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This content is taken from the The British Film Institute (BFI) & Into Film's online course, Short Film in Language Teaching. Join the course to learn more.

Dialogue and inference - working with creative technologies

Please read the text before watching the video.

The kinds of technology widely available in many classrooms are ideal tools for exploring language production in creative and engaging ways. Free editing software such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and many online packages, enable you to help learners interact with moving image material. Please see the Guide to Editing with iMovie PDF in the downloads section and click here or here for a ‘how-to’ guide for Windows Movie Maker. Make sure you scroll down the page to find the link if you are using the Microsoft support link.

Below we have set out a list of possible activities, but there’s one we’d like you to think about closely for this step:

Ask your learners to create a voiceover to accompany a scene or sequence, that either comments on the action, or voices the implied thoughts and feelings of the characters.

If you want to try this for yourself, you can import a clip into an editing package, mute or remove the soundtrack, and then record your voice over the top (see the handouts in the download section below). If you don’t have access to the technology, you can choose a clip and script an exchange of dialogue, and add it to padlet. We have included a short clip in this step where a youngster scripted and recorded an imagined exchange for the Taps in Welsh.

The focus of this activity is for you to think about the groups of learners you work with - do they already have enough language resources to be able to carry out an activity like this, or would it be too challenging? What kinds of preparation would be necessary? Reflect on the potential for using technology like this in your own classroom - what challenges might you face? Please add your comments to the comments section.

Other ideas to consider include:

  1. Create subtitles to accompany short sequences of spoken dialogue in a short film, for example by ‘translating’ the exchanges between our taps. This can be done using the subtitling app DoubleSub whereby students can see and create subtitles in two languages for a film or clip. Please see our Apps to Support Filmmaking resource in the downloads section. This activity can be done just as easily on paper.

  2. Create intertitles between shots or scenes in a film, that recap, summarise, or comment on the action. In motion pictures, an intertitle (also known as a title card) is a piece of printed text that has been filmed and edited in between the images at various points.

  3. Dub your own voices onto a sequence of dialogue in a film, by muting or deleting the original and replacing it with your own. In fact, this last activity doesn’t have to use fancy technology - it can be set up as a ‘live lip syncing’ activity as a piece of classroom drama.

We’ve attached two handy guides to working with creative technology in the download section at the bottom of this step.

Please share and discuss any particularly successful activities from this step carried out in your classroom to the comments section. If you create any video content please upload it to YouTube and copy and paste the link to the comments section. See the instructions at the bottom of this step to see how it’s done. If you do decide to upload a video to YouTube please remember to set your listings to private, in instances where learners are using audio/video featuring students. And please do not add video content of young people without written parental permission or video content of adults without their consent.

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Short Film in Language Teaching

The British Film Institute (BFI)

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