Video Annotation beyond Content Delivery

Hosak,B (2010) VideoANT: Extending Online Video Annotation beyond Content Delivery.TechTrends, 54(3).

Article Review
Educators and researchers agree that video can be used as an effective means to capture and review students’ presentations or performances (Broady & Le Duc, 1995; Garrison,1984). This paper is a review of the design and development of a tool called Video-ANT, a tool designed to create text-based annotations integrated within the time line of a video hosted online. The article outlines the need for extended interaction in online video use, identifies the challenges faced by existing video annotation tools and finally discusses the potential directions for which VideoANT could be adapted.

The tool is positioned as a constructive feedback application via a video-based peer review process, designed for the potential to benefit students’ public speaking in terms of improved speaking skills, increased speaking confidence in the classroom, and increased comfort using technology for academic purposes. With this in mind, considerations of current challenges with video use in education were presented. Some challenges included the burdens of the video capturing process, such as the large amount of planning and preparation involved in the capturing, processing, storing, and delivering of that content to the students. Despite technological advances, reviewing the performances and providing feedback is still very time intensive, and can often mean a student will not receive that feedback until they have already delivered their next presentation. Although receiving feedback late still has value, having it in time to prepare prior to delivering their next presentation could offer substantial performance gains for the students. Thus, in response to this need, VideoANT, was designed and developed to allow students the ability to add timemarked text annotations to peers’ video recordings.

The three major needs for this project that were the basis of their review of other online annotation tools, included: (1) The tool must be developed to accommodate large amounts of text in an annotation with out obscuring the learner’s review of video content. (2) The tool should allow for the playback of video content in synchronization with the users annotated text. (3) The tool must be designed with simple efficient functionality for learners with varying degrees of technology experience. Furthermore, based on these goals the Designing VideoANT section of the article featured discussion of the elements of the interface, login process (their open model), and storage and management of user generated content.

Usage of VideoANT thus far has been influenced by the shared open model that allows for access to the application by anyone with an Internet connection and a link to online video content. Due to this open level of dissemination, VideoANT was used in over 57 countries during the 2008-2009 academic year. During that time VideoANT logged over 5,000 new projects and over 17,000 individual annotations. VideoANT’s primary use has been as a peer reviewing tool for student presentations in varying communication and linguistics courses. In addition, some users have found other applications for VideoANT. It is being used as a tool to code research video content, mark portions of raw footage in preparation for video editing projects, and transcribe closed-caption text for videos when used in conjunction with Media Mill, a tool used for storing, transcoding, and delivering video files at the University of Minnesota. The goal of this project was to develop a functional tool using the three concepts above as a foundation for further exploration. The next objective is to define research questions based on these three approaches and to design a study to explore their impact.

Edlab Connection

The work of the Development and Research team on the Critter project is in a similar vein with this work, having designed and developed a video annotation tool, and despite differences in audience focus the VideoANT research may provide valuable insights to our Critter team. Especially, in terms of future efficacy studies as far as research design methodologies and data results. Further, upon Critters’ release it will be interesting to understand what contexts it is adopted the most in. VideoANT seems to have a clear target audience but how will Critters versatility allow it to expand into multiple context? Hopefully, now that it is on our radar we can monitor and learn from their trials. VideoANT can be accessed here.