Phil Hubbard on Digital content curation for CALL using TED Talk YouTube video

Learning2gether Episode 192

Download mp3:

On Sunday Dec 8 Phil Hubbard spoke with us on Digital content curation for CALL using TED Talk videos on YouTube

This post documents a great session with Phil Hubbard  where Phil explained his system for curating TED Talk videos according to their vocabulary and language load for the students. It was a very well attended event and generated a lot of discussion not only in the chats, which we captured (I found out you can copy from Hangout chat and paste it into Google Docs and of course it comes out with avatars and emoticons intact 🙂 but in the Google Group, where Claude Almansi entered an energetic discussion and even made a transcript to subtitle the video record in Amara.

Where? We were in Google Hangout

Philip Hubbard presented this 45 min Research and Development paper Digital content curation for CALL on 10th July at the 2013 WorldCALL conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

His PowerPoint slides are here:


To date, CALL work has focused on four major and sometimes overlapping areas: tutorial CALL, use of technological tools for CALL, CALL tasks, and CALL environments. The first two are linked to Levy’s (1997) tutor-tool framework, CALL tasks are most comprehensively acknowledged in Chapelle’s (2001) framework, and CALL environments have been defined by Egbert & Hanson-Smith (2007), as well as through work in Activity Theory and ecological approaches. To these foundational domains of the field I propose adding a fifth: curated digital content. Digital content—text, audio, video, and multimedia—is growing almost exponentially, especially in commonly taught languages and others with large bases of Internet users. This volume can be overwhelming to both teachers and learners.

Aimed at imposing order on this chaos, CALL content curation can be defined as the collection and organization of digital content with value added by a language learning expert who serves much the same role as a curator of exhibits in a museum. In this talk, I first present the concept of curation and distinguish it from related concepts such as simple content aggregation, tagging, crowdsourcing, content adaptation, and lesson development. I then offer a preliminary framework for identifying promising sources for curation and for desirable characteristics of curators and curated material. As an example, I describe a curation project from my advanced ESL listening class, built around videos of TED talks (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) curated from and designed to support autonomous learning. This section includes a discussion of how the effective use of curated content by language learners requires informed use of a range of technology tools for extracting form and meaning in the pursuit of language learning objectives. I conclude by emphasizing the importance of content curation as a long-term priority ripe for further Research and Development.

Claude Almansi has made some interesting comments on Google+ …

Here is the full text of Claude’s observations:

Just some remarks re: the very useful list, mentioned in the PDF. TED talks viewed on or on YouTube:

  • have subtitles and interactive transcripts generated from them in usually heaps of languages. So you can have the subtitles in the original language and the transcript in your own language, or viceversa: this allows learners to use a talk even if they have a limited vocabulary,  and it also makes the need to provide a glossary less important;
  •  can be downloaded with subtitles in any of the provided languages burned in (open captions): useful when learners don’t have access to a good connection
  •  can be subtitled by learners themselves by joining , and subtitling is a great language exercise. Moreover, the subtitle timing is sometimes more accurate on (where they are made) than on, due to codex things I don’t understand 😉

That’s the case with those for the “Andy Hobsbawm: Do the green thing” video mentioned in the PDF and in the list: there’s a lag in , whereas there is none in .

One more thing: once you’ve downloaded a TED video as MP4 (or any MP4 video for that matter), you can open it as audio in Audacity if you install the FFmpeg library (see for more info). And with Audacity, you can change the delivery speed without altering the pitch, either via the “Change Tempo” effect, or via the reading speed slidebar. This would allow learners to overcome understanding issues due to  fast delivery.

Moreover, you can also add labels to the audio with Audacity: see . So a teacher could e.g. make and download a label track with either glossary indications or questions, and share it with the students, who could re-use them with their audio file in Audacity too. And then, such an audio version could also enable, by comparison, a reflection on use of visuals in the video: some TED lecturers use them, some just speak.

This thread continues at some length

in comments on the event announcement at the Learning2gether Google+ event page here:

Transcript of this session

in addition, Claude and others have subtitled this talk using the transcript posted in Amara, here:


The version with  English captions can be edited and improved (some words are still missing) at .

