Title Clipbank German DVD
Author Channel Four
Publisher 4 Ventures Limited
Reviewer Thomas Underwood
   

Clipbank German is a recently released DVD-rom for Channel Four Learning. It is also available in French and Spanish and essentially comprises a digital library of television clips. There around 250 video clips in total, divided into 28 topics and also categorised under the headings Grammar and Level. The programme is very easy to install, has a professional appearance and is simple to navigate. The built-in media player is also impressive. The programme itself is designed to be teacher-led on a whiteboard or projector as part of a normal lesson. The video clips last from 30 seconds to 6 minutes and each one presents key vocabulary and offers links to other related videos. It would also be straightforward to incorporate the material into Windows applications such as PowerPoint.

Although the package began to grow on me the more I used it, I could not help feeling that this was a lazy attempt by Channel Four to make more money out of this market. Ultimately I was disappointed by the content and age of the clips. This could have been a fantastic opportunity for a DVD to present fresh material of everyday life and situations in Germany. Instead the DVD-rom consists entirely of previously released material. Top! auf deutsch, Hennings Haus and Extra. Top! auf deutsch already appeared dated several years ago, Hennings Haus is somewhat childish and Extra is as much concerned with comedy as it is with learning German. So, while there may be a wide choice of topics, the overall success of the DVD is, in my opinion, limited due to the lack of variety of the clips. For example, all of the clips under the promising heading 'World of Work' come from the programme Extra. The clip entitled 'The Office Rules' lasts 28 seconds and consists of Sascha's female boss telling her that she is always right, followed by a joke about Sting failing to show up for an interview. This may be useful for assimilating vocabulary, but I would find it difficult to incorporate productively into a lesson, as a reiteration of previously taught material.

Overall, the dated feel of some of the material and the lack of real dialogue lets this DVD-rom down. Anyone already familiar with the Channel Four programmes will also feel somewhat dissatisfied. The cost of 250 (excl VAT) per annum also seems rather high, when you could pick up the three individual videos for a lot less.