Autocues for language learning: linguistic immersion, employability, and a transferable end-product.

Recently I went to Southampton University to present at the LLAS annual Symposium for E-Learning. The conferences there are always fantastic for educational professionals using technology for language learning. It’s like breathing pure oxygen for us, since a lot of the time in our respective departments we are battling to find ground with the traditional courses. Often it works-out too, since really there is a lot that both traditional and technology bound education can offer each other, though it is not always clear at the outset, and we can get a bit polarized into an either/ or attitude.

The project for autocues stemmed out of teaching 3rd year undergraduates’ oral classes. Luckily the module coordinator for this module is very encouraging and can see the point of my endeavours. This was the 3rd year of developing the project, and I can say that it really reached an apogee when the Studio Graphic was introduced, as opposed to filming on a very plain background.

Without further ado, I’ll let you get into the evolution of the project with the links below. Please note that this was the first time I was filmed at a conference and excuse my enthusiasm when it seems to boil over. The fact that the project really took-off this year meant I was full of beans, as anyone would be with new things coming into being!!!


Autocues/ teleprompters are a linguistic support for video presentations that allow students to focus on their oral delivery and pronunciation whilst reading from their own corrected texts. The aim in using teleprompters in a language context is to increase the confidence of the student before an oral exam, to provide an opportunity for linguistic improvement at both oral and written levels, and give students an end-product that is both transferable and powerful in terms of employability. Via teleprompting, the student is also given the opportunity to act from within a linguistically immersed situation.

The use of autocues specifically for language learning is an innovation that recalls the use of subtitling and audio description as linguistically immersive techniques working through media interpretation tools. Because the precedents for using auto cues are few and vague the project has undergone a certain evolution since its inception 3 years ago. A green screen graphic has been added to the otherwise plain background of the studio, giving the finished product a sleek and professional appearance, Google documents are now being used for corrections and preparations, thereby increasing accessibility of the presentations and speed of correction turn-around, and this year feedback was collected from students to establish the popularity of the project as well as its linguistic value, and to give students the opportunity to make suggestions for improvements.

The project is composed of 3 main parts:

  • Composing the text for the teleprompter:
    • The student has to establish his/ her preferred subject and write a presentation of approx. 700 words (1 page single spaced). This step gives the student a chance to find a subject he/ she is interested in, and develop a certain intellectual autonomy.
    • A link to the shared Google document of the presentation is placed in the table of another Google document, to which all students have access. This enables the tutor to correct the presentation whilst students can prepare questions for each other by reading each others’ documents.
    • Once the mistakes in the shared Google document have been pointed-out by the tutor, the student attends to the corrections.
    • Presentations are read in class, and students can ask the presenter questions.
  • Presenting the text in the studio:
    • The student reads a self-corrected text in the target language from the teleprompter.
    • The discussion is opened-up to the panel and the floor.
  • Round-up of the presentations:
    • Students view sections of their presentations in class and go over ways of improving them, whilst also discussing their topic further.
    • Students have access to all videos via a streaming server and watch each others’ videos.

This session will showcase the use of teleprompters for language learning via video examples,

look at student feedback in order to establish the possible scope of the activity, describe the different processes involved in detail, and give insight into the evolution of the project.

Powerpoint presentation used at the conference:

N.B. Since not all of the links work via SlideShare I include a link for you to download the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation here: Autocues for language learning

Video of presentation at LLAS E-learning symposium 2013:

Link to Southampton LLAS E-Learning Symposium video page:


LLAS E-learning symposium 2013:

N.B. There is very little literature or academic articles concerning Autocues for Language Learning. I did find one article at the Swansea University library where a Professor in the early 70’s,  during the trend of Area Studies, had used them for his language class, though in a different context. I’ll post link to it here once digitized, since it is worth the read, if only for nostalgic reasons.


Thank you to Professor Connon for always encouraging any new and innovative trend in the MLF330 oral class schedule at Swansea University, department of Languages Translation and Communication. Many thank to Dayve Fresco, for his unerring determination and support in the technical department. Also to Professor Andy Rothwell for always pushing and encouraging the use of technology for Language Learning.


4 thoughts on “Autocues for language learning: linguistic immersion, employability, and a transferable end-product.

  1. Pingback: Confirming the value of confidence in L2 communication. | Ideasforlangtech

  2. Thanks for that, Julien, I have only read it now. We also (plainly) film students and I can see the language-learning point easily. With the cues and the background your results are clearly a cut above!

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