On July 14, 2013 Claude and her colleague Lucia Bartolotti joined us on Learning2gether to explain Amara and its use as a media caption tool in language learning


More about WorldCALL


Proceedings were here: (link broken)


Earlier this week

Wed Dec 4 at 1000 GMT Jennifer Maddrell hosted Designers for Learners webcast

Please join us at for our next Designers for Learners webcast on Wednesday, December 4th at 1:00 p.m. CST. Here is the start time in your area: The webcast will focus on opportunities to develop service-learning and Open Educational Resource (OER) projects to support General Educational Development (GED) test preparation. Our guests for the webcast have extensive experience in OER development, including Ronda Neugebauer and David Wiley of Lumen Learning (, and Quill West, OER Director at Tacoma Community College (

In the past few months, we have received inquiries from nonprofits in need of instructional design help to support GED test preparation, including resources for learners, as well as for staff and volunteers who work as tutors. In 2014, the requirements for the GED test will change significantly from the existing 2002 version of the test. In addition to changes in the content and test items, all students will be required to take the test via computer vs. pencil and paper. Instructional materials are needed to support a range of subject-matter, including math, science, social studies, language arts, and computer use. Please join us to contemplate the adaptation, development, and use of OER as an alternative to existing commercial offerings, such as those in the GED marketplace (

We look forward to seeing you on December 4th! If you can’t make the live session, the recording will be available at or

Connect with us on twitter at:
Designers for Learning updates are posted at:

Our website:

Thu Dec 5 at 0800 GMT Vance Stevens introduced teachers in Al Ain UAE to Bb Collaborate



2 thoughts on “Phil Hubbard on Digital content curation for CALL using TED Talk YouTube video

  1. Thanks to you and Phil Hubbard for the hangout yesterday! Tough I missed the beginning, I listened to it afterwards on YT.
    In the comments to the hangout announcement on G+, Elizabeth Anne asked how to find the transcripts of TED videos. I slightly messed up the reply because I didn’t take into account that YT videos get embedded in pages too.
    So here goes again:

    1. If the TED talk is only on – see e.g. – beneath the video player, there is a a series of commands, with on the far right a droplist labeled “Show transcript” listing all the languages in which you can view the transcript.

    2. If the talk is on YouTube – see e.g TEDxParis 2012 – Laurent Alexandre – Le recul de la mort : l’immortalité à brève échéance (and all TEDx Talks tagged CC) – you must click on the icon that looks like a written sheet of paper with a ruler and is labeled “Transcript” in mouse-over, beneath the number of viewing, and that will open a droplist of languages in which transcripts are available.

    3. If the talk is on YouTube and embedded in a page – see e.g. which embeds – open the video in YouTube: then as in 2 for finding the transcript.

  2. Reblogged this on Bloglillon and commented:
    … allora dalla presentazione di Phil Hubbard – vista soprattutto in differita – ho imparato tanto, ma anche che non sono una curatrice. Cioè, ho curato 3-4 libri su carta e nei primi anni 1990 con una classe del liceo di Locarno, una versione digitale pirata di un lungo racconto di Simenon, per uno studente ipovedente di un’altra classe, con le traduzioni delle parole che loro stessi non sapevano in note a piè di pagina, visto che il dizionario era stampato ancora più piccolo del racconto. E anche la scelta dei materiali nel wiki era parecchio direttiva nel senso di Phil Hubbard: ma uè, era per un corso d’aggiornamento al galoppo di 5 giorni che doveva portare gli iscritti ad Master in comunicazione interculturale ad essere in grado di seguire i corsi che sarebbero dati in francese. Quindi non c’era tempo per lasciarli cercare loro stessi i video e i testi che preferivano, purtroppo.
    O almeno così credevo allora, nel 2007. Oggi probabilmente farei diversamente, persino in soli 5 giorni.
    La “curation” come intesa da Hubbard, cioè di un percorso graduato obbligato, mi fa venir in mente l’altro significato di “curatela”, cioè la curatela imposta alle persone incapaci di intendere e volere.

Leave a Reply to Claude Almansi Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s