Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Online Video: Authentic Genres

Over the past few years video sharing websites have become increasingly specialised, bringing about the development of different 'genres' of video sharing sites. As online video increasingly competes with TV this has also brought about the development of genres of 'micro shows'. These are complete episodes of shows that take place within 2 - 5 mins. This is an ideal length both for or 'digital native' students with their characteristically shorter attention span, but also for our English language students with their limited ability to cope with longer streams of authentic input. This more specialised content is also ideal for teachers developing materials for content and language integrated learning (CLIL)courses or for teachers who want to develop video projects.

Product Reviews

There are an increasing number of specialised video sharing websites like ExpoTV . This one enables users to create and share videos that review new products. This is a great source of authentic material and a great project for students who can create and upload their own video.
You can find some tips and suggestions for exploiting these sites at: Using Product Reviews

How to Videos
Video is a great way to teach people because you can actually see how they do things as well as listen to them . For the same reason it’s a very powerful tool for conveying the meaning of language. MonkeySee is a really useful website that contains lots of high quality short clips, showing how to do a variety of things from dancing, learning a musical instrument through to sales and marketing techniques and even building sandcastles!

The videos are user generated so anyone can create their own series and upload it.
Read more about how to use these videos here: Using 'How to' videos

Advertising projects
The Rollmio site was created to connect companies with creative amateur marketers. The site publicises information about companies that want web based video advertisements and anyone can then create an advertisement upload it to the site and try to win the contract. This can be a good insight for higher level students into how advertisements are created.

Here you can see some examples that a class of higher level English students created: Ad projects
To find suggestions on how to use this site with your students read: Advertisement Project


Sharing opinions
Big Think is a video sharing website that aims to create debate and the exchange of ideas. They invite very influential experts to record their opinions on a range of topics. Visitors to the site can watch these videos, vote to agree or disagree and also record their own video response. You can also set up your own debates on the site by recording your own opinion, either on the same topics as the experts or on a topic of your choice.

To read more about how to use this resource, go to: Video debating website


Micro soaps
The ability to share short video clips over the Internet through websites such as YouTube has led to the creations of various new ‘micro’ genre of TV programmes.

One very popular example is the 3 minute soap opera ‘ Lonely Girl 15’. This started a couple of years ago with a girl in the USA called ‘Bree’ talking to a webcam about here life. It soon attracted millions of viewers and it was discovered that the girl was a professional actress and the show was being produced by a small company.



There are now many series and a parallel programme based in the UK called Kate Modern. This kind of material, though at times sensitive carries a lot of potential for classroom exploitation. The programmes can be used to portray and contrast the youth culture of USA and UK as well as highlighting linguistic differences. You should be careful which episodes you choose though as some are unsuitable for younger learners.

To read more about thee micro soap operas go to: Iconic teen video

I hope that this posting has given you a look at some of the genres of online video that are available and how to use them. If you have a particular favourite genres please do leave a comment about it.

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Nik Peachey

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