An Interview with Regine Hampel from darren elliott on Vimeo.

This interview took place in June 2014 at the JALTCALL conference in Nagoya, Japan. I was joined by Professor Regine Hampel of the Open University, and we discussed CALL, distance learning and blend learning.

There are more interviews to follow, and if you like this please visit the archive for more. You can subscribe via iTunes, and I would appreciate reviews there if you have time. You can also find us on Facebook and twitter.

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An Interview with Glenn Stockwell from darren elliott on Vimeo.

I talked to Dr. Glenn Stockwell from Waseda University, Tokyo, at the 2014 JALT CALL conference, held in Nagoya, Japan. In fact, this interview takes place in my own personal office!

Dr. Stockwell had just given an excellent plenary talk, and we discuss his ideas about teaching and technology here.

There are more interviews to follow, and if you like this please visit the archive for more. You can subscribe via iTunes, and I would appreciate reviews there if you have time. You can also find us on Facebook and twitter.

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New technologies provide wonderful opportunities for language learning, yet teachers and learners alike should be aware of the potential pitfalls. When implementing educational technology, the fundamental question is whether the tool is an efficient way of achieving the pedagogical aims. In this workshop the presenter will outline some considerations for good practice, illustrated with examples from his own classroom. Amongst other things we will discuss mobile learning, the relationship between autonomy and technology, inclusivity, ethics and security.

What do we mean by ‘technology’?

“A process by which humans modify nature to meet their needs and wants” (Selwyn, 2011, p.6)

Technology is not tools alone, but the knowledge and skills necessary to utilise them. Technology is also associated with ‘improvement’ – doing things cheaper, better and faster. It’s important to remember that devices themselves have no intrinsic values. Technology is situated in culture and society.

Do you and your students perceive technology in the same ways?

Digital Natives (see Prensky, 2001), in contrast with digital immigrants, have grown up in a multimedia, web-enabled world. Prensky’s original metaphor was compelling enough to take hold and has had an impact on educational policy. More recent research (see Bennett et al., 2008,  Hargittai, 2010, Jones, 2011) has uncovered a far more nuanced picture. Nonetheless, there may be some generational differences in how digital technology is viewed by students and teachers.

 

traditional modern
professional(spreadsheets, word processing) leisure(YouTube, Social Networking)
archival and searchable(email) transitory and ephemeral(snapchat, line)
situated(desktop, CD’s) mobile(smartphone, streaming)

Why use technology?

There are a number of things which digital technologies may help you do better, faster or more efficiently (although probably not cheaper)

Out of class collaboration, learner autonomy, learning management, portfolio building, reflection, learner ownership, engagement with authentic materials, ‘real world’ language use, curation and collation of learning resources, testing and assessment etc.

Case Study One – Digital video for reflection and creativity.

More details available at my previous post ‘Creating and Using Digital Video with Learners’

Case Study Two – Google Forms and QR codes for classroom management. 

I use Kaywa to create QR codes, and QRafter to read them. Google forms are a very simple and paperless way for teachers to assess and track students.

Case Study Three – Prezi, Diigo and Google Drive for out-of-class collaboration 

Prezi is an online presentation tool. Instead of a series of slides, the presentation is one big slide which the user navigates. The final product is not to everyone’s taste, but it has a couple of pedagogical strengths. Firstly, I like that it encourages non-linear thinking in a brainstorming style. (unlike PowerPoint, which is a very linear process). Secondly, it is easy for several students to work on one slide at the same time, even if they are in different places.

Google Drive is a suite of tools in the cloud, including word and excel – like software, which can be edited, shared and accessed amongst users. Collaboration can be between students, or students and teachers.

Diigo is a social bookmarking tool, in which online research can be easily tagged and shared amongst a group.

Further Reading

Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital na (t) ives? Variation in internet skills and uses among members of the “net generation”*. Sociological Inquiry, 80(1), 92-113.

Jones, C. (2011). Students, the net generation, and digital natives. In Thomas, M. (Ed.). (2011). Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young people, technology, and the new literacies. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon, 9 (5), 1-6.

