In preparation for the MaWSIG strand of talks at the next BESIG conference (click here for full details and registration), we’ve invited each of the speakers to give us a preview of their session. These previews will be appearing here until the Conference.

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus is speaking at the BESIG Munich conference on Sunday 6th at 9.30.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Cisco predicts that by 2019, video will be responsible for 80 percent of the world’s Internet traffic. Each year, ‘How-to’ searches on YouTube increase by 70 percent. And that includes ‘How to learn English’. There’s no denying that video is the main medium of our day.

In ELT, we’ve always relied on video to teach students. In the dark ages of teaching (I was there, too), you had to find the right ELT videos or record extracts from English-language TV, book the equipment, wheel in the VCR and use the rewind button to get back to just the right passage.

Oh, how times have changed.

Today, anybody with a phone and an Internet connection can upload a video to YouTube. Teachers bring in their computer and show a video right there and then. Students can watch videos on the bus as they travel to work. Anyone can instantly send a great video to a friend or share it with the world. We teachers can harness these possibilities to create videos that are custom-made for our students. And it’s easier than you think.

Before I started making videos, I had so many questions:

  • Do I just talk, or do I read a script?
  • How do I get text on the screen?
  • What do I talk about?
  • How do I make it interesting?
  • Do I have to be in the videos myself?
  • What equipment do I need?
  • Will this be expensive?
  • How do I even start?

It seemed so overwhelming, but in fact, it’s very easy to make high-quality videos. The key elements are sound, lighting and accessibility. By that I mean, is the level of your video right for your audience? This means that you also need to know who your audience is. Videos can be simply filmed on the fly with your smartphone, or they can be full-on productions. But the most important question to ask is ‘Will my students find this useful?’ And if you approach video-making in the same way you approach teaching, you’ll find that you can make very useful, educational videos without a Hollywood production studio to back you up. That being said, there are things you can do to make your videos interesting, so that learners will watch them to the end. Good sound is essential. Good lighting is great, too. Good editing makes them look professional. Animations, personality, music and more make them exciting. We’ll explore in depth the tools and skills you need to start making your own videos. We’ll talk about making them awesome so that students feel that learning with you is as easy as watching cat videos on Facebook − but a much better use of their time.

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus is a freelance business communication trainer who learned that making videos is a great way to create engaging content tailored to her clients. She started making videos in 2015 (the first ones were awful!) and today has her own YouTube channel, Speak English with Christina, aimed at French professionals who want to have a little fun while they learn English.