Screencast Video Tools in the World Language Remote Classroom

I have been hearing a lot about the importance of establishing relationships with students. Students learn from teachers who value them. And, they feel supported by teachers who allow themselves to be known by their students. In September when I return to the classroom I will be teaching in a hybrid format. I am concerned that teaching with a mask and teaching through the computer will put distance between me and my students, so I intend to make some videos from home with my mask off.

I want to tell you about using Screencast-O-Matic to make videos for your students because it could be useful while you are creating World Language lessons for remote learning or for live lessons when you have a mask on. The tool is free if you limit yourself to 15 minute videos. I have upgraded because I use it to do pre-recorded webinars for teachers, but you don’t need to.

There are so many benefits to filming yourself. A video is, first of all, a close-up view of the teacher and it can be clearer and more succinct than an in-person interaction. Students can watch a video over and over if they are having trouble catching something you said. When you film with Screencast-O-Matic you can show your slides and show your face so that students benefit from both. For these reasons, this is a tool that I will continue to use for years, even after the pandemic.

To try to get you thinking of what you could record, in this post I want to address the idea of recording personable brief pieces about yourself which are opportunities for students to get to know you better. And, I want to show you how to use these pieces as that “teacher talk” that you do in your classrooms to introduce the material that students can expect to learn in the unit and that you are modeling for them to use the material themselves at the end of the unit. To this end I have three examples for you.

Each of these three examples are just that, examples. Obviously, you can not use my videos because they are for my students to get to know me. By the way, it is really hard for me to share these with you because they are personal and not perfect, which is exactly the point. We film ourselves not to seem perfect but to be who we are. The lighting isn’t perfect, we stumble on our words, I am not a native speaker and yet I share these with others and I didn’t even do my hair and makeup for the session. You get the idea. I am a flawed human and I model that for my students every day and hopefully it makes me more personable and allows them to take more risks.

Here is the first video. Maybe you want to try one like this. I will show this to my beginning students the first day of class. It is a video of me introducing myself speaking all in French.* I ask the students to listen to it to see what they can understand and not to worry if they don’t get everything. Then, afterwards, I ask them to share with the class the strategies they used to try to understand. This sets us up for the year to try to learn how to take a breath and understand new language.

In this second video I am doing something that I am sure you have done before. To teach school supplies, I show the students my bag, take out the supplies that I have and comment on them. I do this at the beginning of the unit as an introduction and then the students see authentic videos where school supplies appear. My video is the easiest and most accessible of the ones they will see. I go slow and repeat, but I use full sentences and natural rhythms of language so that they hear real language. Afterwards, I post the video to Google Classroom with some true false questions about quantity and color of the school supplies for students to answer. For example, I don’t say “True or false, this is a pencil.” but instead ask, “True or false, Madame has three pencils that are yellow.”

While those two videos were for Novice speakers, my third video is for continuing language students. In this video I am sharing the activities I do during the pandemic before I ask students to share with me what is possible for them to do when social distancing. I will show the students the video and then ask them true false questions to see what they remember.

Thank you for reading my blog posts. I have really enjoyed the appreciation and the comments I receive. Would you please consider leaving a comment to say what topics you film or are going to film?

If you want to see more ideas for Teacher Talk videos, see my YouTube playlist called Teacher Talk.

*Please note: the presentation about me is an excellent idea from Creative Language Class.

4 responses to “Screencast Video Tools in the World Language Remote Classroom”

  1. Thank you for sharing these ideas and your recommendation of Screencastomatic. I am just about to start experimenting with videos. I do a lot of singing in class – learning songs, children’s songs and pop songs. Like you I want to make videos from home without a mask on practicing the songs. I also was planning to make a video with my first day presentation about myself so I will enjoy watching yours. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Thanks for your comment. I think that students would really enjoy listening to a song multiple times. My sons’ classroom teachers read to them a lot last Spring and my kids so enjoyed hearing their teachers and hearing stories. It was a favorite part of their day.

  2. Your blog is really fantastic! I thank you for sharing some resources for me to think about as I contemplate how to make the move to more authentic resources and culturally-led instruction rather than traditional textbook/vocab lists. How do you find such amazing (and appropriate) resources for novices? I have just begun the process, so that part seems very overwhelming to me. Also, your Google Slides presentations are beautiful; I have no experience in creating anything self-paced for students like that in Slides, so it’s VERY helpful to have an idea of what it can look like in a remote environment. I’m so thankful for these examples to help guide me! May I ask what you do for your beginning 8th graders? Do you loop with them, as I do? Again, MERCI MILLE FOIS!!

    • Hi! There is no secret to finding appropriate resources, unfortunately. Because it involves lots of time and a bit of luck, we should all share with each other what we find. I have always taught 7th and 8th grade, so I do see at least some of the students for two years.

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