Selwyn, N. (2011). Education and technology: Key issues and debates. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

JALT CALL has an excellent and regularly updated blog at DMLL with practical advice and ideas.

This post is a development of ideas first presented in this post five years ago. No doubt there is plenty more to do!

Some Questions – A Technology Checklist

Accessibility Do you need a password to access the site? Do you need to log in every time you access the site? What kind of internet access does your institution allow?What are the opening hours of your institutional computer rooms? Are students able to access institutional servers off “campus”? Is the equipment powerful enough to do what you want to do?
Mobility Is the material accessible from a mobile telephone? How much of it? Can students add or edit material by mobile phone?
Hardware BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or teacher supplied? Who will maintain and store the hardware? How long will it last?
Security Are the students going to upload or create their own work? Is the site searchable on search engines, or can it be hidden? Can anonymity be protected? How much information does a student need to give in order to register with or use the site? Are students comfortable with their work being published? Are the students aware of net security issues? Do the students have good security software at home? Is there a danger that your project could be damaged by viruses?
Navigation Is it easy to get from one place to another? Do hyperlinks pop up in new windows? Is the colour scheme readable? Is it well designed, for both aesthetics and utility? Does the interface change depending on the user (e.g. does it automatically set language based on the userʼs ISP?)
Usability Will the students require a demonstration? Is it simple to use, even for those who generally lack confidence or experience with computers? Is it easy to back up and save work, and are previous versions retained?
Management Will you be managing alone, or with others? How will you delegate management tasks? Who will have access to which parts of the tool? Will students be able to edit? Where will your site be hosted (if necessary)?
Cost Can you find a free version? Can you get an educators discount?If you pay a subscription, is your school willing to commit long-term? Will there be any other expenses? (equipment etc)
Stability Is the site still at a beta testing stage? Does it crash or freeze often?Does it work in the same way on different browsers, computers or networks? Does the look of the site change frequently? Are features and functions often added or removed?
Support Does your school have technical support staff? Are they aware of your project, and willing to help? Does the site have support? How does it operate?Is there a lot of other unofficial support available from the web, colleagues, etc?

An Interview with Nicky Hockly from darren elliott on Vimeo.

I was very happy to talk to Nicky Hockly at the JALT National Conference in Nagoya, Japan in November 2010. She gave a fantastic plenary – well-paced, useful and pertinent – and if you get a chance, see her talk! If not, then this fifteen minute interview will have to do ; D

We talked about the online teacher training company Consulants-E, the obstacles teachers face in implementing technology, mobile learning and all manner of other geeky stuff.

You can follow Nicky on twitter at @TheConsultantsE , and I also recommend How to Teach English with Technology and Teaching Online

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UPDATE: (6th November, 2014) This is a developing presentation / workshop which I first gave at the JALT National Conference on October 14th, 2012. I will add further information from time to time, but for a selection of useful links and readings you can check this list at diigo.

 

I very much enjoyed presenting a workshop at the JALT National conference in Hamamatsu at the weekend. Over the last couple of years I have been working more and more on video projects with students, and in this presentation I reported on what I have developed so far. We started by talking about the various options available to teachers – pocket video cameras, traditional camcorders, mobile devices, webcams and so on. You can see a short video with examples here.

A Field Guide to Digital Video from darren elliott on Vimeo.

This checklist covers some of the factors to consider when choosing a camera and planning a project, and a few questions to ask yourself.

We then looked at some samples my students have created. Unfortunately, I can’t share them publicly online. But I can outline the project cycles we have undertaken.

Transcription

This is the simplest activity. Student conversations, debates or presentations can be recorded for later analysis. This video transcription worksheet shows the kind of thing you can do. I usually change the questions each time depending on what we have been studying in class (and because familiarity breeds contempt!). One important point is to emphasise that students are not only looking for mistakes, but alternatives and improvements. Yes, I want them to use the third person -s accurately if possible, but I also want them to develop their communicative strategies.

