After having looked at some online resources such as Bubbler and Voicethread, experimentation and initial attempts to create materials, we felt that a change of direction was needed. Instead of taking a structural form based approach, working with grammar points in mind for levels A2-B1, where in a sense we were aiming to re-create materials already present within many coursebooks; we directed our efforts towards a learner need driven approach as opposed to a conceptual approach.
The outcome of this was that subsequent ideas already felt much more rooted. However, new concepts can certainly emerge as a matter of course, and perhaps it is better to acknowledge them as ‘potential’ materials further down the line in tandem with developing primarily from a learner need approach.
We both agreed that the work of Gaynor Ramsey and her book ‘Images’ (1987) is a highly effective way of engaging intermediate or even advanced learners, and for developing their overall competence of speaking, grammar, vocabulary and writing skills. Using this as a starting point in terms of an approach, we then thought about business learners who need to develop the ability to speak effectively about marketing or advertising. One idea that we had for advertising, is that pictures of advertisements connected with contentious issues (such as Benetton’s use of a dying aids dying aids patient), could serve as a starting point for how such controversial pictures are used in advertising campaigns and why. This approach could be used for delivering taboo topics as discussion drivers for general English classes, and we decided that it would be good to explore this area further.
- Proposed idea to David. Suggested that we could also aim questions at interviewees to talk about topics that come up in the last part of Cambridge CAE speaking exam.
- Discussed uploading to YouTube and possibly creating a resource for teachers at David’s school for teachers and students.
- Future meetings might be recorded and an audio file uploaded to the blog to capture better the collaborative process.
Below is a summary of areas of discussion:
- How to upload videos to YouTube
- The managing of a YouTube account and linking different channels together
- Implications of students having access to upload to teacher created YouTube accounts with potential problems, such as students commenting on or annotating videos of interviewed people in an inappropriate fashion
We decided that we it would be a good idea to create a number of YouTube channels in order to cover different areas which are:
- ‘Parking Lot’ – A place for any interesting videos and ideas
- ‘Inspired Speaking’ – FCE and CAE speaking
- ‘Culture Vulture’ – A resource for culturally related topics
- ‘Shades of Life’ – Interviews with people from all walks of life and contentious issues
We also discussed using software such as ivideo and windows movie maker as well as duplicating the YouTube channels and content onto Vimeo.
Having written this post I’ve just had the thought that uploads to video sharing sites don’t necessarily have to be moving video, they can instead be an image, or series of images with or without an audio track.