Video sites for learning to use technology

Everyone knows YouTube, don't they?

But there are other great video sites, too, which are particularly useful for learning how to use technology:

You can read about how to do something in a manual, or find a text-based tutorial online somewhere, but sometimes actually seeing how something is done is so much more helpful!

How to embed things on a blog

In our Celta Course session, Tuesday, we looked at the above video, from VideoJug.

I suggested that, before watching it, learners could brainstorm a list of things you should do if you want to be able to get your own way with another person. We then used those learner-generated lists as our "listening comprehension" questions, and ticked off those mentioned as we watched.

Why would you want to embed a video
You might want to "embed" such a video on your own class blog — "put" it there, if you prefer — as then you have greater control over what else your learners will see. Currently displaying on the same VideoJug page are videos relating to "how to get out of a car without showing your knickers" and "how to have sex in public without being caught", for example.

You probably don't want your young learners to see or watch those…!

If you want you learners to be able to post things on a class blog (and I would suggest that you do!), then teaching them how to embed things (nice things ,-)! is a way of giving them control over what they watch and talk about in class.

How do you embed a video

Copy that line of code!

To embed a video, you need first to copy the "embed" code, highlighted above. Ensure you copy all of it: if you right-click on it, you can then "select all" to make sure that you do.

Paste the code into right place!

All you then have to do is paste the code on your blog. Make sure that you paste it in the right place: if you are using Blogger.com, you will have to use the "Edit Html" tab, shown above.

Again, you want to make sure it starts with the code object… and ends …/object>. If it does, you should then be able to preview it, and find that it will play correctly.

Needless to say you don't need to understand what any of that code means… !

>> Another video: Dance moves: an emergency guide for men

Sitcoms: consuming or creating?

Videoing on a mobile phone: making it less intimidating than a video camera

More from the very excellent TeachingEnglish.org.uk, this time on exploiting sitcoms…

A lesson…
Besides the likelihood that your learners are going to just love them, there is an awful lot of language you can get out of sitcoms, as the article on building a lesson around a sitcom suggests. When it comes to choosing a sitcom, my own suggestion would be that you don't choose it, but that your learners do. What they already watch (perhaps in their own language) and can tell you about is likely to be more popular than something you pick (unless it's Fawlty Towers, which is always a success!)

An activity…
There is also a Sitcom information activity, which includes a photocopiable worksheet with a gap fill exercise.

I've got my doubts about this one — not so much about the activity itself as about whether or not that is the way we should be using technology. Photocopying exercises is one use we could make of technology — the photocopier being part of technology — but it has the students merely consuming, not creating.

The activity suggests the learners then go to YouTube and watch a clip of one of the sitcoms mentioned in the text; but that's merely consuming too.

If you get your learners to watch and create listening comprehension questions for each other, instead of merely watching, then you've got greater engagement, not merely entertainment.

Actually creating a sitcom…
A third idea on the same site involves actually creating a sitcom; now that's more like it!

I'd suggest that, in this last case, you really want to get your learners to video it — that's creating, not merely consuming.

To get round the problem of people not wanting to be filmed, you might try filming on mobile phones first, as they appear less intrusive; and always remember that no one should be forced to act but that, if they don't want to, there are other roles such as directing and the actual filming that can engage all the members of a group… You could also record audio only, not video.

My experience of such things is people's inhibitions tend to drop, when they see what fun it can be.

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

Great stuff on YouTube for English teachers

Bruce Springsteen interviewed on the OGWT in 1978

There's a ton of great listening comprehension on YouTube, stuff that's so much more interesting than the things that come on your coursebook CD — to start with because (especially to kids!) watching a video clip of (say) a song is so much more interesting than a CD…

Getting them to do the work
One of my colleagues suggested having the learners, in pairs, search for a suitable interview with a famous person, and then write listening comprehension questions for another pair. Get them to choose the video — don't you make the choice.

Doing that means that there is so much more active involvement of the learners, with them wanting to listen, and wanting to listen again. Whether or not they come up with great listening comprehension questions is not important either: what the activity does is make them creators, not merely consumers of content.

Or letting someone else do the work…?
If you prefer someone else to do part of your lesson planning for you, teflclips.com is a site which will interest you.

On yappr.com you have YouTube-like videos conveniently sorted by subject and level of difficulty, many of them with a subtitle option.

In a recent issue of HLT, there were more ideas for exploiting YouTube.

And here's another idea from Nik Peachey's excellent blog…