital Compositing in Depth and other books and articles. He will be speaking about setting up cheap and easy computer-run radio stations for students.

Dr. Alan Melby and Ray Graham of Brigham Young University will be discussing the uses of the Electronic Film Review, a data file that divides a movie into short segments and annotates them with information useful to an English language learner. Dr. Melby has written numerous books in the field of computer-based translation.

Dr. Jeff Wilkinson recently joined the faculty of Regent University in Virginia. Dr. Wilkinson has presented numerous papers on the emerging technology of video teleconferencing. He will be discussing the development of and uses of video teleconferencing.

InterSection--Afternoon at the Movies or Cultural Rewind

This year VDMIS is cosponsoring an InterSection, a session put together by two or more interest sections. The primary sponsor if this session is EFLIS, assisted by the Intercultural Issues and Video and Digital Media Interest Sections.

Jane Hoelker (EFLIS) of the Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar, will show a video her students in Korea made a few years ago. Armeda Reitzel (ICIS), Humboldt State University, California, USA, will discuss video from the aspect of teaching intercultural issues. Johanna Katchen (VDMIS), National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, will provide commentary from the point of view of teaching with video. The session will be held on Friday, April 1 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. in Marriott Rivercenter Salon 1.

Other Announcements

Please join us for the annual Materials Writers and Video and Digital Media joint reception. It will be held on Friday, April 1, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is the perfect way to relax and network. Of particular interest to some are the alcoholic beverages and free snacks.

The annual business meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 30, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center/203A. It is vitally important to attend this meeting so you can help decide important matters and elect a new chair-elect and other officers.

Stop by the VDMIS booth on Wednesday morning and volunteer to spend an hour or two during the conference at the booth. This is an important way to recruit new members!

The VDMIS will be sponsoring a complete slate of discussion groups. The discussion groups will be held each morning of the conference from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. There will also be discussion groups on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 7:45 p.m. Check your catalog for the titles of these discussion groups.

The VDMIS will be sponsoring 12 adjudicated presentations and one poster session at TESOL 2005. Here is a list of the adjudicated presentations:




Video Vocabulary Vignettes

Barbara Morris

Wed. 8:30 a.m.

TV to Boost Vocabulary, Listening, and Writing

Fabiola S. Reyes

Carmen T. Chacon

Wed. 9:30 a.m.

Learn English with Raul, and EL Civics

Diana Brady-Herndon

Marilyn Knight-Mendelson

Wed. 9:30 a.m.

Public Speaking in a Second Language

Susan Steinbach

Wed.10:30 a.m.

Can Survivor Bridge EFL to ESL?

Eileen Scheckle

Sally Potgieter

Wed. 2:00 p.m.

Using Movies to Teach Pragmatics

Cindy S. Knapp

Marcie R. Leek

Wed. 3:00 p.m.

Effective Course Design When Applying New Technology

Rumi Tobita

Kimberly Munson

Thurs. 8:30 a.m.

Practicing Structured Long Turns Using DVD Clips

Ron Belisle

Anita Aden

Thurs. 9:30 a.m.

Language Learning Through Student Video Projects

Marian Thacher

Elena Collins

Thurs. 10:30 a.m.

Raising Teacher Awareness Through the Methodological Mirror

Elizabeth Costa Rabello

Eneida Soares Coaracy

Thurs. 2:00 p.m.

The Din in the Head, Teaching Intonation

Planaria Price

Thurs. 4:00 p.m.

An Interactive Video Series on Immigrant Rights

Monica M. Mingucci

Margie M. Bouchard

Fri. 2:00 p.m.

Using Electronic Film Reviews in English Language Teaching

(Poster Session)

Alan K. Melby (Organizer) Ray Graham,

3/31/2005 12:45:00 PM -3/31/2005 1:30:00 PM

Jonathan Gourlay is chair of the Languages and Literature Division at the College of Micronesia-FSM on the island of Pohnpei. He is serving this year as chair of VDMIS.

New Year's Greetings From the VDMIS Chair-elect

D Walsh, photo.By Daniel M. Walsh, Hagoromo University of International Studies, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, e-mail: walsh@hagoromo.ac.jp

Welcome to 2005, the Year of the Rooster in the 12-year cycle of the Oriental zodiac. Last year was the Year of the Monkey. Born in a Monkey year myself, I was distressed that predictions of upheaval, restlessness, and confusion for my milestone year proved true in too many ways. One notable exception, however, has been my work with the VDMIS, mainly planning events for TESOL 2005 where I look forward to meeting you. I appreciate the support from past and present IS officers that has made my duties quite manageable, sometimes verging on the actually enjoyable.

Who knows what's in store for us this year? I've been told the Year of the Rooster is an opportune time to consider strategic career moves. If you feel the urge to advance in your career, standing for election to chair our IS could be an easily managed step up. You will be encouraged and helped by an eager and experienced team. Think about the possibilities open to you. Then contact me. I'll be happy to talk with you. The Rooster will bring opportunities this year--they are yours for the taking.