How-To Videos

Taking the website videojug as our model, students create instructional videos. They start by watching videojug’s own video on how to make a video, and to .check the advice offered, then choose a video of their own for homework analysis.
Students then plan and shoot their own video. Some language input is obviously helpful.

Drama

As with the ‘How-to’ video’s, it is important to plan carefully. Using a Storyboard enables both you and the students to focus on your task clearly (and makes editing easier later). With drama activities, it is helpful for students to express their emotions. Method acting is interesting, but any activities about self expression, body language or emotion can be effective.

Sweded Movies

In the Michel Gondry film ‘Be Kind, Rewind‘, Jack Black and Mos Def have to remake every video in their video store after the tapes are accidentally wiped. This worked very well with my class using their iPhones and the free editing app Splice.

Screencasts

If you have a windows machine, you can use windows media software, and Macs have QuickTime. There are many other applications available. Jing works with both Macs and PCs, and is free to download and use.

One man who has done a lot of great work with screen capture software is Russell Stannard. His Teacher Training Videos website teaches teachers how to use technology for education.

Two ways in which I have used screencasts – to give feedback on student writing, and to have students teach each other how to use web based tools like prezi, google drive and so on.

Alphabet

Allow me the indulgence. You could do the same with your classes with lexical sets, of course.

fghijk from darren elliott on Vimeo.

Links

Vimeo, for uploading video to share (password protected) with students.

Lipdub for beginners

wevideo online editing application

My previous blog posts about making student video.

A is for Ankylosaurus

How-to student video making

Watch Yourself

I was fortunate to meet Dr. Stephen Bax at the JALTCALL conference in Nishinomiya, Japan recently. This is the third conference I have attended and, as usual, it was well worth the trip. Dr. Bax gave a keynote talk about ‘normalisation’ in educational technology, which was informative, engaging and relevant. We talked about his keynote as well as other work he has been involved in throughout his career. If you can, seek out his articles on ‘normalisation’ if you are at all interested in educational technology.

As mobile learning takes off, it’s inevitable that the big publishers are going to want in on the act. The question is, will they do a good job? Oxford University Press have started fairly gently by adapting existing print products for the iTunes store, and have very kindly gifted me a number of iPad apps for review. In today’s post I would like to focus on their dictionary apps.

The first is the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary, (ALD) which I suppose we ought to look at as both a dictionary and as an app. As a dictionary, I like it – the definitions are clear and there are plenty of authentic (at least, they look authentic) example sentences. Words are also marked with symbols to indicate their ‘importance’ – a key shows that the word is within the Oxford 3000, and AWL indicates that the word is on the Academic Wordlist. Both lists are based partly or solely on corpora, and are worth taking the time to explain to students as part of dictionary training.

As an app it has strengths and weaknesses. The best way to look at it, I think, is in comparison with two other dictionaries I frequently use. One is the combined Deluxe Oxford Dictionary of English and Oxford Thesaurus of English which I bought for myself some time ago. At nearly forty quid, It’s not cheap by any means, but I find it pretty handy – especially when I sit down with my Guardian crossword. The other is a Japanese / English dictionary called Midori which I use as a learner of Japanese. Let’s look at the features in comparison.

Sound

Midori has none. The deluxe plays words in isolation, but the ALD wins here with it’s bank of audio example sentences. This can be downloaded for use off line, or not, depending on your memory space, at no extra cost. Both American and British banks are available.

Lists and Folders

One of the problems I have with dictionaries (as both a teacher and a learner) is that it’s very easy to look up a word, use it, and instantly forget it. These apps all allow book marking for later review with varying degrees of success. In the ALD, users can save words to a list, but that’s all. If you are good at reviewing at the end of the day, and transferring such information to organised notebooks or flashcards, then great, but otherwise it’s not especially helpful. The Deluxe is more useful, in that it allows the user to create and save words to certain folders. This way a user can organise lists to review in their own way… and as a teacher I can create lists to pull up in particular classes if I anticipate vocabulary ahead of time. Best of all though, by a clear margin, is the Midori app. Users can create their own folders, and the app will take your saved lists and turn them instantly into two sided flashcards. It also has a number of ready made lists, including sets of characters learnt by pupils in each year of elementary school, and sets for each level of the internationally recognised Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Perhaps this is not a like for like comparison – translating dictionaries and monolingual dictionaries are not really the same thing. Nonetheless, I feel that an app should offer something which its paper equivalent can’t apart from portability and novelty.

