Here’s another one of my “The Best…” lists, this one focusing on online video sites for learning English.
This list is not about students creating their own videos. If you’re interested in those sites, you can check-out one of my previous lists — The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Videos (Using Someone Else’s Content).
Here I’m focusing on sites that are specifically designed for providing online videos to assist English Language Learners develop their language skills. In addition to meeting that criteria, in order to make this list a site has had to have the following elements:
* The videos had to provide engaging content, and not just a teacher talking.
* It was free-of-charge.
* It had online follow-up language development activities after watching the video.
* It had to have classroom content appropriate for the classroom.
There really aren’t many sites out there that meet all of that criteria, so this list is short. In fact, I considered narrowing it even further by excluding sites that use a lot of YouTube videos since many school districts, like ours, have content filters that not only block the YouTube site but also block all YouTube videos that are embedded in other sites. But if I had done that this list would have even been smaller. I do, however, place those nearer the bottom of the list.
Here are my picks for The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English:
Number seven is ESL Video. It allows you to easily create a quiz for just about any online video out there. Plus, it has a bunch of videos and quizzes that have already been posted.
I’m ranking Real English ESL Video Lessons at number six. Tons of videos and a variety of follow-up activities can be found here.
(The original number five isn’t working any longer)
Number four is the Study English page of the Australia Network has an extensive collection of videos with follow-up activities, though I do wish there was more of a variety of them.
Lingual Net is number three and has a particularly wide range of videos along with quizzes.
I particularly like the sites I’m ranking as number two and number one because they both allow teachers to create virtual classrooms so student work can be monitored. It works great with our Family Literacy Project.
Number two is English Trailers. It has many trailers from popular movies along with comprehension and cloze activities. We just added that site as one our students can use at home and they love it. (English Trailers has sometimes been off-line recently).
And now, my pick for the number one Best Online Video Site For Learning English is…. English For All (EFA). Its videos cover many life skills and have numerous online activities.
English Star is a site that offers free, classroom appropriate, videos with online follow-up activities — all designed to help people learn English. It’s the newest addition to this list. When you go to the site, be sure to click “English” on the upper-left-hand corner or the instructions and registration process will be in another language (Japanese?).
I’d love to include the new online video site called Yolango high on this list, but I can’t even put it on my website because it has a very small number of videos that are not appropriate for classroom use. They are considering creating a second site with content solely suitable for schools, but until they do so I can’t recommend it.
Since I created this list, English Central has come online. This is now not only the best video site for learning English, but is perhaps the best site — period.
Many English Language Learner teachers and students are familiar with Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab. It’s provided high-quality listening exercises on the web for a longtime. It’s now gotten even better with the addition of videos. Video Snapshots for ESL/EFL Students show short video clips along with comprehension quizzes for students to take.
I’m adding The Learning English Video Project to this list.
Grockit Answers lets you pick any video from YouTube and create a series of questions about it. The great feature is that you can set the time on the video for each question to alert the viewer when the answer will appear. It’s an excellent scaffold for Beginning English Language Learners (though I’d say it’s probably too much of one for many other students). ESL Video is still clearly the overall best video quiz creation site for ELL’s. Grockit Answers, though, is also easy to use, and it’s timing annotation could be very helpful to Beginners. Thanks to TechCrunch for the tip. You can read more about it there, and see a sample video here.
Nik Peachey sent out a tweet about a site called Voscreen. After signing-up and choosing your native language from a list of nine, you’re shown a series of very short video TV/movie video clips where a phrase is said. Then, you have a choice of either clicking “I understand” or “Show Me The Script.” If you clip “Show Me The Script,” you’re shown two versions in your native language, and you have to choose which one is correct. Click on one and it shows if it’s the right one or not and then you can move to the next clip (it’s unclear what happens if you click on “I understand” because it doesn’t appear to be working.
It has other bells and whistles, but I couldn’t figure out what they were, and there is no FAQ.
It didn’t appear that the video clips were from YouTube, which would be nice because that means they might get by the student content filter at our school.
EngVid has hundreds of video lessons for learning English.
Feel free to offer feedback in the comments section. You can also find links to other sites that didn’t make this list on my website under Video.
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