Fabula: A Bilingual Multimedia Authoring Environment for Children Exploring Minority Languages.
Edwards, Viv; Pemberton, Lyn; Knight, John; Monaghan, Frank
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Fabula, an interdisciplinary project funded by the European Union Multimedia Software program, provides software to enable children learning European minority languages to create bilingual digital books. This paper presents a set of assumptions and approaches to the key issues addressed by the project. First, bilingual books are a powerful teaching tool of great value in multilingual classrooms. Second, the graphic design of books has important effects in finding inventive solutions to problems. Third, multimedia can enrich bilingual books. Finally, self-made materials motivate children. These assumptions led to a general definition of the Fabula software, an easy-to-use software environment for making and viewing interactive multimedia bilingual books, concentrating on "languages of lesser diffusion." The language pairs currently catered are Welsh/English, Irish/English, Basque/French, Catalan/Spanish, and Frisian/Dutch. The paper presents a brief description of the Fabula software and discusses the way in which it has been used in schools in Europe. It also sets out future plans for Fabula, including a Europe-wide competition for schools and the creation of a WWW-based "on-line library" for teachers and children who use the Fabula software. (Author/SM)