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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Annotated Film Clips Now Available

Using authentic video in language teaching has always been an engaging, enriching, and pedagogically sound use of technology. Now thanks to the University of Minnesota's participation in a UC-Berkeley library initiative, it's even quick and easy too!

Playing short film clips in the second-language classroom or sharing them outside of class can be a simple and efficient way to demonstrate a linguistic function, introduce new vocabulary, show a cultural setting and much more! Short clips allow an instructor to get immediately to the relevant point and watching an interesting clip from a target language film can be culturally enriching for students.

Unfortunately, anyone who has ever located and digitized film clips for class will attest that this work can be labor-intensive. Either the clips need to be prepared well in advance of a class or you cannot use them at all.

The Language Center, on behalf of the College of Liberal Arts is proud to introduce a new resource for University of Minnesota language, culture and film instructors. Our university is now one of several participants in the Berkeley Language Center's Library of Foreign Language Film Clips (LFLFC). This web-based collection features high quality tagged and structured clips from a wide-range of foreign language films. Many clips offer optional subtitles.

Films with tagged clips are currently available in the following target languages: Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If your language is not available, check back! New content is constantly being added. Films in the library include classic and modern films such as Raise the Red Lantern, Caché, Xala, Bella Martha, City of God, Burnt by the Sun and Y Tu Mamá También. Berkeley does not provide a public list of all films available through the LFLFC, but clips are available from close to 350 feature films. The number of clips per film varies considerably, but for most films there are more than ten individual clips available.

Because the database is searchable by both keyword and target-language vocabulary, an instructor can quickly select clips based on the particular instructional topic of the day and play or share an existing annotated clip. For instance, a French instructor looking for examples of introductions can choose from thirty-seven clips. A good choice to consider might be the clip named "Introductions" from Entre les Murs, which has the description "Old and new faculty introduce themselves in a summer meeting prior to the start of classes." The work to find the right video clip is almost done before you've even hit play on a single film.

Some clips even come complete with educational materials. Instructors can also upload and share their own lesson plans for particular clips.

Since the U of M is now a participating university in the LFLFC, all U of M language and culture instructors now have access to these tagged and structured clips for their own classes. There is a catch: in accordance with U.S. copyright law, U of M instructors only have access to those clips in the LFLFC from films for which a university department at the U of M has purchased a physical DVD. This means that instructors can access films owned by the Language Center, CSCL, the Smart Learning Commons and the East Asian Library. Instructors who register with the LFLFC will only see those film choices. As other films in the LFLFC are purchased by university departments, they will be added to the options available for university instructors.

Film clips that instructors request are available for up to two weeks. Instructors can "reserve" the same film clip more than once, so it is possible to use a clip several times.

There is a two-step process to access the LFLFC: first apply for an account at the Berkeley site, second, email elsie@umn.edu and request approval of your application. You must register both with Berkeley and with the Language Center. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you can begin easily integrating short film clips into your class!

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