Presented at the Chubu Junior and Senior High School Seminar 2010
First of all, a guide to the five kinds of digital camera I discussed. The ‘traditional’ camcorder, the pocket camcorder, the mobile phone, the digital camera, and the webcam.
Then a digital video checklist of things to consider when choosing a camera for a job.
Transcriptions can be a simple way of noticing errors, reflecting on strategies, checking gaps in knowledge and reviewing language. Here is an example video transcription worksheet to give you an idea. Students can transcribe conversations, role plays or even monologues, although I think they should be unscripted initially. Research suggests (see Lynch, below) that transcription can be beneficial as part of a task process.
You may prefer to put the students behind the camera too, in which case you will need to train them in the use of equipment. If all your students have video facilities on their mobile phones, you could have them record short videos over the weekend to discuss in class on Monday – playback through the phones themselves makes this a fairly simple job for the teacher. These could be project or topic related, or you could give the students free reign to express themselves.
If you would like to be even more ambitious, you could release the students to make and edit documentaries, interviews, skits or commercials. You could exchange video messages with students in other countries, remake scenes from movies shot for shot, make news reports or create weekly soap operas. With the tools and the time, let your imagination run wild!
Recording and watching your own classes, or those of colleagues, can also be useful. Check Ruth Wajnryb’s excellent ‘Classroom Observation Tasks’ for ideas.
Vimeo is the video hosting service I use. The pro service is cheap, has a massive 5GB weekly upload limit, can be password protected, and looks great. It is also free of the awful commentary one comes across on youtube, with a great community of artists, animators and film makers. Students can visit the site directly and watch the video just by typing in a pre-agreed password. No registration or log-in required.
Dropbox provides free online storage, back-up, and synching between computers. Premium services are available, but if you can get your friends to sign up to the free package you get free bonus storage. Your students don’t have to sign up to anything, you can upload video files and send students a download link by email. Very simple.
WordPress is a great blogging platform (this blog is a wordpress blog) to which you can directly upload video, as long as it not too large. Some services allow you to post by email. Each of the four student blogs I am administrating this semester has a unique email address. I give this email out to the students and they can post text, photos or videos to the communal blog to share. A great way to collaborate on projects, and to stay in touch over the long summer holiday.
There are absolutely hundreds of digital video formats available, some rare, some very common. This list helps you figure them out, and free software like Any Video Converter will help you convert them if necessary.
I have bookmarked a lot of stuff which turned up during online research here at diigo … have a look around!
Allan, M. (1985). Teaching English with Video. Harlow, UK: Longman
Geddes, M. & Sturtridge, G. (Eds.) (1982). Video in the Language Classroom. London: Heinemann.
McGovern, J. (Ed.)(1983). Video Applications in English Language Teaching. Oxford: Pergamon.
(Three fantastic books. Not only are many of the ideas and activities still relevant today, but issues such as format incompatibility and teacher techno-fear seem to have quite a history….)
Brewster, M. (2009). Lights, Camera, Action. English Teaching Professional, 64 (September), 59 – 62.
(Some really great practical activities, highly recommended)
Shrosbree, M. (2008). Digital Video in the Language Classroom. The JALT CALL Journal, 4/1, 75 – 84.
(Slightly more technical, also practical)
Grayson, K. (2010). Flippin’ Out. Technological Horizons in Education Journal, March, 35 – 38.
(Useful overview of a number of handheld ‘pocket’ camcorders, although already dating fast!)
Lynch, T. (2007). Learning from the transcripts of an oral communication task. English Language Teaching Journal, 61/4, 311 – 319
Stillwell. C., Curabba, B., Alexander, K., Kidd, A., Kim, E., Stone, P. & Wyle, C. (2010). Students transcribing tasks: noticing fluency, accuracy, and complexity. English Language Teaching Journal, 64/4, 445 – 455.
(Two of many articles exploring the value of transcription)