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50 ways to use video in the classroom

I will be travelling quite a bit this year to conferences and schools, speaking about a  lifelong teaching passion - the use of video as an educational material.

It is something I've promoted and developed many language learning ideas around - foremost through my work on EnglishCentral.

So enjoy these practical ideas for using this most "real" material with your students, Each idea has a recommended example - just click "View It".  

Also get this as a lecture presentation with examples HERE. 

Get all the 50 lists HERE.

50 Ways To Use Video In The Classroom                 

 

What Gutenberg did for writing, online video can do for face-to-face communication.”

                                                      — Chris Anderson, TED

 

Video is in the ascendency and in just 5 or so short years after Youtube launched, the video learning and teaching revolution is upon us.  Video is the new textbook, offering reality and language modeling like a book never could. 

 

Here are some of the best ways to use video in your teaching.  A great companion of ideas to go with the ebook – Using Video In The Classroom Guide and Using Commercials In The Classroom Guide.  Make sure to also view this presentation for helpful, cautionary advice when using video. 

 

 

1.   Engagement. Get students excited and primed for the coming lesson objective or topic.  Video works like a charm.  What about this one for teaching about animals?

View it.  

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2.   A writing prompt.  Short videos are great material for the age old remark of students – “Teacher, I have nothing to write about.”   It guides them and they can write about the story or content of the video. View It.

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3.   Sending video email.  Trouble getting students to speak in class?  Well, they won’t hesitate to turn on their cam and send emails to their friends, in English!  It’s easy and just use this handy, safe Video email page.  View it.

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4.  A time filler. A day off.  A Reward. Lets face it, teaching is hard. Once in a while,  you just need to turn something on and if well chosen, the students will enjoy and learn. Lots of great short videos to choose from but best to use same-language-subtitles. 

View it.

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5.   An Instructional Aid.  Sometimes you have to explain something to students who aren’t in class or maybe missed the class. Try a screencast and show students the material and their tasks. It is easy to do and the easiest is to produce a video with Screenr. 

View it.

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6.  Backdoor.  Great for getting students to speak and use language.  In pairs, one student views and describes to the other student who has their back to the screen. Alternate every few minutes and circulate to give help with vocab (or just write it on the board as needed, students will see you and use to describe the action.   Mr. Bean is perfect for this!

View it.

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7.   Describing a scene.  There are video cams and CCTV everywhere nowadays. Students will get so motivated watching something real and trying to talk about the scene, the action.  Lots of great cams for this activity.      View It.

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8.   Students make a doodle video.  It’s easy to do and read about it here.  Students each make a picture for one line of a song. Put them together and then make a movie. Inspiring for all students and great for team building.   View It.

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9.   How To.  Show a how to video and have students repeat the steps and then explain to other classmates how to do the steps to complete the process. Recipes, dance steps, origami, sports  – you name it!  Check out ehow.      View It.

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10.  Share An eStory.   Video is a powerful way to tell a story. Even more engaging, powerful animation as a story.  Here’s a nice start.  Play the video and pause and have students retell what happened. After, retell the story together.  View it.  

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11.  Debate It.   Admittedly for higher level learners, videos make perfect background for live debates in class about a topic.  They get students thinking about the issues and then brainstorming on their own before the live debate.  Try Truetube.  View It.  

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12.  Tell A Story.  Get students to record themselves telling a favorite story or reading their favorite book.  Share them online and make your own library.   View It.

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13.   What will happen next?   Prediction is a strong language teaching technique that is perfect with video.  Play the video and then stop part way and ask students to predict what will happen next. Works great with commercials.  Try these preset videos.

View It.  

 

 

14.   As a hook.  Much like engagement, video hooks students and will make the lesson to come seem relevant and important. I’ve used simple magic tricks to great effect.

 View it.

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15.  Plain old inspiration.   Videos inspire and make students see what is possible in the big, wide world out there. Teach hope, the hope to be.   View it.

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16.  Vocabulary building .  Videos provide extraordinary context and “reality” for learning vocabulary. It is like the students are right there.  List important words from a video and have students circle or order them as they watch. Then use as cues to retell.

View It. Or View This.

 

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17.  Dialog role playing.    Play the video first. Replay, stopping after each line and having students in that role, repeating the lines. Then replay without the sound on and have student re-enact the dialog. Works great! View it.

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18.  Traveling the world.   Video takes students places, they can travel and experience the world, from the safety of their own classroom!  Even learn a few country names along the way ....   View It.

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19.  Honing Listening skills.  Listening is probably the most important skill - it drives all learning of language.  Videos offer a plethora of great audio that is scaffolded by visual context.  Use a video to test and challenge your students' listening skills.   View It.

 

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20.  Fostering student creativity.  There are so many imaginative videos out there!  Show them to your students and challenge them to be as creative. You'll be so surprised at how they "think outside the box".   View It.

 

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21.  Learning Grammar.  Videos are packed with grammatical language. Choose a video which highlights the grammar you want to focus on and design activities around it.  Grammar is not just something that comes in a textbook - it is living/alive! View It.

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22.  Interviewing.   Video brings all kinds of interesting people into your classroom.  After watching interviews, students can voice over the interview with the video's sound off. Or if you are ambitious, skype people into your classroom and your students can interview them! "Real" practice!   View it.

