Destinos a popular, award-winning video series on DVD

November 25, 2002


PROVO, Utah— November 25, 2002 — This December, Annenberg/CPB, a joint effort of the Annenberg Foundation and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB), will release a DVD version of Destinos, a popular, award-winning video series used to teach Spanish and immerse students in the everyday world of native speakers. The DVD version has been produced by a team at Brigham Young University (BYU) under the direction of Michael D. Bush, associate professor of French and Instructional Psychology and Technology.

The BYU team has combined its own expertise in language and DVD authoring technologies with the results of work by the Department of Foreign Languages at the U.S. Air Force Academy to produce a version that includes complete subtitles in Spanish, optionally viewable using the capabilities of DVD technology.

According to Professor Bush, this project is important for several reasons. First is “the availability of Destinos in the convenient and accessible DVD format.” Second, “the use of target language subtitles has been shown in research over the years to substantially increase language learning success not only in listening comprehension but also in speaking skills.”

Until now, the series of 52-half hour episodes has primarily been available in videocassette and videodisc formats, supplemented by audiocassettes, video and audio scripts, music CDs and coordinated books. This DVD version of Destinos offers rapid access for both teachers and students, more compact packaging of the video materials and higher quality video reproduction than has been typically possible with VHS formats. “The DVDs open up possibilities for barcode control for easy classroom use by teachers,” said Bush.

“Any teacher who has ever tried to use video in the classroom knows the frustration of not being able to find exactly the needed segment or trying to back up to reshow a short snippet, only to find that the tape has been rewound several minutes past what is needed. This problem is virtually eliminated with DVD under barcode control. To make this promise a reality, teachers

will need software to create the barcodes they wish to use, and they will need a professional DVD

player and bar code reader. These items are not cheap, but given the way they facilitate what teachers can do with video, they are certainly worth the trouble and expense,” Bush said.

“Because each episode always ends with suspense, I was actually excited to go to work so I could discover what happened next,” said Bob Hudson, a junior at BYU, who worked on the Destinos project. The series is widely used, not only because it implements the telenovela format (a soap opera-type genre popular in many Spanish-speaking cultures), but also because it introduces the cultures, accents and dialects of Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Puerto Rico. The story-based technique increases students’ understanding of Spanish and provides an appreciation of Hispanic cultures as learners are absorbed by the mysterious and entertaining story.

Annenberg/CPB, which sponsored the initial development of the series along with support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, approached Bush to develop the DVD version.

In turn, Bush assembled a team of 10 students to work under the auspices of the ARCLITE Project (Advanced Research in Curriculum for Language Instruction and Technology in Education) at BYU. ARCLITE is currently involved in research and development projects for the National Security Education Program. Additionally, commissioned by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the team has also produced a CD-ROM for French for volunteers at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

In 1999, Bush helped Harold Hendricks of the Humanities Learning Resource Center at BYU in a joint effort to place the Italian film classic, “C’eravamo tanto amati” onto DVD as well as to produce a teacher’s resources that enabled barcode control of the DVD for the classroom. In order for the film to be used readily in this setting, they put the entire script with barcodes along with various instructional resources in an instructor’s guide, which allows an instructor to easily jump directly to the desired scene and play or replay any segment of the film. “This sort of interaction makes an exciting addition to the lesson plans contained in the guide,” said Bush.

“A DVD offers additional features to the instructional designer that can be applied or not applied, based on the educational objective of the program. At its simplest configuration, a player, a disc and a video monitor, can be a highly interactive experience with the added bonus of simplicity of use by both educators and students,” said Pioneer’s marketing representative, Sandra Benedetto, in her paper “DVD: What Does It Mean for Education?”

Destinos as well as French in Action on DVD will be available through the Annenberg/CPB Web site at or at 1-800-LEARNER (1-800-532-7637). Parts 1 and 2 will each consist of six-disc sets and will be available for $275 for each part.

Contact: Michael D. Bush (801) 422-4515

Writer: Emily Baker (801) 422-1269

Emily Baker

Public Relations Specialist

Center for Instructional Design

Brigham Young University

(801) 422-1269