Navigation

All three dictionaries have a ‘jump’ function, enabling the user to press a word or character within a definition and leap on to the entry for that word.  The Deluxe lets readers switch between the thesaurus and dictionary for the same word.  All three dictionaries will also automatically save your history, so if you know you checked a word yesterday you can pop back and find it again. As well as keyboard entry, you can look up words on Midori by using your finger or a stylus to write characters directly onto the screen. Japanese lends itself to such input methods, of course, but it might be a useful feature for students who want to check their handwriting in English!

Other Settings

Midori is plain black and white with a hint of red. But the OUP apps are far more customisable in terms of style, font sizes and colours. The ALD can also be adapted to show or hide certain aspects of definitions.

If you are looking for an English dictionary (and I think it’s a pretty important tool for a teacher) then I would certainly recommend both the OUP offerings. The features they have are generally well done and, compared to the cost of an electronic dictionary,  these are very portable and user-friendly. Both are compatible with iTouch, iPhone and iPad.

However, this is a hard review to write, as I realise my criticisms are not about what the apps do badly; rather, what they might possibly do but don’t. The best app developers are fully exploring the opportunities mobile learning affords. Features like jump navigation and audio examples are great compared to paper dictionaries, but nothing new to my Japanese learners used to electronic dictionaries. Whilst the OUP dictionaries are very nice looking, easy to use, and functional, neither will change the way you learn. A dictionary like Midori, on the other hand, might. A dictionary with the best features of all of them would absolutely blow your socks off!

 

I’ve had my new toy for a couple of months now, enough time to play around with it in various teaching contexts, on a few long and short trips, and in two different countries. I say toy because, if I’m honest, that is mainly what it is – I mean, it’s a luxury item, something I wanted rather than needed, and something which makes my life more fun rather than better. Nonetheless I have found myself doing a lot with it, and with certain reservations I would recommend it.

Which Model?

Mine is wi-fi only, and 64GB memory. My university campus doesn’t have wi-fi, so it means I have to be a little better prepared for class – not that I was unprepared before, but I had greater flexibility with a laptop plugged in via an ethernet cable. I miss not being able to call up youtube videos, google images and the like on the spur of the moment. On the other hand, I don’t miss carrying my MacBook Pro up a very steep hill every morning.

In the UK, wireless coverage is far more widespread – you can check up in pretty much any cafe or pub. For Japan, I may pick up one of these mobile routers – very cheap minimum monthly plan, but handy for emergencies.

I can live without the 3G, but I am glad I got the largest memory available. I have a lot of audio and video, as well as quite a few books, and it’s nice not to have to keep deleting and re-synching.

Classroom Apps and Applications

The main reason I held off on the first model is that it didn’t have video mirroring, which the iPad 2 does. That means that whatever is on the screen of the device can be beamed through a projector or shown through a TV, with the right adaptor cables. This is great for showing video clips in class – I use handbrake to rip my own dvd’s onto my mac, and it is also handy for converting other files sourced from the internet. From the laptop, I can easily synch them onto the iPad. One video app which has a lot of potential is the TED+SUB application. Many of the subtitled videos are available to be saved and played offline, too. I have also loaded up all my class cd’s – one less thing to forget when scrabbling around before a lesson, and also easier to use in mp3 format with a touch-slider control.

The first essential app is Keynote. You may have used the desktop software in presentations or class before, but I really love the way it is set up in the iPad version. It’s so easy to create nice looking slideshows, with animations, audio/visual inserts, or different design features. I like it because it allows me to pace the class according to the mood. Rather than writing three discussion questions on the board, for example, I can put each one on a slide and reveal them one at a time. The same goes for new vocabulary, or images, or example sentences, or whatever it is you want to show. It saves paper, and looks neater than my scruffy handwriting. One drawback is that I haven’t figured out a way to save the files into folders on the device itself yet, although they are so quick and easy to knock up that I’ll probably just delete them and remake them as necessary. Those that are worth saving can be exported in several formats and saved externally, them synched back onto the device in the future.