Digitizing Your Old Videotapes: Some Practical Considerations

J Katchen, photo.By Johanna Katchen, e-mail: katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw

If you are a teacher who has been using video for a long time, then some of your best material is probably on videotape. However, older videotapes are fast deteriorating and VHS players are becoming obsolete. You may have thought about digitizing your materials but perhaps think it is too hard to do or perhaps have no idea where to start. You are correct in thinking it is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. It’s more like 1, 2, . . . 10—or even 20. Although it’s a bit time-consuming at first as you learn the tricks of your software, it is not impossible. I learned to master the basics over the course of a semester, so you can do it, too.

First of all, it is not practical to digitize your old VHS movies through your computer. There are other hardware devices for doing this. If it is a copyrighted movie, just buy the DVD; it will have better quality, and old movies can be purchased relatively cheaply. It is far more feasible to digitize short pieces, perhaps videos you made of your students’ role plays before camcorders were able to record digitally. (Note that it is illegal to reformat any copyrighted material.)

First I will describe what equipment—hardware and software—is needed. Then I will explain the steps in the process and finally, present the advantages of using digital video.


To get started, you need to have the appropriate hardware. In particular, you need to make certain your computer can capture, or copy, video input and that you have a device that can convert analog video to digital. These devices do not necessarily come with a computer but can be added separately.

Memory. Experts say that movie making is easier on a Mac. I live in Taiwan, where Macs are rare, so my experience is with a desktop PC. Nevertheless, the process and the problems are the same. Whatever computer you use, it should be a relatively new one with good processing power (at least Pentium 3 is recommended) and ample memory. Video files take a lot of memory, not only to store but especially to process. I use one external hard drive (40 gigabytes) to process and save my video and other files for each course I teach that has a video component.

Videocassette Player. Of course you need a VCR to play those videos for input to your computer; make sure it has a counter as you will be locating material and sometimes reversing to repeat when you are not satisfied with the initial capture of the video.

Video Capture Card. To capture video into your computer, you need a video capture card. Many notebooks already have these but desktop PCs may not. Some people install a TV card instead and used the S-Video connection between it and the VCR; I could not get this setup to work with my hardware. However, I already had a video capture card that I had been using with my digital camcorder; it uses a connection known as FireWire (IEEE1394).

Digital Bridge. This little device converts analog to digital or vice versa, much like a train station sends people out and welcomes people in. It looks like a box with several holes on each side, one side for input, one side for output. You can convert analog input from a VCR to digital for a computer, or take digital files from the computer and convert them to analog to record onto a videotape in the VCR. To convert analog to digital, I connect a three-jack wire from the VCR output to the digital bridge input, and then connect the digital bridge output to the computer’s video capture card input via FireWire.

DVD Burner. If you plan to save to DVD, then you need a DVD burner installed in your computer or externally connected to it.


A number of software products are available and they are becoming more and more user-friendly. PCs with Windows most likely have Windows Movie Maker© installed; its directions are relatively straightforward, so this might be a good and inexpensive way to get started. I have been using Video Studio© 8.0, a Ulead product made in Taiwan; version 8.0 is far more transparent to use than 6.0. Video editing software should provide the basic functions of capturing, editing, and saving in several formats (e.g., DVD, VCD, compressed for Internet use).

The Process

You know your setup is correct when you can play the videotape in the VCR and see it playing on your computer monitor. This means the signal is coming into your computer in a format it can deal with. You have to open the editing software to see what is playing in the VCR, and you may also have to disconnect the VCR from any other output, such as a television.

Capturing. The first step is to capture what you want. Find the place on the videotape where you want to start copying and then rewind about 15 to 20 seconds and start playing the tape from there. Then start the capture simultaneously. Sometimes it takes a few seconds for capture to start properly, so it is better to capture some extra footage. When you get to the end of the material you want, it is also advisable to let a few extra seconds get captured at the end. The extra footage can be edited out later.

Some software asks you to select the format in which you want to capture. The highest quality is AVI (Audio Video Interleaving); it takes a lot of memory but it is good for making DVDs. Another high-quality choice for making DVDs is MPEG-2. If your end product will be a VCD, then capture in VCD format. There may be other choices for uploading to the Internet. Note that you will later have to save the file, and it saves time if you capture in the same format that you will save in. If you capture in one format and save in another, you computer has to reformat the material. However, if you are archiving, then you will want to save in the highest possible quality to make a DVD at a future time, but you may also want to make a Windows Media file to take to class or upload to the Internet. Or you may want to save high-quality material on a separate hard drive.

