Listening – UGC (User Generated Content)

The whole world is the English Language Teacher’s oyster. Nowadays, with the proliferation of technologies and especially the internet – we don’t have to use the staid old materials of “usually” dried up, old white men who write textbooks and run up publisher’s expense accounts. Nosirree. There are great authentic materials everywhere which we can harness, control and use for presenting great classroom material, all with little effort. “Ecrasez l’infame” said Voltaire, “Down with the infamy”. Same applies here, we don’t need experts anymore – the textbook emperors have no clothes.

Here’s one simple example of the power of video that can be brought right to the classroom and used effectively as a language teaching aid. HP Computers – Getting Personal: You On You contest videos. [see all my other players full of great material for the classroom – HERE]

People from all over the world uploaded “headless” videos of themselves. Here’s an example. I have a full player of the best for the classroom HERE.  These videos are absolutely brilliant and I specifically chose one of the worst to highlight how even these are great for teaching.

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0
It’s easy to use these videos. Simple play one a few times and allow students to record the information about the contestant. Use this nice badge/card (made at the wonderful Big Huge Labs). After, play again and take up the info. pausing the video as you go.

Here’s my answer to the example video!

Another great activity is to just let the students watch and then guess which are the top 3. (the first three in the player were the winners 🙂 )

If you really want to do something amazing – get your students to make their own You On You videos. Have your own contest! Getting students to be the authors of their own language learning materials (what I call SCC or Student Created Content) is the be all and end all of language teaching.

Enjoy using these great videos!

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Nick D'Aloise says:

    As a recently new addition to your collection of blog followers, I would like to say that the resources and internet tools that you write about are both interesting to read about and indeed potentially helpful. The You on You video activity is also very interesting, and I think it is a great way to break up the monotony of typical language learning coursework. There is always a need to keep students engaged and interested, and in language learning, which is a particularly long and arduous road to success, keeping motivation high is critical to success.
    However, I disagree that informal educational tools such as this can serve as a replacement rather than a supplement to traditional teaching methods and materials. SLA research to date finds that many critical linguistic features such as syntactical structure indeed require explicit instruction of rules, grammatical and otherwise. Now, it is true that you may not need textbooks to teach formally and explicitly, but I would wager that there is not free internet tool, blog or other resource that acts as a singular, expansive collection of formal language rules and features that is as practical as well-produced textbook. However, the initial proficiency of your students at the onset of the course and the goals for that course could affect the need for certain materials. We can all agree, though, that the prices for said pedagogical materials is burdensome and often excessive.

  2. ddeubel says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your well argued and thoughtful reply. We can agree to disagree. I’ve become more and more convinced (but still not a total Krashenite) that language does not need explicit instruction of rules etc… But our debate is an old one, fought by Ellis / Long and many in the 70s – form vs function. I do agree that if a teacher is not strong in their knowledge of language forms, they can impede more than help language acquisition and this is usually the case/norm. Yet, we see so many beginning teachers, insecure, practicing “explanation” and planning lessons around grammar points. I think this should be the last thing they do.

    But I’m not as extreme as you might think when it comes to the transactional nature of the classroom. I want teachers to have the freedom to do what they think works – this is primary. There is no magic bullet.

    Of course, regarding expense (and not just for textbooks but also so much useless technology that gets replaced/made redundant) – we are both on the same page….

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