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Deconstructing Grammar Concepts in ESL Using VideoScribe

Deconstructing Grammar Concepts in ESL Using VideoScribe 2017

Deconstructing Grammar Concepts in ESL Using VideoScribe


Karin Lundberg, Associate Professor, Language & Cognition Department; Catherine Lyons, Associate Professor, Library; & David dos Santos, Instructional Design Specialist, EdTech Department, Hostos Community College


Instructors in developmental ESL often grapple with the persistent discrepancy in student grammar input and the  uneven level of its correct application in their language use. The awareness of sentence boundaries, and the role clauses play within a sentence, are among the most common hurdles in ESL students’ linguistic progression. Multimodal literacy enables students to navigate the world using multiple forms of media. Students navigate between modalities and process information by absorbing multiple strands of intake simultaneously (Kress 2003). It therefore makes sense to tap into these readily available skills to illustrate more complex linguistic concepts. During the Fall 2017 semester a faculty member in the Department of Language & Cognition teamed up with staff in the EdTech Office to develop scribe videos to teach grammar concepts in an ESL course, using this multimodal literacy approach. VideoScribe is an application that makes it easy for users to create and share storyboard type movies, usually with a voiceover or other audio that accompanies the animation. The animation tends to be a series of graphics or words that are drawn or written, sort of a hybrid between a lecture-capture style video featuring PowerPoint slides, and an actual short movie. Because the animation rely heavily on animating written text, the technology matches well with ESL, where the focus of the content is on text. Students, in their language production, retrieve mental representation of a concept as audio-visual patterns rather than the written word. Additionally, creating audio-visual representations that are embedded in a familiar context (Blackboard and YouTube) offers cues to students that help to build and construct mental models of more abstract concepts. Presenters will discuss their experience creating two short scribe videos to help ESL learners with grammar concepts. They will also discuss students’ responses to using these videos in their coursework.

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