The two other apps I have used the most so far in class are both dictionary apps. The first is the Oxford Deluxe Dictionary and Thesaurus, very expensive for an app, but for an English teacher probably worth it. I’ve found it very useful as a dictionary training tool, for pointing out differences in usage, and for demonstrating pronunciation (with the audio). The other dictionary is Midori, a very effective Japanese / English (and back again) translating dictionary. Lower level classes in particular tend to rely on their translating dictionaries, (although I try to encourage and support other methods) and it helps me to make sure that they are saying what they want to say. As an aside, it’s great for my personal study. I can input Japanese via the keyboard or with a stylus directly onto the touch pad – so I can even look up complex Chinese characters.

One more reference tool which has come in handy is All of Wikipedia, as you can imagine it’s a huge file but when I am offline it can be handy for checking up on random ideas or questions which come up in class. A very useful tool for a wi-fi only, 64GB iPad 2. If you have wireless access, Qwiki presents information via audio, text and pictures. It also detects your location to offer you encyclopedia entries which may be of particular interest, although to be honest the best use in class might be spotting the inaccuracies! I am still tinkering with maps, but World Travel Atlas seems to be the best so far.

With only one iPad for a class of twenty to thirty, and no wi-fi, there have been no fundamental changes to the way I teach. If I had several iPads and wireless classrooms… now THAT would be something! Imagine students video recording each other and uploading the videos to a class blog, solving puzzles, doing research together….

I have been teaching a professional couple, informally, on-and-off, for several years. In the past, I used a notepad with a piece of carbon paper in a ‘dogme’ style lesson – I noted the ‘emergent language’, we worked on whatever we needed to work on, and at the end of the class I gave them the top sheet and kept the carbon copy myself. However, they are very tech savvy people, now each with an iPad! I am set up on the wi-fi in their house and we are figuring out together some of the things we can do. One app they put me on to is Note Taker HD. Using a stylus, we can write directly onto the screen, insert images or links, save as a pdf and share on dropbox or via email. Another which could be fun is Dragon Dictation, a very clever (and free!) app which transcribes whatever you say (as long as you are wi-fi connected). It could work for presentation or pronunciation practice very well.

Finally, GoodReader is another essential app. It’s a pdf reader which I’ll talk about it more in part two of this review, but in class I have used the highlighting and annotation functions on conversation transcripts, to show particular features of conversational English. It works well in conjunction with audio downloaded from elllo, an excellent free resource in its own right.

I am still exploring the possibilities for classroom use, but I can say that the device itself has a fundamentally different feel to using a laptop or desktop. By removing the keyboard and mouse and interacting more directly with the screen, it feels far more intuitive and responsive… there seems to be one less layer of mediation between what you want to do and what the computer does. Because of that speed, flipping between a video and a text document, then zooming on to a thesaurus page feels far more natural and the flow of the class is less likely to be interrupted.

In part two of the review I’ll talk more about the out-of-class applications, for research, for admin (and for fun!). Until then, I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing with your new toy!

I have recently started a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with the University of Florida. It’s free, open access, and for me non-credit. The first ‘assignment’ is to write about why you are taking the course and what you expect to gain from it. One simple and practical answer is that I want to find out more about elluminate, as I may be using to run a course myself at some point fairly soon. I also want to work my way around the resources and figure out which tools fit for which purposes. It is fascinating how fragile and yet how robust a course constructed entirely in the ether can be, something akin to a spider’s web… Google Docs, Elluminate, Twitter, Youtube, Blogger and various other applications, websites and software are all threaded together to make something which is exceedingly intricate and yet surprisingly sturdy. We shall see.

