Video for ELT, Episode 2: Ideas and Resources

There are so many opportunities to use video in interesting and creative ways. Last month I wrote about the various ways that TED talks can be incorporated in English teaching. If you didn’t see that blog entry, you should take a look. You may be surprised at the extent of resources available as well as the supporting instructional guidance that you can find. There are, of course, many other collections of valuable video resources that can also be brought into the classroom. This entry will address some of these. I will also share some thoughts about various ways to create compelling, collaborative, communicative experiences around the creation, use, and sharing of video.


There are some very unique websites that utilize the vast quantity of video available today in novel ways. YouTube is, of course, the largest collection of video that has ever existed. This means that there are numerous opportunities to use these videos for instruction. One site that has been built around YouTube is YouGlish. Youglish is probably my favorite English teaching site available today.

This site utilizes Youtube videos as a corpus, allowing learners to search for a word or phrase to learn how various English speakers pronounce the search term. In the example above, I searched for “Don’t know,” and the site takes me to that phrase in one of 113,066 related videos. Users can see the word or phrase in context while reading the transcript as well. It is easy to repeat or forward to the next example. This is a brilliant site that could be used as the main text for a pronunciation course.

Khan Academy

Other video sharing websites also have much to offer English teachers and learners. Some may be surprised that sites such as Khan Academy, which was originally focused on teaching mathematics, have many useful videos focused on learning English, particularly for more advanced learners. Khan Academy has a very useful site devoted to learning grammar, for example.

Creating Engaging Video Projects

The quantity of video on YouTube and other sites can be overwhelming, and there is certainly a fair amount of material that is potentially inappropriate for some students, but there are many ways the site can be used for teaching and learning. The review and commenting functions built into YouTube present engaging opportunities for authentic language practice.

There are so many creative ways to engage learners in authentic English practice around the creation of video projects. Students can provide narration for silent videos or videos with the sound turned off. This could simply be any video with sound removed, or just turned off, or it could be a more personal video that students themselves have recorded in an authentic space that is meaningful. Such videos could be composed of a sequence of still images and serve as a video equivalent of picture stories. Students can also create mashups whey they combine their own written or spoken language with existing video.

Of course, students can create their own videos and share them with others, including classmates and other language informants. These can be based on personal narratives, digital storytelling, fanfiction, or simply a topical treatment of course content themes. Videos can be final products of class projects that are elaborately structured, staged, and acted out, or they can be a simple series of images with or without audio depending on the level of the class and student abilities and goals.

For more ideas on student created video projects, consider these sites:

What video projects have you tried? What are your favorite video resources for the classroom? Please share in the comments.

About Greg Kessler

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler is professor of instructional technology in the Patton College of Education at Ohio University. He has written numerous books, articles, book chapters, and other publications. He has delivered keynote and featured talks around the world. His research addresses technology, learning, and language use with an emphasis on teacher preparation. He has held numerous leadership positions, including as Ohio TESOL president, CALICO president, and TESOL CALL IS chair. He is the editor of the CALICO book series, Advances in CALL Practice & Research, the Language Learning & Technology journal forum, Language Teaching & Technology, and many other comprehensive collections.
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