This is a guest post by educator and VoiceThreader Luisa Josefa Corsi García.
I want to share some of the benefits I had after taking a short teacher training workshop on VoiceThread. Thanks to that course I was able to learn how to use some extra tools that the VoiceThread offers to us, such as the video VoiceThreads that I was not using up to that moment. I was truly motivated by concrete pedagogical concerns in the speaking component that pushed me to innovate using new technologies with my undergraduate students at Los Andes University. Additionally, I wanted to start practicing the “know how” by implementing immediate actions before I forgot this valuable information.
Video Speaking Project in English 5
This course aims to develop a stronger set of reading skills in comparison to the other skills; therefore, it is necessary to foster speaking skills beyond the classroom. When the VoiceThread videos came into my way, I immediately thought: “this could be great to do in class.” First, I asked my students to make a two-minute video with powerpoint slides where they could practice the specific grammar and vocabulary. For instance, some of the main topics were the use of conditionals and vocabulary related to the brain. At this point, I provided them with specific parameters and assessment checklists for the project and the peer feedback. Then, students posted their comments to give peer feedback to their classmates. Finally, I gave them my feedback taking into account the continuous feedback I had provided them with throughout the process.
Video Experience with English 7
Students in this course are taught language learning strategies and aspects of spoken language which help them understand why they have the difficulties when learning English. In addition, students get familiarized with some of the most important features of spoken English such as the English sound system. My previous experience with video projects in English 5 led me to consider doing something similar according to the content I was teaching. Consequently, students made a two-minute video based on their notes of a text called Memory, which explains some of the aspects the brain has in terms of encoding, storage, and retrieval. Moreover, I asked them to work on six specific English pronunciation sounds they needed to work on the most. Finally, after taping themselves, I asked to give mutual feedback according to some parameters related to spontaneity, pronunciation, and content. I myself provided them with feedback through the whole process, as well. In both courses, I provided students with a kind of “User Manual” guide in order to show them a step by step description of the video creation and the comments for the peer feedback.
The most relevant conclusion I could draw from these teaching practices is that students were actively involved because the teaching and learning dynamics completely changed. In fact, the classroom was flipped since I did not spend most of the time explaining grammar or pronunciation aspects, but students themselves were the ones who were in charge of their own learning by asking me questions that had a real meaning to them. It is also a great opportunity for learners to share their knowledge and points of view. I will definitely continue incorporating VoiceThread videos in my classes.
Here I share one of the questions I asked them to get students’ feedback.
What did you like the most about this video final speaking project ?
These were some of the answers:
“I like a lot the topic and how it was introduced”
“The central theme of this video and the participation of other people, the correction of the sentences from the concepts seen in class and the evolution in speech”.
“how I improve my pronunciation”
“I like that I can practice with a partner.”
About the author
Luisa Josefa Corsi García is a teacher of English in the Languages and Culture Department, at Los Andes University; Bogota, Colombia. She holds a Master of Education and a CELTA Certification of English. Her lifelong teaching experience, in English and German languages with undergraduate students of all faculties, has recently been enriched by Flipped Learning principles. She can be reached by email: lj.corsi [at] uniandes.edu.co or on Twitter at @Luisa_Corsi.