Initial planning for Ulster’s sample audiovisual learning materials took place in April/May 2014. It was decided that we would try to introduce as much variety as possible in terms of content, the type of language used and the external parties who would collaborate with us. Obviously, collaboration with external stakeholders is a key element of the POOLS3 project and we were keen to sieze this opportunity to begin that collaboration in a productive way. The main parties we included in this part of the project were An Carn community centre; guests at one of our A Level open days; and adult learners on an intensive residential course held during August in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region). We also decided on a having a mixture of videos shot on location outdoors and videos shot indoors. In relation to the filming conducted in and around Carntogher community centre in County Derry (http://www.ancarn.org)
as well as collaborating with the centre at an institutionional level we had the added pleasure of working with a current student and recent graduate from our Irish Language programmes at the University. The series of videos made at Carntogher aimed to demonstrate that local community initiatives and local points of interest provided stimulating material for language learning and that the approach modelled here could be replicated in scores of other interesting places like Carntogher, also featuring key stakeholders in local community initiatives who have a story to tell. This series of videos was largely unscripted and recorded in single takes. Three examples of scripted material were included in the collection from the adult learner course in Donegal. The students themselves wrote the scripts and acted them out as role-plays. As well as demonstrating the fun that can be had while learning and practising a language, these videos also demonstrate how hands-on filming can easily be integrated into active language learning. These videos will also hopefully demonstrate to future workshop participants that much can be achieved in relation to promoting student-centred learning by integrating just a little bit of technology. The final preparation and editing of these videos was completed using commonly available software, for example, Apple’s iMovie software. The series of videos shot at Carntogher were filmed using an iPad so it made sense to transfer these to a Macbook for editing. We were generally satisfied with the quality of the pictures taken by the iPad, however, sound quality was sometimes compromised, especially when background noise from the local wildlife, and the roar of passing vehicles made their presence felt. The review process during the 3rd project workshop in Brno was very constructive and helpful in terms of getting tips on how to achieve better sound quality during future filming.
Caoimhín Ó Dónaill