Sunday, 3 March 2013

Documenting and analyzing using a videocamera.

Documenting and analyzing using a videocamera.

We have been working with video camera in our English teaching in third grade.
The students have been practicing the play Three little pigs in a simple english translation.
They have documented the entire process with a video camera and after each exercise, we have analyzed language and pronunciation and the students have come up with suggestions for changes and improvements for the next exercise.

I think this is a great way to use technology in English teaching. Students find it exciting and fun. To film themselves and listen to the recording makes them both get to hear how they sound when they speak english and also compare each other's pronunciation and discuss how it should sound if an englishman would say the same sentence.

When we together have come up with pronunciation and accents, they practice a few more times and then we shoot the whole play for the last time.

The next step is to show it for classmates who are in the first and second grade.
Now we can use the video in our continuing education even for the younger students.
Listening to spoken English and especially listen to themselves and compare their pronunciation is an important learning situation.
Making it in the form of a play makes it much more fun.


  1. Hi Anneli!

    I haven’t got much experience in teaching English so far, but I think it’s a nice and useful tool to use the video camera in English teaching as well as in other subjects. Watching and evaluating work together and then give and receive constructive feedback is evolving for each part.

    I think it’s a good idea, as you write, to show the video for peers in other classes. There’s a great benefit, for the children, in showing different works, videos and presentations etc for other students or adults. It conveys a sense that their work is important and worth to be shown.

    Last year, students in my class, grades 5-6, worked with a task about the Baltic Sea (not in English). They took photos, wrote texts, made videos, interviewed different people etc. After finishing the work they invited students in grade 3 and 4 to present their work and I must say it was a great success.
    Later, their evaluation, after the end of the theme, showed that many students felt they learned a lot at the time of the presentation, among other things because of all the issues that their younger peers asked and which they later on had to find the answers to. I think it was a very good learning opportunity.

    After using the video camera in class I sometimes think it’s been difficult to get the” low achieving” and shy students to feel comfortable. Do you have any experience of that or some tips to avoid it? Of course, good preparations are necessary before recording. Sometimes I have had students who did not initially wanted to participate. I then let them take turns to record. It gives them the opportunity to observe and become safer before acting.
    I also wonder how you analyze the language and the pronunciation? Is it together with the whole class, or in smaller groups?

    I think there are many follow-up-tasks you can do when working with videos and I agree with you, the pupils think the video camera is a very fun ICT-tool to use.

    Good luck with your further work! //Best Rosita Glimnér Strömberg

  2. Hey Rosita, as you point out, it is always difficult with the shy and quiet students. There were only four students in this group, but all kinds of representation, both the timid, the voluble, the uncertain and the one that "never can" anything. Because they were so few they took turns filming each other and I was not around to avoid interfere with or limit them in their actions. We have a very permissive environment in the class and everyone knows everyone, so after a while they all became more relaxed and could act for the camera. When we then analyzed the video, they noticed themselves on what changes would be made and the pronunciation that they would change. Since these students know each other, it was no big deal because they saw that all had to change something in their accent or behavior. The more times they filmed the braver they were front of the camera. When they then showed the final result they were really proud and the younger children were deeply impressed and longed until it was their turn to do the same. I think it will be easier filming with the next group.

  3. Hi Anneli!
    There was an interesting Blog post you have written. I have never thought of using the video camera to let students assess themselves and their classmates.

    Sometimes I let my students record their voices as they read. Some of them think that it is really tough to hear them selves afterwards. How does the children react when you record them? How do you do with those who are shy or do not like being criticized by their classmates? Of course this probably is something they can get used to, if they do it in early age and frequently.

    I think you must feel safe, as a student, with your classmates and your teacher and have a permissive climat in your class for doing this. It is a good thing for the children to have a role to play while you are recording. Then you are somebody else, it is the character they are criticize, not you.

    I like this idea that you can improve over and over again until you are satisfied with the result. They can see and hear themselves, while others give feedback on their efforts, very developmental!

    Do you do this in a class with 20-25 children or is it just a little group of children? I can see the danger in getting it a little messy in a whole class. Doing a task that you know someone is going to take part of later is an excellent way to get the task to be meaningful. In this case it is children who probably can not speak very much English that will look at the final product. I think this makes the actors more relaxed, dare more and thus learn more.

    In my 4th grade we have just talked about and watched a film about Hansel and Gretel in English. My thought was that we would do a short play on this. Of course I must try to record them with a video camera. Thanks for your idea!

    Malin Svensson