Vision: An Introduction for Activity Authors


Vision (Video Software for Instruction Online) allows instructors to build lessons with corresponding exercises based on video clip segments they have created and edited. Vision provides students with an opportunity to work in a directed way with additional sources of authentic spoken language, both in or out of the classroom. Instructors who work with the Vision template can author activities using authentic foreign language video clips, annotations (including vocabulary, grammar, cultural or historical facts), and exercises that evaluate the students' comprehension. A Vision activity usually contains several units, each made up of at least one lesson that consists of video, notes, and exercises (multiple choice, short answer, or essay). The student view of a lesson is divided into two sections: note area and video content.

Vision's use of audio, video, notes, and exercises accommodates several learning styles - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, to name a few. You can prepare a set of Vision lessons grouped by content and/or levels of complexity. Through Vision, you can highlight relevant language spoken in the video clip with a vocabulary or usage list of words, phrases, colloquial expressions, and parts of speech displayed on the left hand side of the Vision student view. This text area may also be used to offer information about the target country, its culture or history covered in the video clip. You can offer your students the opportunity to improve their aural comprehension skills, while simultaneously focusing on paralinguistic features such as: gesture, facial expression, and body language. Students can also control the audio input (e.g., through repeated playback) to enhance their listening skills.

Creating a Vision Activity

Before you begin work on your Vision activity, think about what your goals are. Do you want your Vision activity to be connected with textbook lessons you are covering? Do you want it to be independent of the textbook? What themes will it focus on? What types of annotations would you like to provide? What skills would you like your students to develop while working with your Vision activity? It may be useful for you to take a look at the activities that have already been completed with this template in order to hone your ideas. In addition, here are some examples of what you can do with the template:
  • Produce your own video materials through interviews, personally narrated
  • Create an archive of filmed lectures given by special guests at Yale or in the New Haven region.
  • Provide an entree into an important medium of a speech community's popular culture: TV.
  • Provide close-ups of mouth and lip formations for the basic phonetic system of a language.
  • Offer compelling audio which supplemented with still photography to create another form of “film.”
  • Create film diaries or other types of non-fiction.
  • Run an on-line student film festival.
  • Introduce music with lyrics.
The amount of time it takes to create a Vision activity varies greatly depending on the activity's scope and difficulty. It will also depend on what kinds of materials you choose to use. If you plan to use video footage you have filmed or will film yourself, this should be factored into the total amount of time allotted for the creation of your activity. If you plan to use clips from other people's films, the necessary copyright permissions must be secured early. This process can also occupy a great deal of time.

You should plan out in advance what units and lessons you'd like to create using Vision. What would you like to be the overarching organizing principle of your units and lessons? Then consider what materials-video, notes, and exercises-you will need in order to build your lessons and units. Choose specific video clips around which you would like to build your first set of lessons (this will be useful when it comes time to import and edit the video clips). After selecting and editing video clips using iMovie, you can assemble the clips into lessons and units within a Vision activity using the template. One or more video clips (you can use images and audio files, too), vocabulary (or other notes), and questions make up a lesson. Remember that you can always edit and extend your materials later.

When planning your vocabulary and other notes, think carefully about the order in which they are presented. There are various ways in which you might want to group them, though the most common is simply to list them in the order in which they appear in the video clip, making it easier for students to refer to them as the video plays.

Sharing a Vision Activity

When you introduce your Vision activity to your students, spend some time explaining how you'd like them to use it in and/or out of class. Students will connect to the website where the Vision materials have been posted. After choosing a unit and a lesson to work on, the student can then read the previewing text, scan the supplementary vocabulary, and then view the video clip, pausing and replaying it as desired and referring back to the vocabulary when needed. After viewing the video clip, the student can complete the comprehension questions, which are then emailed to the instructor. Though the activity you have created will be easy to use from a technical perspective, students may require some guidance in how to incorporate such a tool into their own language study habits.

If other instructors will also be using your activity, be sure to show them what led you to make various design choices so they understand how the activity was meant to work and how they can explain it to their students.


© 2005 Yale University Center for Language Study. All rights reserved.
~ Certifying Authority: Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl