Small Group English: Effective use of video

Context: ESL students at Chosun Ilbo GEC

Why use video in your presentations? And how can you use it effectively?

Video is kind of popular.

I’ll just restate the obvious: Video is easier to absorb than written content, and can convey even the most complex ideas and concepts quicker and more effectively than even the best teacher, making a clearer and more lasting impression on the mind than spoken word.

So all teachers should make selective use of video. Who are teachers?

Apart from, you know, teacher teachers, don’t forget about salespeople, marketers, content makers, tech. evangelists and managers. They need to share their understanding, and perhaps convince their listeners of their viewpoint. Their audience could be those of their team, their company, students, customers, or even the public.

Making a video is quite hard, and apart from technical limits also requires a certain ambition. Actually using video, however, doesn’t require anything beyond a display comfortable enough for your audience. And some cheap speakers maybe.

Video can:

  • Hold the attention of the audience – people always will have a response to something new that they have never seen before
  • Make information more memorable
  • Tell a story or show a sequence of events over time
  • Explain how to do something
  • To introduce a topic, or prepare the minds of the listeners for what will come next

Video: What to do, what not to do

  • DO use questions or a simple explanation of the point of you video. This can help the audience focus on the correct parts of the video. If its a video with a lot of different information, letting them know what they should look for is extremely important. Otherwise they will not be able to understand clearly what the point is.
  • DO make sure that the sound and the display work properly before you begin. It’s very stressful when you need to cut out entire parts of your presentation because you can’t show your video properly: prepare properly.
  • DO check links and video files before you start. If you are opening a video from YouTube, you might have chosen to only show a selection of a larger video, so you should have the correct times you want to use written down before you start, to make finding that point in the video easier.
  • DO NOT use some video you found one YouTube to replace your speaking because you didn’t actually prepare properly. Its a clear sign that the speaker hasn’t prepared if they start with, “Let’s watch a video!” Video usually is to support what you are saying, not replace all of it.
  • DO NOT play a video that you have never seen yourself. Again, prepare properly: if you choose a video that you think is what you need, but you actually haven’t watched it, you might be in for an embarrassing surprise when it is not the same as what you are saying. It looks sloppy.

Simple Video Editing

If you decide to dive into making video, you will possess a very powerful 21st century skill. But I won’t tell you to dive in, because I myself am still in the process of learning how to actually make video.

This said, its useful to know how to do simple cropping and editing of video, so here are two simple (free and open-source) tools that can help you:

An interesting research paper looking at secondary school ESL teaching in Norway investigated the benefits of video for use in a language learning environment:

“Videos appeared to have a positive impact on the development of the pupils’ four language skills and vocabulary growth, as well as to scaffold the process of acquiring the pragmatic use of the language and to teach about the target language cultures. By and large, both the teachers and the pupils had positive attitudes to lessons with video. The findings of the study suggest that teaching with video can effectively promote communicative language teaching, bring variety into ELT classrooms, motivate pupils to learn a foreign language, benefit the development of the four language skills and vocabulary growth, supplement texts in textbooks, and approach the curriculum topics via a different medium. The thesis has contributed to the knowledge on the use of one of the digital media, namely videos, in ELT in a Norwegian lower secondary school and, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, has contributed to a gap in the research in this field.”

There is really nothing surprising about this result. If video helps secondary schoolers to be more engaged in their learning, video will be effective in communicating with adults.

Use video effectively in your presentations.

Paul Hoets is a freelance maker who lives in South Korea. If you liked this article and would like to contribute to his empire of dirt, silicon and tech. education, buy him a coffee!

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