Using video and digital media with English language learners: Intro to VDMIS and call for papers

Duysevi Miyar, TESOL/Video Digital Media Interest Section (VDMIS) Chair 2010


Video can be an effective and powerful tool for learning English. The visual element is appealing and familiar to students, and teachers can use video to provide experiences otherwise unavailable in the classroom. Why use digital media with English Language Learners?

Digital media can be used with English Language Learners (ELLs) for a variety of purposes. For instance, audio in the form of podcasts, songs, and other tools from the web can be used to build various skills in the language classroom. Moreover, images, photo-editing tools, and videos from the web can assist teachers in enhancing vocabulary, building background knowledge, and contextualizing their lessons. However, the question of using digital media and how to incorporate digital media into the classroom can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, there are various organizations that bring together teachers from all over the world to share their ideas and research in the area of video and digital media. One such organization in the United States is the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.(TESOL).

TESOL is a global organization for English language teachers. There are several Interest Sections (ISs), or special interest groups, within TESOL that connect members based on professional areas of interest. One such interest section is the Video Digital Media Interest Section (VDMIS). The 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.

The VDMIS also has an electronic group (e-group) which is a virtual meeting place for individuals within the TESOL association who have similar interests. In the past, groups sharing a clearly defined professional interest were only able to meet each other for a few moments at a convention presentation. However, today, electronic groups based on themes or issues within the profession can reach across geographic and procedural boundaries, allowing members to discuss their topics or areas of interest throughout the year.

Every year, TESOL organizes a three to four-day global conference at which various experts, teachers, and interest section members give presentations on various English language teaching and learning issues. The VDMIS conducts an academic session annually at the TESOL Convention and various professionals from all over the world discuss topics of interest and innovations in the area of video and digital media. Moreover VDMIS collaborates and presents with other interest sections as well. This year the TESOL 2010 Convention was held in Boston, USA, from 24-27 March 2010. This year the VDMIS academic session, entitled “The Power of Video Tutorials in the Language Classroom,” focused on a selection of video tutorials that could serve as valuable tools for both teachers and students in the language classroom.

Another very important virtual extension of the TESOL Convention is the Electronic Village Online (EVO), which isaprofessional development project.For six weeks, participants can engage with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) experts in collaborative online discussion sessions or hands-on virtual workshops of professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by the four-day land-based TESOL convention and allow a fuller development of ideas and themes of the convention or of professional interest in general. These sessions are organized by TESOL’s CALL Interest Section and are runwholly by volunteers. The sessions are free and open to all interested parties. You do not need to be a TESOL member to participate.

Finally, VDMIS also has an electronic newsletter that is published two to three times a year. We are always looking for article submissions for our newsletter so that teachers can share their experiences in the field of video and digital media and broaden their horizons. As the 2010 VDMIS chair, I would like to welcome you to the VDMIS. If interested in submitting an article to VDMIS, please email me at <> for submission guidelines and other details. VDMIS looks forward to hearing from teachers all over the world. There’s no better way to connect globally!

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