Above, Sena and below, Ömer describe their favourite music videos. The students are from Yeditepe University, Istanbul and created these videos as part of a project which was organised by their teacher, Betül Özer.
In this post, I speak with Betül about her experiences.
- Teacher’s name: Betül Özer
- Works at: Yeditepe University, Istanbul
- Video task: Students made a talking head video in which they described a music video without referring to the musician, band or song.
- Filming location: Outside the classroom – at home for most students
- Technology: Students’ own devices – mostly mobile phones
- Age of students: 18-26
- Number of students in group: 48
- Number of students who completed the video task: 48 (100%)
- Method of video sharing: Students uploaded videos onto their own YouTube channels and then posted the link on Edmodo.
Jamie: Hello Betül. First of all, congratulations on a great job. I have enjoyed watching your students’ videos. I get the impression that they took this task quite seriously. Have they done anything like this before?
Betül: In fact, this was the first time that any of us had tried an activity like this. All of the students are studying fine arts at Yeditepe university. Their videos were made as part of an audiovisual skills course which I teach on. The course is taught entirely in English. The task that I usually set each semester is for them to give a live presentation in class on a specific topic (a piece of art, a film, a museum, etc.) However, when I was introduced to the possibilities for video-recording devices, I started to consider that there might be an alternative way to meet the demands of the task but at the same time, motivate students a bit more.
Jamie: And I see that all 48 students submitted a video. That is pretty impressive. How did they respond to the task overall?
Betül: Well, since I work with an amazing group of youngsters who live by their cell phones, the project turned out to be very motivating for them. I would say that there were three reasons for this. First of all, for many students, it seems to have been less stressful to create a video in their own time than to give a live presentation in front of the whole class. Secondly, I think that some students surprised themselves at how well they managed to communicate in this medium. And thirdly, students seemed very motivated to watch each other’s videos and provide feedback.
Jamie: So let’s go back to the video sharing. I see that students uploaded their videos onto their own YouTube accounts. Can I ask why you chose to do it this way rather than asking students to hand in their video files on memory sticks, for example? Did you experience any problems at this stage?
Betül: I have tried memory sticks before and, we had a lot of problems with them (the computer doesn’t recognise them, viruses, etc.) Also, sometimes students’ memory sticks contain so many video files and for the teacher, it isn’t obvious which one they are handing in. Memory sticks tend to waste a lot of time. On the other hand, when students share their videos online, things go more smoothly in my experience. It also means that we can keep them altogether on an online space such as Padlet, for example. This means that students can easily access their own and each other’s videos as and when they want to. It also means that I will be able to access them easily in the future if I want to set the task again and show students some example videos.
Jamie: Were there any problems with this? A lot of people feel nervous about sharing images and videos online? How did you deal with this?
Betül: Well, since all of my students were over 18, it wasn’t necessary to obtain written permission to use video cameras. However, there were a few students who didn’t really like the idea of sharing their videos online. I showed them that YouTube has an ‘unlisted’ privacy option which means that only people that you share the link with can watch the video. Most of them them didn’t know about that. In the end, everyone shared their videos online, although I didn’t force them. I would have allowed them to hand in their videos on memory sticks if they had really wanted to.
Jamie: Once everyone had shared their videos, you encouraged peer feedback. That sounds like an interesting part of the task. How did you set this up? What sort of feedback did students give on each other’s video?
Betül: Yes, it worked well. In class, we watched each video on the big screen. This took place over a few days. So we watched 3 or 4 videos each day. In each case, students tried to identify the bands or musicians whose videos were being described. That generated a bit of discussion. In addition, everyone had to give feedback on all videos. Students did this by completing a rubric after each viewing. They had to give a mark for language, delivery, content and technical aspects of the video.
Jamie: I know that you are no longer with that group of students. But do you think that you will repeat the activity with another group? If so, what will you do differently?
Betül: Yes, I am planning to use it next semester with a new group. There are a few things that I will change. For example, I will spend more time showing examples of videos of that have been made by other students or experienced videobloggers. I would like to spend more time drawing attention to good as well as bad practice. I would also make it clear that students should add titles and descriptions to their videos when they upload them onto their video sharing sites. The majority of them didn’t seem to think that this was important! I would also make a few changes to the rubric. For example, I want to draw more attention to language register. Sena (the girl in the first video) makes use of connectors such as moreover and thereafter which are associated with written, but not spoken English. A good rubric would draw attention to this sort of thing. Finally, I would set a time limit for each video – perhaps one minute. Surprisingly, students tend to speak too much but could probably say what they want to say using fewer words!
Jamie: Thank you Betül for taking the time to do this. It’s great to hear about your experience!