The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #4 July / August 2013
Sections
Parleremo YouTube
by Erik Zidowecki
July / August 2013 | 

Sections is a regular column about different parts of Paleremo, explaining their purpose and how to use them.

Over the past decade, YouTube has become the most popular place for people to post videos online. This has encouraged people to make their own videos for teaching others languages. Some of these are very amateurish, with a single person talking into their video cam, while others are of a fully professional quality. These videos are available for free through YouTube, providing a whole new media source for learning languages.

Along with these teaching videos are a large number of short clips of cultural events, music events, and even television shows and movies in foreign languages.

The only drawback to this is with literally millions of videos online, how does one find something that might help or be of interest to them? In order to help make this sorting task easier, we developed the Parleremo YouTube system, or PYT.

Parleremo YouTube

The PYT basically has two main components to it. The first is the YouTube search, which allows a user to search YouTube using keywords. This is accessed by selecting the "YouTube" tab above the search bar. Two icons allow for a selection of matching videos or playlists. Another option restricts the number of results returned, from 20 to 300, in increments of 20. Last is the way to sort: by relevance (best matches the keywords), published (date the video or playlist was put online), viewCount (number of times a video has been watched), and rating (giving the highest rating first). Once a user has set all these options, they click "Go" to get the results.

If the search was done on videos, they will be displayed below in a column on the left, with each entry showing a thumbnail image of the video, the length, title, topic (as defined in YouTube), and number of views it has received. Only 20 videos will be listed at a time, so if the user set a higher limit for results, there will be a multiple page numbers at the top of the list to use to navigate through them all.

If the search was done for playlists, which are groups of similar videos, the left column will split into two parts, with the upper part showing the playlists and the bottom showing the videos of a selected playlist. Note that there is a slight change in the search bar if you select to search for playlists. The sort option changes to an option to display thumbnails. If a user selects to see thumbnails, the playlists will attempt to show thumbnails for a few of the videos in it.

Clicking on a thumbnail or title will bring the video into the viewing area on the right. Once it is there, the user must click on it to begin watching it. Below that will be the title of the video, the date it was uploaded, the name of the original uploader of it and a description, if any is available. The video is displayed using the YouTube player, so it will have all the capabilities of that, such as pause and play controls, volume control and full screen.

Now, this is nothing new. You can already do all this from the YouTube site itself, of course, plus a whole lot more. So why did we build this? Well, this gives users the ability to find the videos they like or think would be helpful to others. Once they have found such a video, they can save it in the PYT database so that other members can find it easily.

These videos are available for free through YouTube, providing a whole new media source for learning languages.

If the video (or playlist) hasn't been added to the PYT database yet, there will be a green plus icon on the right of the title in the listing. Clicking on that will open a popup window which gives the user the options for adding. If they are wanting to add a video, the options are for a language and category. The user should select which language the video is for, and the category will be what kind of video it is, like if it is educational, entertainment, cultural, or something else. Once those are set, the user clicks on Save. If they don't want to add the video after all, they can click Cancel.

If the user selects to add a playlist, then the options vary slightly. They should still select a language and category, but they may also select if they want to add just the playlist, just the videos of the playlist, or both. This can be a good way to add a lot of related videos at once.

Once a video or playlist has been added, it must be approved by an administrator before it can be stored in the PYT database. This is to prevent abuse of the system as well as simple mistakes. In the approval section, an administrator can change the language or category of a video or delete it if it is inappropriate. Any user that deliberately tries to post vulgar or obscene videos will be warned not to do so again.

Categories

There are currently just a few specific categories that a video or playlist can be given. Learning is exactly as it sounds, with these videos being lessons on a language. If there is something very educational about a culture, those videos might also be allowed. Entertainment is more flexible, with it covering things like music videos that allow a person to hear a language sung, a language related skit, etc. Culture videos should be showing something related to the society a language is used in, and these can include festivals, rituals and anything else that gives an insight into another country or culture. Member is a category specifically for highlighting videos that a member has created, such as themselves greeting others in many languages or giving their own lessons. Lastly, Karaoke is for any music in another language that shows the lyrics, so a person might sing along with it. This is a specific kind of learning, so it has its own category. If anyone has an idea for categories that might be useful for others, they should contact an administrator.

Languages

The languages that a video or playlist can be added for are the same as what is available for selection on the rest of the site. If a user would like to add a video for a language that isn't yet available, they should contact an administrator to suggest that the language be added. We do not plan to add all possible languages, so a request should be based upon providing actual materials others can use.

Local Selection

Once a user has added a video and it has been approved, or if they just want to see what has already been added, they should select the "Parleremo" tab.

The options for this search are slightly different than the one for YouTube. First is the keyword area, which remains the same. Then are options for language and categories. If these are left to their defaults of "any", then the results will be in the order they were originally added to the database. The next option is to view just the most recently added videos. If this is selected, only the newest ones will be listed. The last options are for videos or playlist and the number of results, same as in the YouTube search.

Also like the YouTube search, the listing will split into groups of 20 to be paged through, as well as into two sections if a playlist search is selected. The listings are basically the same as well, with showing a thumbnail, length, and title and category. However, instead of a view count, there will be the language the video is for.

Another difference in the listing is the optional icons on the right side. If a video is newer, it will display an orange ball. There is also an icon that allows a user to report a video if they think it is inappropriate or has the wrong language or category. Clicking on that icon will open a window to allow the user to type a message for an administrator.

User Playlist

If a user has their own playlists they have created on YouTube, those can also be added to the PYT by doing a search on the users name. These must be set to be public and embedded, however, or else they can not be views by anyone except the original creator.

Drawbacks

The PYT does not store any videos itself, just the information to obtain them from YouTube, so if a video is removed from there, it will also be gone from the PYT. Also, since the video player is also the same as used by YouTube, we have no power to control what other videos it might offer you after playing one. We also don't control any ads they may lay over a video.

We have tried to make this video system easy to use, but if anyone has any suggestions or problems, they should not hesitate to contact an administrator. We hope it is useful for everyone, and, most of all, that people have fun!


 
1
Sections - Parleremo YouTube
Writer: Erik Zidowecki

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.

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