Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content)

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Students creating online videos can be an excellent language-learning experience. Certainly, students can film their own videos, edit them, and then post their finished product online. For me, though, that’s just seemed too time-consuming and technically-complicated (however, I have convinced my school to purchase three Flip video recorders next year, so I might change my mind). Of course, even though I’ve been updating this list, I wrote this before Flip was closed down.

There are many online applications that allow you to create your own videos using content that’s already on the Web. For English Language Learners, these can be great opportunities for developing listening, reading and writing skills. All of these sites are very easy to use, and finished products can be developed in one class session.

I’ve decided to make a “The Best…” list highlighting these video-creation sites.

Links to these same sites can also be found on my Examples Of Student Work page.

In order to make it on this list, these online tools had to be free, accessible to English Language Learners, easy to use, use video content from sites other than YouTube (since that’s blocked by so many School Districts), and not have content available that would be inappropriate for classroom use (at least, not that I could see). This criteria really eliminated a lot of potential sites.

I haven’t necessarily listed them in order of preference, though I have saved my second-choice and my absolute favorite for the end (and believe me, they’re winners!).

Here are my picks for The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content):

Harvest Of History helps you explore what agricultural life was in New York over 150 years ago, save video scenes from the site, and then create an online presentation comparing life with how it is today.

Make a shark video from the Discovery Channel. Use sound, music and graphics to relive the movie “Jaws.”

Graspr is different from the other sites on this list. It’s an instructional video site. You can skip around the videos to get to the scene you want and actually write notes which can be saved and shared. It’s an intriguing site, though I’ve been having some difficulty signing-in lately and don’t know if this is indicative of larger technical issues.

You can make your own United States history movie at Digital Vaults from the National Archives. It’s super-easy, and is clearly my second-favorite site on this list.

And now, for, unquestionably the very Best Way For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content)… it’s Bombay TV. You can write subtitles, or actually dub with your own voice, over-the-top Bollywood movies. It’s a ton of fun, and a great language development exercise for English Language Learners. Russell Stannard, who has a site that is the gold standard for how-to Web 2.0 videos called Teacher Training Videos, has a couple that give clear instructions on how to maximize using Bombay TV.

They’ve also created sister sites where you can do the same with clips from old TV programs and from soccer games. They’re called Bombay TV 2, Futebol TV and Classik TV.

I’m adding one more video mashup tool that uses a very easy editing system, and none require registration.

It uses the video editing system developed by Gorilla Spot, which I posted about last year

You can create some scenes from the TV program “Everything’s Sunny In Philadelphia,” which I’ve never watched, but which I’ve heard has gotten good reviews.

Animoto and their newer site, Animoto Education Program both let you easily create videos with music.  At first, Animoto didn’t have the ability to include text in the video, which limited its use as a language-development activity for English Language Learners.  They added that capability in late 2008, so I’ve added them to this list.

Flixtime and Stupeflix are two newer tools that are similar to Animoto.

Masher is a super-easy free web application that lets you mix-and-match clips, music, photos and more to create online videos. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s excellent blog.

Make a video about dolphins at Winter’s Tail.

I know I’m very “late to the party” on this one, but I didn’t really pay attention to Google Search Stories last year when it came out. Now, however, with YouTube being partially unblocked by our district, I figured it was worth another look. Boy, is it easy to make with with its Search Stories Video Creator! Here’s one I made in a few minutes. It’s titled “Reading.”

I certainly wouldn’t place any bets on YouTube getting through most school district content filters anytime soon, if ever. But they’ve just announced a great new ability to make videos and animations on the YouTube site itself using GoAnimate or Stupeflix and then posting it there. The YouTube feature is called YouTube/create. I can see myself using it sometimes to illustrate a concept for a lesson, or pointing out the idiocy of the latest school reform fad. I suspect that it’s a super-cool tool that, outside of the two ideas I mentioned and potential use in adult ESL classes, won’t have much K-12 impact. But, because it’s so cool, I’m still adding it here.

Slide.ly is a brand new site that is still closed to the public (but you can find an invite if, as I did, you just search for “Slide.ly + invites” on the Web and you’ll find a number of tech blogs that have free invites), but it looks very good — and very similar to Animoto. You can search for photos online or use your own, and easily combine them with music to create musical video-like slideshows. Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip, where you can also read more about Slide.ly.

Let me know if you have any feedback or other recommendations.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. Hi, Larry. Thanks for checking out Graspr! We agree that creating quality videos is too hard today. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of video editing and instructional design so that anyone can create videos to showcase what he/she knows. Along these lines, we’ll be launching our online video editor next month. Sorry to hear about your difficulties in signing in to Graspr. Please contact me at [email protected], and we’ll get you squared away.

    Best Regards,
    Teresa Phillips (Graspr Founder & CEO)

  2. Larry,

    Trying to download and edit video from ABC, NBC, etc. What are the best video download sites to capture this stuff? I’ve found stuff (Keepvid) for YouTube, but it doesn’t work for ABC, NBC, etc.

    Also, what are the best video editing sites? I’ve used One True Media, and like it. Tried Jaycut, but had trouble uploading some video. I’ll give them a pass, as it’s in Beta form. Are there other reliable video editing sites besides One True Media?

    Thanks

  3. try these two at sarolta.tv
    Simple mode: http://www.sarolta.tv/web/video-editors/video-editor-simple-mode

    Advanced Mode: http://www.sarolta.tv/web/video-editors/video-template

    They are far more powerful than any other on the market. Sarolta.tv was formerly mixandmash.tv

    The site is frequented by a number of students and is part of the curriculum in at least three programs, two of which is in the US.

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