Recently I set up my Youtube channel (Minhua Gu) and posted a few videos. I am also figuring out how to use Youtube and other other online video resources to enhance interaction in our language class.
A lot of educators like to use Youtube and other online videos. One obvious reason is that it helps change the class pace. These websites also provide free information, and a lot of it. Visual learners can easily retrieve information from these dynamic visual presentations. I used a Youtube video to show how to make dumplings. I am also fond of the animation so delicately made to introduce the evolution of Chinese characters by Shanghai Animation Studio in the 70s, much more interesting and intriguing than any explanation I have given about this topic in person. Well, you can find it on Youtube. One of my favorite is the trailer of BBC's documentary, The Biggest Chinese Restaurant. I often use it to set the stage for the topic on food, Chinese cuisine, and a culture closely related to food.
Music videos on the Internet is another powerful tool for language teachers as well as language learners. Many young students love music. Students learn to sing the songs in another language, which is pretty cool and motivates them to further their study of the language. A ton of music videos have subtitles and offer not only interesting music but also culture-relevant content. My favorites are S.H.E's "Chinese Language", blending Chinese traditions with rapping and break dancing, and the Beijing Olympic theme song, showing different places in Beijing plus different cultural practice. One of my students loved the theme song so much that he found a version with pinyin and Chinese characters on his own. These music videos also give a relatable context for students to discuss about anything related to music. We can talk about music genre, instrument, and various roles such as musicians and music bands. Jay Chou's "An Especially Big Cello" is a good example to introduce the instrument, cello, and the roles Jay Chou plays in the music business, singer, song writer, musician, and etc.
Online videos have audio, visual, and subtitles, excellent for students to practice their listening comprehension and other language skills. The videos are also great tools to conduct assessment. One activity I like to have students do is to fill the blanks to complete lyrics when they watch music videos. Follow-up activities based on the video content can increase students' engagement. Videos with only visual and audio actually give student a platform to create their own language production. One of the Youtube posts I love most is the animation for twelve Chinese zodiac animals, telling the story without words but animated Chinese characters for these animals, brilliantly made. My students wrote their own story about where Chinese zodiac animals were from and performed the story after watching this animation.
I started making my own Youtube posts from my PowerPoint in-class lectures. I use them as review materials for students and students post Youtube comments according to what the video requires as their assignments. I can see the post content and the author's name instantly on my smart phone and give instant feedback if necessary (and know who didn't do their homework). Most importantly, students can view each other's comments and see the quality of their own work, in comparison to their peers'. I think this "peer pressure" works better than my feedback, although the teacher's feedback is important as well. I try to build a contingent online component for our language learning community using my Youtube channel. Some have concerns for security and privacy issues. I believe it is a good practice for students to get used to modifying their behavior based on the virtue environment (for example, when you submit homework, you don't call yourself Snow White).
I will post how to transfer a PPT to a short video next time. Peace.