VideoJug: a cool alternative to YouTube

Halloween? Kissing? Halo 3 Tips…? The "How to" video is on VideoJug

My colleague Carolyn Edwards has just told me about VideoJug.com. It's not quite YouTube but has stacks of "How to" videos on it.

As a lesson, you could probably get a lot of mileage out of asking your learners before watching "How to" go about a particular task; get them to make notes of the stages involved; then watch and, while watching, get them to tick in their notes which are mentioned in the video — giving you student-generated, ready-made, photocopy-free listening comprehension questions.

As a follow-up, assuming you have access to a video camera (or video-equipped mobile phones), get them in groups to (first) storyboard a video of their own and (then) film it.

Your films could then be uploaded on to VideoJug or YouTube, and/or embedded on a class blog.

Not so sure the Love&Sex section is somewhere you want to take your (young) learners (like "Creative Kissing" or the hilarious Avoid Trapped Arm Whilst Cuddling In Bed) but with adults there lots of fun stuff there, and in the site's other sections.

Oh, and don't miss the Halloween videos

Download lessons? Or get ideas…?

Print out, photocopy and cut up… But is that what you really want?

On the support group we have for our CELTA course trainees, someone recently asked where they could find sites from which they could download lesson plans.

You can find such things at sites like TEFL.net, ESL-kids.com and Splendid-Speaking.com.

Some of the publishers also have excellent resources sites, such as OneStopEnglish and BusinessEnglishOnline.net (both from MacMillan)

What would my tutor think…?
Remember, however, that there's an awful lot of rubbish out there in cyberspace. I'd suggest, before you download material, that you should ask yourself (among other questions) what your CELTA course tutor would have thought of it?

You might also consider the source of the material. The publishers give you some guarantee of quality lesson plans, as does the excellent TeachingEnglish.org.uk, and the British Council kids site.

Whether or not the site carries Google-is-Evil ads is another consideration I might make. It does? It may be that its primary interest is to make money, not to improve your teaching…

Don't search, have things come to you

Personally, as I prefer to have things come to me, rather than having to search for them, I'd really recommend the free materials by email the ELT publishers will send out to you (in the image above, materials in my mailbox from OUP).

Is it lesson plans you really want…?
My doubt about such things is whether or not downloadable lesson plans are actually what you should be looking for.

It would be nice just to be able to get free, ready-to-print, ready-to-use stuff and not have to think further about the lessons we are teaching. But I think there is — or there ought to be! — a lot more to good language teaching than that.

Do you want to print and photocopy vocabulary worksheets — or is really the ideas, how to teach vocabulary that you really need…?

Links landing in my mail box

All of the following links came to me via the excellent Developing Teachers.com Monthly Newsletter for July.

  • 50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do, which might make a great discussion topic before your learners ever look at the site: Can they brainstorm their own list…? Once they get to the site, How many did they correctly predict…? And once they do get there, they'll find some fascinating reading
  • The story of Jamie Livingston, who took a polaroid every day until the day he died, which (though you might want to limit it to, say, 30 days) would make a great project if you had a class blog — get your learners to take the picture, in other words, and publish them together with a suitable, accompanying text describing the picture
  • I was less impressed by StickyBall.net, which has games, jokes, vocab lists, worksheets and so on, though you might find things you could use.

The difference between the first two, above, and StickyBall is an important one, I think: in the first two cases, you would be getting your students to do things. In the latter case, it would be you downloading, printing and photocopying, to a considerable extent. Doing will produce learning, photocopying is much less likely to, if you ask me.

Don't go looking for things on the Internet, I always say: have things come to you. The DT Monthly Newsletter always brings lot…

Steal and photocopy… or draw your own images?

A monster in the Internet Room! It's got a tail! It's got 3 eyes!

Rebecca is currently taking the CELT YL course with us at IH Barcelona and brought this into the Internet Room before class… Wow! It's so impressive, and so much more so than a monster she could have stolen from Google Images.

She was going to get her kids to draw monsters too, and then say what body parts their monsters had got.

You could pinch the pictures off of the Web, but how much more engaging for your young learners to draw their own!

>> 1000+ Pictures for Teachers to Copy

Are texts more important than images?

Some one asked the question after the session in July. No, text isn't really more important. Or necessarily more useful. I'd suggest that it depends…

I'd also suggest, however, that as teachers, we can easily fall into a number of traps.

We assume that (1) all pictures are intrinsically good, intrinsically useful to us when we are teaching language, and useful too to the people learning it. That's not true.

If it's a picture of a mobile phone, then it's not true: it's no more useful than actually reaching into your back pocket for the real thing (which would be a lot faster, for one thing). Or Zidane head-butting that Italian in the World Cup Final…. You just don't need that picture!

People also (2) waste a lot of time looking for, printing and photocopying images, when it in many cases it would be far quicker just to draw the picture on the board. You can't draw a picture of (say) a parrot? So, how about you imitate one…? (And which is more memorable — a picture nicked off of Google, or your imitation…?)

It also sometimes worries me that if we spend hours looking for, finding and editing the material, we are (3) forgetting that it's not really the material that matters; what really matters is the interaction and the language the material leads to.

Spend less time on getting the material together and more on thinking about what the students are going to be doing… then you are heading for a successful language class.

Texts are important too!
Perhaps because we image pictures to be so important, it's easier (4) to overlook text. Text is important too — apart from anything else because, in order for our learners to learn the language, they need to be "exposed" to, and have to "deal with", lots of examples of language in context, ie. texts.

And images as well!
Of course, you can find great pictures that will lead to a lot of language… But which of the two images below do you think you could get most out of…?


What does it "depend" on…?
As with all resources that we might be using in the classroom (whether technological or otherwise), it depends… on the amount of language (and response from, and interaction between our learners) that we are going to get out of the resources.

Where to find texts and images
See the "links" in the sidebar (right) to access the various sources you had on the handout from our session.