In the first of a short series of posts, Unlock author Lewis Lansford looks at why we should be using video in the ELT classroom.
1. Video speaks to Generation V
Skype was released in 2003 and YouTube followed in 2005. The iPad was unveiled in 2010. Internet usage has increased from 16% of the world’s population in 2005 to about 40% today (nearly 80% in developed countries). My own kids – aged 8 and 10 – routinely communicate with their grandparents via video chat. For Generation V (the V stands for ‘video’, in case you hadn’t guessed), video isn’t just a passive form of entertainment, it’s also the mode of delivery for interactive communication, and for information accessed on a daily basis. Our students are accustomed to using video, and we teachers can use that to our advantage.
2. Video brings the outside world into the classroom
We now have more access than ever to video. Newscasts, advertisements, comedy routines, documentaries, dramas, and even academic lectures are available on DVD, via the internet, or even as student-produced projects. Most of what’s out there wasn’t originally produced as teaching material, which means it serves an authentic real-world communicative purpose. Some materials, for example the Discovery Channel documentary videos that accompany Cambridge University Press’s new Unlock series, are authentic materials adapted for language teaching. This is the best of both worlds: authentic subject matter not originally produced as ELT material, but later adapted to be pedagogically sound through grading.