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Using Video in the ELT Classroom

Jamie Keddie is a teacher, trainer and storyteller who has shared his insights and ideas in over 40 different countries. He is the founder of Lessonstream, the resource site for teachers. He is the author of ‘Images’ (OUP 2009), ‘Bringing online video into the classroom’ (OUP 2014) and ‘Videotelling’ (Lessonstream Books, 2017). Jamie is also an associate trainer at Norwich Institute for Language Education.

Can you believe it? – YouTube is over ten years old! During this time I have been working with teachers on ways of using videos in the English language classroom.

I often receive emails from other video-enthusiastic teachers that go like this: Hello Jamie. I just found this video on YouTube that I really like. I hope you don’t mind if I ask – what would you do with it in the classroom?

Here is an example of a video that a teacher sent me recently. It is titled: Googly-eyed Stubby Squid:

I don’t know about you, but I really like this video. So, let me put the question back to you: What would you do with this video in your classroom? How would you use it to teach English?

This is a task that I regularly set my own trainees. Suggestions will often fall into three different groups:

  1. To introduce a topic

In my experience, this is often the most common suggestion. In the case of the Googly-eyed Stubby Squid video, topics could include animals, colourful animals, unusual creatures, unusual pets, the sea, science, marine biology, etc.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. But wait! Shouldn’t we try to do something with video first? It is short in length but strong in narrative. How can we engage students with the story that it offers? This is exactly what I would like to demonstrate in the webinar.

  1. Listening comprehension

Another standard way to approach video is to focus on the spoken text. By spoken text, I am referring to the words that you hear – the monologues and dialogues that the video offers. As language teachers, we often consider that the audio contains the meat!

But wait! Authentic video can often be difficult to comprehend. Audio quality can be poor. People speak over each other. They make cultural references. They use low-frequency or technical words and phrases. So how do we deal with that? Again, this a question that I will be addressing in the webinar. 

  1. To teach [insert grammar point here]

Sometimes we recognise a possible language point in the material. In this case, for example, we could use the video to teach language for speculation (e.g. It could be a squid; It might be an octopus; Perhaps it’s a cuttlefish; It can’t be a crab; Etc.).

But wait – slow down! If we can regard the video as a story – if we can immerse students in the narrative – language can become more meaningful. In this webinar, I would like to show you how we can take a “meaning-first-language-second” approach to video.

The webinars take place on the 16th and 17th of August, and there are multiple times available. Click here to register today!

I look forward to seeing you there,

Jamie Keddie


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Integrating video content in the EFL classroom with International Express – Part 4

ievideopart4Fancy livening up your classroom with some ready-made video activities? This is the final part of a series of four articles in which Keith Harding and Rachel Appleby share ideas for using the stunning new International Express video material. Each unit of the course features a video directly related to the unit topic. Here, Rachel offers ideas for using the clip from Upper Intermediate Unit 6 – PleaseCycle, which focuses on conditionals.

Before you watch

Try out some of these ideas to get your students thinking before they watch.

1. Discussion

You can focus on cycling from a number of angles, for example, you can think of it as a sport, a relaxing activity, or a method of commuting. Or you could discuss cycling equipment, safety issues, or infrastructure (for example, cycle paths). Find out quickly, open-class, how many of your students…

a. own a bike

b. cycle regularly (why/why not?)

c. participate in biking activities

2. Decide if these statements are true or false:

a. There are more bicycles than residents in the Netherlands.

b. In Groningen (in the Netherlands), the station has ‘parking’ for 1,000 bikes.

c. Spain has over 100 bike-sharing schemes.

d. The ratio between the number of cyclists in a city, and the number of bike-car accidents, is in inverse.

e. An adult regular cyclist has a fitness level of someone 20 years younger.

3. Brainstorm benefits and barriers

Move the discussion more closely to the video content by focusing on the benefits of and barriers to cycling. Put students into two groups: one group brainstorms the benefits, the other the barriers. Elicit 1-2 ideas per group, for example:

Benefits: keeping fit; saves on petrol

Barriers: you may need a change of clothes; lack of cycle paths

4. KWL Chart

Again, before they watch, you could do this with the audio. It’s an idea that works well with most listening or reading texts. Ask students to fill in a “KWL” chart: this looks at “what I know already, what I want to find out”, and – later – “what I’ve learnt”. Ask them to complete the first two sections alone (Know and Want), and then compare with a partner. Then, finally complete the third section (Learnt) afterwards (see exercise 8). This is very student-driven, as they are effectively making their own comprehension task.

5. Check key words

Tell the students they are going to watch a video about a new London scheme which aims to get as many people cycling to work as possible. Before watching the video, check students understand, and can pronounce, the following:

a. workforce

b. initiative

c. portal

d. gamification

While you watch

To maximize the learning opportunities, you need to set tasks for the students to focus on. The following exercise is taken from the video worksheet that comes with the International Express Teacher’s Resource Book DVD. All the worksheets are also available for free here. You just need your Oxford Teachers’ Club log-in details to view them.

