Wednesday 30 January 2008

Using 'How to' videos

Monkey See is an excellent site which carries a lot of short high quality video content. It is based around the concept of instructional videos; being able to see something in order to be able to do it yourself.
It has short video clips that cover a really wide range of things from parenting tips, relationship advice, to how to set up a home studio, play the guitar or apply red lipstick!

The featured video content is very high quality and each 'lesson' is split into shorted clips of between 1 - 3 mins, so it doesn't take too long to watch.

Visitors to the site can also create their own channel page to show their own videos and become 'experts'.

Some of my favourites are:

There's also a good section on careers and education which has advice and tips on selecting colleges, doing interviews as well as more business orientated stuff like negotiating and becoming a better salesperson

Using this site with students
You'll have to be careful about which videos you choose for your students. Some of them are quite high level with dense language which contains lots of subject specific jargon. This could be ideal for your higher level or ESP classes, but won't help your beginners much. If you want to use this with lower level students, it's better to focus on the more visual activity related type of videos.

Possible task you could set:
  • Develop some specific listening skills questions for your higher level students
  • Get students to watch a series of videos and prepare a short essay based on what they have learned from the content.
  • Get groups of students each to watch a different clip from a series then share their information together.
  • Ask students write the script for one of the clips.
  • Ask the students to actually learn how to do one of the things in thee video series and come into class and demonstrate it.
If you have access to video equipment:
  • Get students to create their own video series on something they like doing and upload it.
  • Get your students to make videos which summaries what they have learned in each of your lessons and upload them
  • Get students to make videos which demonstrate different grammar points
  • Create your own channel and make some video presentations for your students on how to speak English
Even if you don't have a camera you could get students to prepare some of these for a class performance.

What I liked about this site
  • The quality of the video and audio is generally very good and it's free
  • There's a really wide range of topics being covered
  • If you click on the 'Share this video' button you can get an embed code so that you can add the video to your own webpage or blog. That way your students don't get distracted by other things on the site.
  • It's not active yet, but there is a download button that looks like it will enable you to put the video clips onto mobile devices such as i-pod, PDA and phones.

What I wasn't so keen on
  • Some of the videos are simply talking heads, so they don't all make the best use of the visual. Still good for detailed listening though.
  • There's a very strong North American bias both in terms of accents and content information, but if your students need that then it's an advantage
  • Some of the topics covered (how to choose a bikini!) could prove distracting to some students, so be sure that your students stay on topic.

On the whole I think this is a really useful site with a real wealth of authentic materials that can be incorporated into lessons for both the listening / viewing practice and for the value of the content / information itself. Potentially very motivating stuff.

Hope you find some use for it and please leave a comment if you use it or have other ideas for how to exploit it.

Related links:



MarĂ­a Jordano said...

thanks Nick! It's great!

I like this one:

for my students...;)

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Maria

You're right. This is a fantastic one. I never knew there was such a thing as a professional sandcastle builder! A great task for the first clip would bee to watch and identify the tools he uses and what he uses them for. It would make really good use of the visual aspect too.

Hope your students enjoy it.


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