Thursday, January 19, 2012

Descriptive Video: Practiced by Beginner Level Prep Students at METU NCC

Hi all,

I would like to talk about a video project I've recently assigned my students. Steve has already mentioned it before and I made a brief comment on it, but I thought I should give it more space with this post.
  • I first gave them a video on how to create fun videos narrating an event. Here it is:
  • I also gave them a link to a sample video made by Steve's students earlier to give them an idea of the output.
  • I kept it voluntary, but with a promise of extra PG. I also assigned the topics and key language points to give them a frame of reference to move on. Below are the results.
Video 1
  • They created a video on a dialogue taking place between a newcomer and a senior student on METU NCC, the latter introducing the campus to the other. 
  • They added recorded dialogue on the video as well as background music. 
  • They also used some visual effects to pronounce the characters (made of cardboard).

Video 2
  • They made a video showing a dialogue between a customer (Faruk, a student from the class) and a travel agent. 
  • The technique is very similar to that of the sample video mentioned above; quick changes of cards and cut up characters as the dialogue moves on. 
  • They were very well prepared and organized as the video runs very smoothly.

  • This one is on the uses of present perfect simple and present perfect continuous tenses. 
  • What they did was quite different from the other ones. Since the group has an amateur photographer and an amateur actress in it, they preferred to make a video consisting of mute slides with subtitles. They handed in the subtitles in a file with an .srt extension.

What I did with the videos:

I played them in class accompanied by tasks for the students as they watched them.

  • What I could have done is to give them to opportunity to prepare the tasks on their own, but I did not have enough time to do so.
  • The first two tasks (for the first two videos) consisted of comprehension questions.

However, the task for the last video had three steps:

  1. Watch the video (without subtitles, with background music) and decide on a possible conversation taking place between these people.
  2. (To Volunteers) Read your dialogues as the video runs. Try to improvise if the dialogue needs adaptation.
  3. Answer comprehension questions related to the video.

What I observed:

The videos had positive feedback from the students as well as my colleagues. I also heard Steve showed them at the ELT department and they made positive comments, especially for the last video on perfect tenses, finding it open to exploitation, exntension and adaptation and allowing for improvisation, role-play and dialogue building activities.

I just thought it is worth mentioning. Hope the videos could be of use to you as well.

Steve, again, thanks a lot for the suggestion.

PS: The language used in the videos has mistakes as I preferred not to intervene in the process. Editing the dialogue could be another idea as an extension activity.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Erhan - many, many thanks for taking the time to relate your experiences. Fascinating to see the two different approaches. I noticed that Talip's group also came up with some different twists to their videos as well. This suggests that this sort of open-ended task combined with the media of video is well-suited to encouraging more creativity and to some degree, critical thinking skills. Very nice. Would love to know what the students thought about it. Great to see that you were able to generate so much interest in a voluntary activity done out of class time.

  3. So interesting that they all did different things with the same basic idea. Also amazing that half the class took part even this close to the Mid terms - when they have 'no time' .