ESOL Lab School
 Portland State University Department of Applied Linguistics 
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ClassAction Programs  

A system of client-server software programs, called “ClassAction,” was developed at the Lab School to manage, code and transcribe, and provide web-accessible searching and playback of selected portions of the recorded media.  Using these tools, project researchers (as well as a small group of researchers and teachers elsewhere) are able to select and view clips of ESOL classrooms for information about particular points of second language acquisition or pedagogy.  Such clips can then be more closely analyzed for research purposes or for use in teacher training and other professional development materials. 


The ClassAction system consists of four major tools for working with the corpus. The ClassAction Coder&Transcriber program is used by project staff to code and transcribe the recorded media into a large searchable database. Using the ClassAction Toolbox program, researchers and teacher trainers can view and mark raw media files into playlists that can be widely streamed, along with associated coding and transcription data, to remote users for research and professional development activities. With the ClassAction Query program, users can search the database for clips of media illustrating particular points of second language acquisition or pedagogy. Query returns a playlist of matching clips that can be viewed and refined using the Toolbox program. Playlists made by Query or Toolbox can be viewed with the ClassAction Viewer program which is freely downloadable as a web browser plug-in.


Toolbox and Query are currently being used internally at PSU for project research and in a number of MA thesis projects. It is available to licensed external users (who must sign a confidentiality agreement, etc.). Viewer is freely downloadable.  


For more information about using the software tools and Lab School data for research and professional development, see MAELC Access.


Lab School Software - ClassAction 

Design Features of ClassAction

  • Maintain persistent links between transcribed/coded data and original audio-video recordings
  • Support the use of multiple projects & coding frameworks with the same recordings
  • Enable sophisticated indexing & searching of media-linked transcription & coding data
  • Offer layered design so that varying levels of depth and detail can be attached to the media within a consistent framework
  • Allow media to be selected and streamed across the web for remote viewing of clips together with corresponding transcript and activity code data
  • Supports multiple cameras and microphones
  • Applicable to non-classroom originated materials (e.g., in-home student interviews, teacher interviews)
  • Extensible to projects involving large archives of oral narratives (e.g., multimedia interviews with elder speakers of a Native American language; oral histories of African Americans who moved to Portland during WW II) 

ClassAction: System Components 

  • Recording system
  • Media & database servers & tools
  • Coding & transcription tool
  • Media review & annotation tool
  • Query tools (in development)
  • Playlist viewer

ClassAction: Recording System

  • Supports up to six simultaneous cameras and 12 microphones
    • Lab School classrooms each recorded with 6 cameras: 4 fixed cameras in corners and 2 remotely controlled cameras for close-ups
    • Lab School each classroom recorded with 5 microphones: ceiling mounted and 3 wireless microphones worn by students and teacher
  • Works with a variety of digital media formats 
    • Lab School recorded in streamable Windows Media format 

ClassAction Toolbox: Media Review and Annotation Tool

  • Allows rapid browsing through large, complex video archives 
  • Supports switching among multiple cameras & microphones "on the fly"
  • Permits clips of interest to be marked and annotated into topic playlists 


ClassAction Query:  A search tool

  • Searches database of transcribed and coded data
  • Searches can be based on speaker, speaker characteristics, time points, classroom codes, language items, etc.
  • Returns a playlist of media clips and associated data for use in Toolbox or Viewer

ClassAction Viewer

  • Displays a playlist of media clips and associated data
  • Playlists shown can be manually using ClassAction Toolbox or queried from the database of transcribed or coded data
  • Works across web connections
  • Can be embeddded into multimedia publications
  • For a demonstration of the class video, please click on the following link:

[class video demonstration]

External Use of Classroom Corpus and ClassAction Software

  • The multimedia corpus will be available to ESOL scholars and  practitioners for research and professional development through an application process
  • Users required to abide by Lab School confidentiality, image permission and data sharing policies
  • ClassAction software will be distributed to view media and associated data
  • Shared use of and additions to corpus data will facilitate a community of scholarship on adult SLA and teaching 


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