By CASLT

Video is a powerful medium to encourage and augment second language learning. Not only are there diverse platforms for teachers and students to access, watch, and record videos, but the ways in which these tools can be used are limitless.

As part of the new Languages Build Video Contest, CASLT commissioned Stephanie Jackson-Basuyaux and Jim Murphy to develop a webinar on the benefits of student-made videos in the second language classroom. Stephanie delivered the webinar for Edmonton Public Schools on January 31, 2022, and Jim presented it as part of CASLT’s Online Professional Learning series on February 1 and 3, 2022.

Top Five Takeaways

So, what are the benefits of making videos in the second language classroom? Here are our top five takeaways.

1. It Motivates and Improves Use of the Target Language

Research tells us that language learning tasks that involve the creation of a product can help students gain a deeper understanding of the target language. Creating their own video requires students to plan dialogue, practice multiple times, and record multiple takes before submitting the video. Learning tasks that are inherently collaborative and promote authentic interaction can also be motivating and reduce anxiety, ultimately enhancing language learners’ skills.

2. It Allows for a Variety of Outcomes

Depending on what we ask our students to do, we can achieve different results. Think about the kind of language we want our students to produce. Do we want to see how they speak spontaneously, with little to no preparation? Short videos of three minutes or less can achieve this. Have students respond to a question or react to a prompt. Flipgrid is an excellent tool for this type of task.

Conversely, are we more interested in seeing what they can do when they have time to revise and polish their language? Longer videos (more than three minutes) give students time to practice and engage deeply with the target language. For example, we could ask students to produce a guided tour, a music video, or a mini documentary on a subject of their choosing.

3. It’s Easy and Engaging

There are many ways to produce videos, and students may already be using these tools on their own time. The key is to use what you have. Encourage students to use the technology they already know or have them watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to use freely available apps.

Sharing videos can be a way for students to showcase their work and engage authentically with their peers. For example, you could create a shared Google Slides or PowerPoint document. Have students insert their video on a new slide and add the title of their video and their name. This simulates a playlist like you might find on YouTube, minus the privacy concerns. Students can then watch their peers’ videos and add comments.

Learn more about ways that students can make, edit, and share videos with CASLT’s Student-Made Videos one-pager .

Professional camera shooting female filming tutorial at home

4. It’s Versatile

There are limitless ways to integrate student-made videos into your classroom while aligning the tasks with curricular outcomes. Here are just a few types of videos your students could create:

  • Observations or jokes
  • Responses to a question or prompt
  • Reviews or unboxing
  • Selfie-Cam Jams
  • Guided tours
  • Cooking how-tos
  • Lip-syncs or music videos
  • Gaming walkthroughs

And of course, you can always ask your students for their favourite types of videos!

5. It’s Easy to Extend

When the video is complete, the task doesn’t have to end there. We can extend language learning beyond the final product, for example, by including a writing task. When you post a video to YouTube or TikTok, you write a description and include hashtags and keywords that would come up in a search. This is an example of real-life writing. Including it as part of the video task will make it even more meaningful and authentic to students.

Taking the same example further, part of the experience of posting a video online is that you open it up to the world to make comments. Publishing the video is the beginning of the interaction, not the end. You would read the comments people post to your video and possibly respond to some of them — essentially an interaction in written format. What a powerful way to bring writing and reading to life for your students!

Learn More

Watch the recording of Jim Murphy’s webinar below to learn more about how student-made videos promote language learning. As a bonus, Jim also tells us how teachers can make our own videos to improve student learning.

Further Reading

O’Brien, M. G. (2021). Facilitating language learning through technology: A literature review on computer-assisted language learning. Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers. https://www.caslt.org/en/product/call-lit-review/

O’Brien, M. G. (2019). Literature review on the characteristics of successful second language programming. Edmonton Public Schools. https://epsb-resources.sellfy.store/p/literature-review-characteristics-of-successful-second-language-programming/

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