More than a bit of fun: creating engaging and useful video-based materials

This is the second of several previews of talks to be given at the upcoming ELTAM−MaWSIG conference in Skopje, Macedonia, on 30 September, 2017. Here, MaWSIG Coordinator Rachael Roberts introduces her talk. For more details about the event, click here.

You’ve probably all heard of Generation X, Y and Z? But what about Generation V, or the so-called Virtual Generation? Generation V is not about a specific age group but about all of us who spend a great deal of time online. To members of Generation V, technology isn’t anything special; it’s just stuff they use on a daily basis.

Increasingly, our students are part of this Generation V, and so are we. The use of video (and other technology) in the classroom is no longer something we do on occasion – it’s part of our regular repertoire. With this in mind, more and more teachers are using videos from YouTube and other sources as input. Sites such as Film English and Lessonstream are very popular, not least because it is actually quite challenging to choose the right video and to create materials which do more than simply ask a few comprehension questions.

If we want to create effective video based materials, here are some of the things I think we need to consider:

Are the materials engaging, relevant, interesting? You want students to be so interested in the topic or activity that they need the language to talk about it. Remember that just because a topic is intrinsically interesting, it doesn’t necessarily mean that students will have much to say about it. There needs to be an angle that they can relate to their own lives or experiences.

What background or cultural knowledge will the students require to understand the video? What assumptions are you making about what they already know?

What about the linguistic demands? How can you assess the difficulty of the language in the video and whether some of the language is worth teaching for productive use? How can we help students to notice useful language?

What kind of activities work well after watching a video to bring together the themes and the language they’ve been exposed to? How can we ensure that these activities don’t fall flat?

I’ll be discussing all these questions in my plenary at the ELTAM−MaWSIG conference.

As well as being the current MaWSIG Coordinator, Rachael has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer for more years than she cares to mention. When she isn’t doing one of those things, she can be found spending too much time on her website, writing methodology posts and video-based materials at www.elt-resourceful.com.

 

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