What is Vidtionary? Vidtionary is a video dictionary. The project’s home can be found on the Internet at www.vidtionary.com. What is a video dictionary? As Vidtionary envisions it, a video dictionary is a collection of short videos devoted to defining words by showing various example scenes illustrating a word’s meaning and presenting the text of the word itself in a visually meaningful way.
Why might the world need a video dictionary? Every person who has ever picked up a dictionary has probably discovered, at least once, that using more words to explain an unknown word doesn’t always work. If you look up an easy word like ‘jump’ or ‘ball’, the definition will likely use words of greater difficulty. So, when the word can be shown in a picture, it makes sense to add a picture. A lot of words, however, have been attached to things that move, or things that take different shapes and forms; thus, it seems reasonable to approach the visual definition of words with video and motion graphics. Of course, the greater majority of English words would be hard to communicate visually, without being terribly abstract; nevertheless, 1000s of words can be well defined by video.
To answer the first question, Vidtionary is for anyone who is studying or teaching English. While it may seem that the largest market for visual language-learning aids is children, we think visuals are important for language learners of all ages. Vidtionary can be utilized by native speakers of English and ESL/EAL (English as a Second/Another Language) learners alike. Moreover, speech therapists may find it to be a useful tool. In addition to language learners, anyone with an interest in visual literacy, such as graphic designers, may take interest in Vidtionary.
Until now, Vidtionary has primarily been made by Donald Anderson, a.k.a DoAn Forest. The project was initiated during Donald Anderson's time as an M.Ed. student at Thompson Rivers University in BC, Canada. Gradually, it is hoped that Vidtionary videos will be created by others, but the preparations (in terms of process, content rights, motivation) necessary to include the works of other video creators have yet to be made. More about the author: Born in Canada in 1976, Donald has been an English teacher since 1999. He is also a video artist (his works are archived at www.doanforest.com). He currently lives on and off in Vancouver, BC, Canada and Seoul, South Korea. His work on Vidtionary combines his love for film, motion graphics, and art with his love of language learning and teaching.
First, the tools ... The majority of these videos have been edited on an Apple computer, with the most utilized software being the Apple products, Motion and Final Cut Pro. As for the website, it utilizes the WordPress open-source CMS (content management system) and various plugins (I intend to start doing blog entries for the individual plugins, in order to show my gratitude). Next, the content ... In terms of the content of the videos, much of the footage has been filmed over the years by DoAn Forest. Most of the motion graphics have also been created by DoAn. DoAn’s video footage has been supplemented at times by other footage sources – these alternate footage sources include stock footage available by subscription from Video Blocks, stock footage purchased from Pond 5, built in content for the Motion software, archival footage found at the Internet Archive (most often in the Prelinger Archives), clipart used under subscription from Clipart.com, animation clips available by subscription from Animation Factory, and video uploaded to Flickr and other web destinations under a Creative Commons license.
It is hoped that Vidtionary can be used by teachers in the classroom, parents with their children, and self-guided learners. Various teaching guides and lesson plans will soon be developed, which will give extensive ideas on how to best utilize Vidtionary. Also, there is a quiz section of the site, where students can answer review questions about various videos. Finally, many of the videos on this site have an associated WOW version (ie. a version without words), which can be used to illicit class discussion or be used in games. For instance, students might watch a video, and then the student which can first say the word associated with the video may be rewarded a point in the game. In the meantime, until more detailed usage tips and lesson plans are made available, hopefully teachers will have some ideas of their own on how to use the website (and we'd be thrilled to hear those ideas!).
The idea for Vidtionary was conceived in Seoul, South Korea in 2006, at which time the project's creator Donald Anderson was there teaching English. Actual development on the project began in 2007, at the time Donald Anderson began his M.Ed. degree at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, Canada. In 2010, when Donald completed his M.Ed. degree, the Vidtionary site featured video definitions for around 60 words. By late 2013, the site featured video definitions for more than 400 words. Most of these videos have been created in Vancouver, Canada or Seoul, South Korea.