But this course comes at an interesting moment for me personally. I am preparing for a workshop I will be at this coming weekend, based on a presentation I did a year ago, and at the same time thrashing around a paper on the same theme. I can tell you the what and the how of personal learning networks with increasing certainty, but I am losing my grip on the why. Hence the existential crisis. I should stress that I still believe that personal learning networks are a ‘Very Good Thing’, but I am just unsure what exactly they are good for, and to what extent. I have a few inkings, but these also raise questions.

  1. I have a feeling that teacher development ceases at a certain point, provided that a teacher remains in the same context / position for an extended period. That is not to say that ‘old’ teachers can learn nothing new – there should always be tweaks, refinements… even new approaches. But major epiphanies and shifts in beliefs become less likely over time. This is reflected in the balance between available research devoted to development in novice and ‘expert’ teachers. Given this, I imagine that there is a shift in emphasis in the way that teachers use PLN’s, from self-learning to self-motivation. A feeling that what one is doing is valuable becomes more important for teachers as they enter their late career, to avoid burnout, bitterness or simply going stale. Being a part of an active community and taking on a role as mentor to less experienced colleagues can thus be mutually beneficial.
  2. PLN’s serve both autonomy and collegiality – autonomy in that they are self- initiated, self – constructed and self – maintained, collegiality in the way they allow for collaboration and mutual support. According to research, autonomy and collegiality are both very important elements of successful teacher development, but within institutions and in formalised programmes the balance can be hard to strike, leading to abandonment (enforced autonomy) or pressure (enforced collegiality). PLN’s can circumvent some of these problems by offering both greater control and greater opportunity for meaningful cooperation.
  3. PLN’s are extremely social, and can be quite high maintenance. The amount of off-topic banter, chat and sharing which tends to take place is higher than one might expect, although if one considers the PLN as an emulation / extension of a staff room, it is probably comparable to that which takes place in daily face-to-face interaction with professional colleagues. This may explain why ‘Facebook‘ is, for me at least, a far more useful PLN tool than ‘Linkedin‘. The ‘Personal’ in PLN doesn’t only refer to the unique and personal nature of each particular network, but also to the personal input one has to engage in to be accepted as a trusted member of the network. This in turn can be very tiring, and may lead to burn-out in itself.
  4. Connectivist theories propose that members of a network do not have to learn themselves, but that the network as a whole will synthesize shared knowledge to move understanding forward. Knowledge can thus be stored in ‘non-human appliances’, not internally, as in constructivist theory. This leads me to two further questions. Firstly, I am not sure whether connectivism is the entirely new theory it sometimes purports to be, but simply Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development writ large – in both, the understanding takes place outside of the participants and relies upon a sharing of knowledge. More important, though, is the distinction between skill and knowledge. In some fields learner-participants have a need for and access to huge banks of knowledge, but their own full, personal understanding is not necessarily important. This is a suitable model for thinking about the ways in which advances in medical science research may be made. However, contrast this with the knowledge / skills required by a surgeon in practice. This learning must be internalised and available to be drawn upon instantly. Donald Schon talks about ‘knowledge-in-action‘, the sub-concious application of knowledge by an expert practitioner. I suppose the point is that teachers cannot rely solely on a PLN and that teaching skill needs to be practised, reflected upon, and polished. We require a combination of constructivist and connectivist learning to be a successful modern teacher.

What is interesting for me as I think about these things in early 2011 is that I have been in a position to write about and present on the same topics over the last five years or so. Thus I can track my own thinking from 2007 on to 2008 (and again) right up to 2010, via two separate blogs and whole bunch of tweets in between…

I have a feeling that this blog post might be quite an important one for me personally, as I try to pin down my thinking and pack it up in a handkerchief as I meander down the path towards a possible PhD (because everyone else is doing them, and I think I’d get a kick out of being ‘Dr., and, you know, what the hey…). If you have stuck with it thus far, thank you. Does it make any sense?

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.

A Field Guide to Digital Video from darren elliott on Vimeo.

Then a digital video checklist of things to consider when choosing a camera for a job.

Activities

 

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.

Links

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!

Further Reading

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)