6. Multiple choice

videocontentIEpt4

After you watch

7. Quick questions

Ask students for an immediate response.

What did they think?

Would they like to be involved in such a scheme?

Would PleaseCycle work for their company? Why/Why not?

How competitive would they be?

Would they encourage their company to register, and log their trips on the app?

8. Return to the KWL Chart

Go back to the KWL chart (see exercise 4) to check and complete part three.

Refer back to the “benefits” and “barriers” lists they brainstormed too.

9. Going into more detail

Before playing the video again, ask students what they can remember about Aegus Media, and Stravel. Both are mentioned in the video. Watch the video again, asking students to take notes about each company. Afterwards, let them compare notes in small groups.

Use the following questions to focus their ideas:

a. What did Aegus Media achieve using PleaseCycle?

b. How was their success measured?

c. What plans are there for Stravel?

10. Create a proposal

Each small group should imagine they are working together at a company. They need to create a proposal to convince the company managers to start using PleaseCycle.

Answers:

Ex. 2

a. T

b. F: 10,000

c. T

d. T

e. F: 10 years

Ex. 6

1. a

2. c

3. c

4. b

5. c

6. b

7. a


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Using Video in the Classroom

Christopher Graham, teacher and teacher trainer, looks at the benefits of using video in the classroom. Chris will be hosting a webinar entitled ‘It’s not just for comprehension! Using video in the classroom‘ on 22nd October.

In many ways I am not an ideal choice to do a webinar on video in the ELT classroom. It’s true I was born in Hastings on the south coast of England where, in 1924, John Logie Baird made the first demonstration of something called ‘television’. However, the funny thing is that I don’t and indeed never have owned a TV. The main benefit of this is that I have more time on my hands than most people I know; the only negative thing is that I often feel left out of social conversations.

“Did you see … last night?”

“No, I don’t have a TV.”

“Oh.”

End of conversation.

I mention this because I think many people use TV as just a time-filler, something to switch on simply because they have one or because they can’t think of anything else to do. I worry that this is also how video is sometimes used in the ELT classroom. I hope my webinar will nurture some creativity as to how we can use video with our students.

Let’s define what we mean by video. For me, it is either a short clip or a longer piece or storyline  divided into short clips to be used over a period of time. Remember that video is real time and to use it effectively takes a long time, so short is good. Do also bear in mind that video is not just from a DVD, think about YouTube, Vine and now Instagram as well. If your students are under 25 you can be sure that’s what they are thinking about!

So why use video in the ELT classroom? Here is a quick list:

  • It’s motivating – yes of course, but please do remember the platforms listed above as they are where your students will find their clips.
  • It can be made relevant – there is so much out there that it will be easy to find something that interests your students.
  • One clip can be used with different levels within your institution or within a class. Adjust the task, not the clip.
  • It’s low tech. Yes, video is educational technology (and students love technology) but, unless you get into editing clips, it is so easy to use.
  • A well-made clip covers a lot of ground in a short space of time. In other words, a short clip will give you a lot of material.
  • If your students have access to tablets or smartphones, you have huge flexibility to generate real inter-student communication. Different students can watch different parts of one clip, some with the sound on, some without, and so on.
  • It’s great for homework. Watching YouTube is what students do at home anyway.

So how can we use video in class? Well, that is the main theme of my webinar on 22nd October. I hope you can join us. If you have time, make a short list of how you have used video; shared ideas are always the best.

Anyway, I have to go now to watch the news on someone else’s TV!

To find out more about using video in the classroom, join Christopher for his webinar on 22nd October.


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Using Video and ICT to Present Grammar

video helps grammarIn this post, David Mearns, a teacher in Turkey, discusses the benefit of using video to show grammar in an authentic context and gives a few tips on how to teach grammar using video.

I have been working in Turkey as an ELT practitioner for seventeen years.  I became very interested in ICT-ELT two years ago, and began explicitly including it in my syllabus, as a way to further engage Turkish teenage students. At the tail-end of 2010, after having presented on the subject at many conferences, I realised that many of my colleagues were also very interested in the paradigm shift happening in ELT. So, I started to put the ICT-ELT message out to the Turkish provinces.  Now after a year of observing teachers, and receiving a great deal of feedback on ICT-ELT, I can see an extraordinary change in people’s attitudes to the exciting possibilities of using technology in (and out of) the classroom.

Since grammar is now having a much welcomed resurgence in popularity with teachers (oh how I despised those, for the most part, years of ‘language acquisition is the only way’ in ELT), I feel it only right to concur with the new focus on grammar, and share a great way for teachers to help make it much more affective for both teachers to present, and for students to enjoy learning the structures they generally find tedious to work at.