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23.  Learn Verbs.  Loads of videos out there that allow students to describe actions and practice/learn English verbs. Cartoons are great for this, full of actions.  View It.

 

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24.  Commercials.      No better videos to show than commercials.  Highly stylized, simple language,  universal genre - they make the perfect language learning material.

View it.  

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25.   Discussion.  Videos provide strong background for a topic.  After, students can discuss the issues of the video using teacher provided discussion questions. View It.

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26.   Learning Numbers.  Sounds like a simple thing, no video needed?  Not really.  When learning numbers with a context, they are acquired much better. Plus it is much more fun!  View It.

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27.   Comprehension.   Video is great but much greater if you check student comprehension and keep them engaged so they view for language meaning.  Prepare a list of comprehension check questions for students and you are set!  View It.  

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28.   Music Videos.  Students love music and using music videos with lyric sheets or visual text is a wonderful way to teach language.  So many great "text"songs out there.  View It.  

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29.   Turn students into producers.  Almost every cell phone these days has a camera. Students can produce their own videos and use English for a purpose. Loads of fun and so effective.  View It.

 

 

 

 

30.    Watch a Full movie.   Movies are videos, aren't they? Just longer ones.  So why not "deep watch" a movie?  Take a piece of a movie and use it each part of a lesson. It can be a thread for a whole course or semester.  View it.

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31.   Shadowing.   This technique is one used by many teachers. Students watch/rewatch the video (use video instead of audio!)  and then "shadow" or record the lines, trying to mimic the speech of the original speaker.  View it.

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32.   The 5 Ws.   Current events are great in the classroom!  Play a short news clip and ask students to note the answers to the 5Ws.  Replay and take up the answers. View It.

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33,   Get Literal.     Literal videos replace the original audio with a "literal" description of what the characters are doing. Loads of fun and if you are ambitious, get students to make their own literal videos! View It.

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34.   Learn Chunks.   Videos bring authentic language into the classroom. Authentic language is full of "chunks"" - groups of words that express an individual idea.  Watch a video and have students note/notice  the "chunks" of language.  View It.

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35.   Hidden Challenge.   The listening cloze is a staple activity.  It is even more powerful with video, much more so.   If you also don't want an image with the audio, just turn students around/blindfold them or turn off the projector! View It.

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36.   Get cooking.      Recipes and food are great topics.  Ask students for a recipe and then watch a professional tell how they make it.  Lots of food videos out there - here are some suggested sites.    View It.

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37.   Make a music video.   Your students will love this and have a lot of fun. They'll remember it forever and also every line of the song they perform.  Start by showing  the original video in class and then asking students to write, then film their own versions.

View It.

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38.   Learn about something.   CBI is a great way to motivate students and learn English through immersion.  The focus is not on learning English but learning the topic. So many videos out there with topical content that will engage your students!  View It.

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39.   Give student feedback.  I have started using video to give my students feedback on their essays and projects - it's easy and much better. More personal and students learn language at the same time. Even takes less time!  Use Screenr, record your computer screen with the essay/project/report card/item showing and give your feedback. Send the student the link. Voila!  View it.  

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40.  Lastonestanding .  A classic game that’s easy to play with a blank piece of paper.  Chose a video or music video with lots of repetitive language. List the words on the board. Students choose one word and write it on their piece of paper. Play the video and students stand or sit when they hear their word/expression.  Last ones standing win!   View It.

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41.  Differences / Similarities.  There are many videos that offer up the possibility of naming differences and comparing. Stretch your students thinking skills!  View It.

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42.  Dictation.   Videos have great audio that you can use as a dictation exercise with students.  Play fully through one time and then repeat, stopping on each line as students write the line down.  Take up.   View It.

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43.  Being Different.  Video brings the lives of other students and people into the classroom. It allows students to empathize with and imagine those who are different. We don't just teach language, we teach life!   View It.

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44.  Learning History.  Video captures past reality and makes it objectively available to us as classroom content.  Even better than a book, it can bring you there.  Use history as content to help students learn English and understand the world.  View It.

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45.   Self Study.    Let's face it, it takes a lot of practice to master a language (10,000 hours?).  Students need time to self-study and video allows the teacher to be outside the classroom and guiding students (Flipped Classroom model).  Try this blended learning approach. View It.

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46.   GIF it.  That's right, use .gif images.  They actually are video - just very short ones!  They abound on the web and present a very short snapshot of a scene/act. Present them to elicit student language. Bonus is they are usually hilarious!  View It.   

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47.   Learn about the power of words.   Language can be so powerful. Motivate students by impressing upon them the power of language and how important it is for their own success in life.  View It.

 

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48.   Go KT.   Kinetic Typography is a booming design feature that allows words to be visually presented in video.  Amazing stuff for any language teacher, combining words, audio and image ....  View It.   

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49.   Read Alouds.  Everyone young or old loves to be read to.  There are so many great places online where students can be read to and get authentic language input.  .  View It.

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50.   Changing and inspiring the world.   Videos make a powerful statement.  Students, especially teenagers, want to make a difference and making a video will allow them to. Plus, they'll learn a heck of a lot of English. Plus you the teacher will never forget this activity, ever. Put it in your digital teaching portfolio.  View It.

Many more videos on our Video + page  or our video library.

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