As part of a minor language learning initiative (e.g. Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Arabic) at the University of Warwick, Zhiqiong Chen has started 'Warwick Student's Language Video Competition' (an IATL funded project), where students were invited to submit 3-minute-long videos that would reflect on their appreciation of and reflection on foreign languages and cultures and various aspects of language learning. Student could record and submit their videos in pairs or small groups and were encouraged to seek advice from their peers who spoke the native language and/or had the technical skills necessary for video production. The videos were eventually published online, and the winners selected by a public poll vote and awarded vouchers/internship opportunities/Lifelong language learning courses. By producing videos reflecting on their experience with language learning, students were encouraged to develop transferable skills, improve teamwork with their peers, get public engagement experience, and enhance their in-depth understanding of the language; similar video-essay competitions could benefit students from other departments.
Zhiqiong Chen, SMLC
- The tutors within the Language Centre and SMLC encouraged their students to participate in the language learning video competition as an extra-curricular activity with prizes awarded to the authors of the best entries. The public-facing part of the competition was run by a team of WBS students with marketing and project management experience.
- The organisers of the competition compiled documents with brief guides on video-editing software use and encouraged students to seek advice from technical staff. In the second year of the competition, students were offered more direct technical help from the beginning of the project, with technical support staff able to check their work before submission.
- Students were invited to create small groups (of two or more) to co-author their videos. Their were particularly encouraged to join teams with native speakers or students with technical videographic skills.
- The students were told to submit their videos on eStream because of the large size of some videos. The videos were then published online, and a poll was created to determine the winners.
- Once all submissions were received, a final show was hosted to display all the received entries.
- When the project was over, the students were encouraged to write small blog posts reflecting on their experience with the video competition.
Video is an information-rich medium. I found that students when students make videos, they're not just using it as a tool, but they have to be creative, using sounds, images, actions, written and verbal languages to express themselves effectively. So, there are a lot of skills that they can learn -- not just digital skills, but digital competence, combining knowledge, skills, and attitude with regards to the use of technology to complete a task or solve a problem. ... The students who actually participated in this project, they found that they liked to work in a group, because didn't have worry if they don't have video skills, you can just work with somebody else... They found that this project helped them to learn digital skills, helped them build teamwork, and helped improve their communication as well. And, for the students who did not participate in this project but watched the final show, they found it was a fantastic experience as well, it is a really good way to promote language learning. And some students felt inspired.