Earlier this week I blogged about my wish list for the future. It was short, consisting only of a flip video (preferably in an interesting color). Today I found research that proves the academic benefits of using mini video projects in a foreign language classroom.
These were the benefits derived from the project.
The ambitions, experiences and outcomes of schools varied widely, but all teachers reported significant benefits from setting up a project, such as:
- greater focus on pronunciation
- opportunities for memorisation
- increase in pupil motivation
- improved class dynamics
- development of collaborative skills
- better understanding of film language and audience
- higher status for MFL in school
The research went into great lengths to describe the steps leading up to the projects in the classroom and the reflective process after the videos were filmed/edited. I read through the case studies in the different schools and different settings which helped me to visulize what this would look like in my own classroom.
The teachers in the test classes and those conducting the research also provided advice for teachers interested in bring video to their curriculum.
- Project design: Short and simple projects, with a small group where possible, are the best starting point. Ensure that individuals are given roles within groups. Give pupils as many options to work creatively and independently of the teacher as possible.
- Planning: Provide pupils with a storyboard template and a list of filming dos and don’ts. Invest time in planning, refinement of target language and rehearsal.
- Film literacy: Projects which dedicated time to analysing the language of film through discussion of existing footage were particularly successful.
- Duty of care: Unless the school has an appropriate policy already in place, parental permissions should be obtained for pupils appearing in video footage in the project, even if it is not published.
- Technical issues: Teachers and technical support staff should ensure that both filming/sound equipment and editing software is functional in the context in which it will be used by pupils before a project is started. Inability to save edited footage onto the network, insufficient network capacity, lack of appropriate firewire ports or video cards and non-functioning microphones were all technical problems faced by participating schools.
- Support from colleagues: Good technical support is crucial. Assistance from FLAs and other departmental colleagues can make a huge difference, as can support from other departments who may have high levels of technical expertise and curriculum time to share! City Learning Centres can be very useful if there is one nearby.
- Completing projects: Editing can be incredibly time-consuming. Set strict parameters for filming, such as a maximum of 5-10 minutes footage for a 1 minute film and agree on an efficient editing strategy from the start, which is likely to include pupils volunteering their free time.
Other online resources for guiding video projects in a foreign language classroom can be found at:
- Digital Video ICT – British Standards
- Storyboard Examples
- Integrating Technology into Foreign Language Classroom – Cortland SUNY (I realize it is a class syllabus, but the links are useful and the class examples show potential)
- Strategies for Producing a Video-Letter in a Foreign Language Classroom
- Video Production in a Foreign Language Classroom: Some Practical Ideas
Before I am willing to impliment a video project with 70+ students, I need to personally know the details and potential issues. Which is why I need a Flip Video.