Most capturing is done in real time—as you watch the video—but this may not always be the case. Also in some cases there may be no audio playback while capturing (but your computer is nevertheless capturing both audio and video). With Video Studio 8.0, there is audio playback with all capture formats except Windows Movie (.wmv). I have also observed that whenever there is any small problem in the original videotape, such as a small blip caused by the original editing, other capture formats sometimes shut off and give me a copyright-protected message (even when it is my own recording). In such cases, Windows Movie is the only format that will execute the capture function to completion.

Editing. This step can include a number of optional steps to modify your video. The first aspect is getting the beginning and end exact. Unlike with editing videotapes, where we had to be satisfied with almost right, with digital editing you can cut at the exact frame. You play back what you captured and pause where you want to cut. In most software you can then move forward or backward frame by frame until you find the exact point you want—and then mark it and cut. You can also use this procedure if you are stitching different segments of video together or making several smaller files from a larger captured file.

Most software presents the other editing functions, such as adding titles, music, and voice-overs, as separate steps. These functions are not absolutely necessary but can be fun to play with if you feel creative. Titles at the beginning of the video are useful for identifying the material; for example, “Making a Traditional Chinese Toy, Huang Bao Xuan/黃寶萱, November 1998” gives the title of the speech and the name of the student giving the speech.

Saving. After all your editing is done, you need to save your work in a more permanent and usable format (the temporary saves you made during capturing and editing are most likely only readable by the editing software you are using). Most software gives you several choices. The format you choose depends on how you want to use the video. If you are archiving for future use, it is best to choose the highest quality and save in an external hard drive or burn a DVD. However, there are several different DVD formats, and a DVD made on your computer will most likely play back on your computer but may not play back on your home DVD player connected to your TV or, more important, on a school DVD player on a cart connected to a TV or located in a language lab.

VCD is a somewhat better choice. Though it may not play back on DVD players, it will usually play back on most computers (assuming they already can play VCDs), including computers in classrooms and language labs and students’ computers.

If your goal is uploading to the Internet, then you have to worry about size and choose an appropriate format, such as Windows Movie (.wmv) or Real Media (.rm). Most servers give you a limited amount of space and you don’t want to use it up with just a few minutes of video. One minute of a reasonably good quality Windows Movie file takes about 5 MB, so a few five-minute files will quickly use 100 MB. The university where I teach currently allots 190 MB per e-course, and by mid-semester last fall I was warned I had exceeded my quota, so I converted my video files to Real Media.

Real Media compresses files even more than Windows Movie does, about 1 MB per minute of video, but students have complained about poor quality. Real Media quality may be acceptable for viewing material in a first language, but for language-learning material in a foreign language, we need higher quality. Compression rates are sure to improve along with quality and, meanwhile, we will probably be offered more space on servers for our teaching and personal material. But for now, size is still a consideration.


When I use video in the language lab these days, all I need to carry to class is my flash disk, a tiny portable hard drive smaller than a finger, on which I have saved the video materials I will use in class and also various textual material to display on-screen, such as comprehension questions and vocabulary items, even the full text to be shown after listening. Or I might have the text of some linguistic material to give my students practice with other varieties of English. When I want to play the video, the Windows Media Player opens and my video begins—full screen if I want, or in a smaller window while students follow some textual material on the screen.

Have you ever done fill-in-the-blank in class with a videotape? You pause and rewind a bit over and over and often back up too far. But with a digital file, you don’t have other stories on the tape to rewind to. There is just your own story from beginning to end. You can pause and move the cursor just a few seconds forward or back. Constant pausing and rewinding is wear and tear on the VCR, but pausing does not hurt your computer or the file. Moreover, if students work with VCDs or video files from the Internet, they also have this individual control over the material to listen to any portion of the file as many times as they like.

Digital is the wave of the future, and once you start teaching with digital files, you won’t want to go back to videotape.

Johanna Katchen has been using video in teaching at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, for nearly 20 years. She is a former chair of the VDMIS when it was known as the Video Interest Section.

Community Information About the Video and Digital Media Interest Section

TESOL's Video and Digital Media Interest Section (VDMIS) focuses on the production and use of video and digital materials in English language teaching. Areas include student- and teacher-produced videos, reviews of commercially available materials, listening/speaking/reading/writing instruction through movies and TV, media literacy, film analysis, intercultural training, video as an assessment tool, teacher education, interactive video, distance learning, and the use of new video-related technology.

VDMIS Community Leaders, 2004-2005

Chair: Jonathan Gourlay, e-mail jgourlay@comfsm.fm
Chair-Elect: Daniel M. Walsh, e-mail walsh@hagoromo.ac.jp
Coeditor: Kenneth Chi, e-mail chyipin128@gmail.com
Coeditor: Johanna E. Katchen, e-mail katchen@mx.nthu.edu.tw
Coeditor: Jia-Jen Luo, e-mail starlitluo@hotmail.com

Web site: http://www.tesol.org/vdmis

Discussion E-List: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected to subscribe to VDMIS-L, the discussion list for VDMIS members, or visithttp://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=vdmis-l if already a subscriber.