I propose that by using video to show how grammar is used in an authentic context, and by having it in the syllabus as both a scaffolding and consolidation stage of understanding structure, students will (and do) engage much more across each form being learned.

I appreciate that the use of video is not new, but I reckon that with it being included under the umbrella of ICT-ELT it has even more effective and affective outcomes.

ICT-ELT

Tildee logoThe website I started using last year, and have continued to do so, is www.tildee.com.  This amazing website is a free platform that allows you to upload tutorials with consummate ease.  It acts just like a Word document when you are typing and putting pictures, video or links to enhance your grammar point.  Here is a Tildee Video Feed-Forward that I made to show how easy it is to access and use.

Now that you have seen how easy it is to sign up and use (you don’t have to sign up, but it is better to do so, as you then have your own account where your video tutorials are stored), it is time to see which videos I have used to help students further engage with the process of learning grammar structures.

Note, although I condone video as a means of teaching grammar, I still believe there has to be a balanced mix of traditional and ICT methods if it is to be successful.  Yet, even so, it is the ICT-video springboard paradigm that makes it so appealing to students.  With this method of presentation and practice, students can re-watch or watch the whole experience at home, or even on their smart phone.  It has 24/7 accessibility; thus e-learning, m-learning and total-learning is what we can achieve with this marvellous tool.

Examples of My Tildee Tutorials for Teaching (TTT?) grammar through video:

An Ode to CAN      Used to/ Didn’t Use to         Star Wars: It’s Present & Simple

Now that you have seen examples of my Tildee tutorials, I’d like to share another video feed-forward to show you how easy it is to add grammar content and videos from YouTube (only YouTube btw for now) to the website:

Video Feed-Forward: How to add vids, text and pics on Tildee

I hope you find the tutorials useful for your students.  If you like the style, please contact me and ask for some more.  I will email you the links.  However, I reckon, once you get the hang of it, you will want to make your own from your own favourite films.

Read David’s own blog at www.davidmearns.blogspot.com.

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The Potential of E-books

Dr Priyamvada Agarwal works for Oxford University Press India as a Deputy Product Manager. Here she talks about using e-books for digital natives.

What are you most in need of to teach effectively in the digital age? Everybody would agree that interactive content which can engage students and hold their attention motivates students and enhances learning.

Teaching language skills through the coursebook to students who are digital natives and not digital immigrants can be both boring and time-consuming. Given that, what if the same coursebook could be used in such a manner that the printed exercises could become interactive and thus make existing material more lively, interesting and meaningful? What if something could help the teacher to bring challenge and purpose to the way the coursebook exercises are explored? What if the teacher didn’t have to invest money to make photocopies or to procure resources?

E-books, the digital version of the students’ coursebook, enables the teacher to play with the material in the coursebook, to develop interactive exercises, to add a personalized touch to make the lessons more context-oriented, and to add resources to help students connect instantly with things which aren’t often brought into the classroom. Incredibly easy to use, students’ coursebooks have beautiful illustrations and graphic stories which can be used to prompt discussions, develop predicting skills, etc. Simple features like zoom, hide and reveal, spotlight, etc. can do wonders to make interactive exercises and engage students in their language learning lessons.

Learners (and especially young ones) are able to retain information more easily if pictures, audio and videos are integrated into the lesson. Integrating videos into lessons creates enticing visuals and an interactive envi­ronment in the EFL/ESL classroom. Teaching English through videos also allows teachers to be creative when designing language lessons. As Cundell (2008, 17) notes, “One of the most powerful ways that video can be inte­grated into courses is for the visual represen­tation they provide for learners on otherwise abstract concepts.”

It’s not often you use the Internet at the same time as reading a book. With e-book technology this is commonplace. The teacher can’t get much more interactive and visual than using the audio-video clips in the e-book. Adding hyperlinks enhances the pedagogical value of the coursebook, and finding appropriate teaching materials online is not difficult.

An effective lesson does not nec­essarily require expensive and high-tech materi­als – relevant and contextual audio and videos available on the Internet linked with the lesson enable the student to easily relate to what’s being taught. At the click of a button, the web links direct you to the video to be shown. Moreover, it is a one-time exercise for the teacher because the web link can be easily annotated and saved on a sticky note.

When teaching about places like the Arctic/Antarctic oceans, the moon, or if teaching about some abstract concepts or about wild animals, which may be difficult for some to visualise and imagine, showing a video on the subject adds an additional layer of context and comprehension.

The multitude of enhancements that can be made to the digital version of a coursebook is a compelling reason to explore the potential of e-books in classroom instruction even at the primary and middle level.

If you are using e-books in the classroom, share your experiences and some of the interesting activities that engage students in the comments below.

Cundell, A. 2008. The integration of effective technologies for language learning and teaching. In Educational technology in the Arabian Gulf: Theory, research and pedagogy, ed. P. Davidson, J. Shewell, and W. J. Moore, 13–23. Dubai: TESOL Arabia.

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