Six activities with camcorders

Recently I acquired a new video camcorder. It’s a Flip Mino, a new generation of video recorders. It’s simple to use and cheap (less than $150 USD). Now just last month I was lucky enough to have a class of students where basically all manner of technology was available to me. We had projectors, laptop computers, internet connection, the lot. I decided to experiment a bit with the camcorder in class. Here are six ideas for video projects, including some actual examples that I did.

1 Film a local attraction, and annotate it

You or your students film a local attraction such as a fair, or street theatre or exhibition. Using a video editing programme like Movie Maker (which is on most computers), add music and annotations to the video. We did the following on Youtube itself (if you have an account it’s quite easy to annotate and overlay music – free to set up). It’s the video of the local Medieval Festival. You need to make it full screen to read the annotations. This was a very short example!

2 Make a video message with cards and music

I got this idea from a video I saw in a workshop by Melania Paduraru. The video was of kids showing cards with messages on them (can’t find it again now!) I decided to do something similar with my students. Here’s a video showing how we did it.

And here’s one my students (who are all schoolteachers) made with their own messages. Again, we made this quite short, but you could go longer.

3 Do a Word Association activity.

This was my first foray into little videos. I made this one at the IATEFL Hungary conference. The theme of the conference was Global Skills for Local Needs. I made this little video just by asking people to say words that go with Global or Local. In the final session I asked people to brainstorm as many collocations as they could using the words global or local. I then showed the video. You could easily do something similar with students and other words.

4 Get friends to record a message for your students

The name of the course I was teaching was Mejora tu inglés (Improve your English). Just before the course ended I had to go to the TESOL France conference. I decided to ask speakers and participants there to tell my students how to improve their English. I put these all together and then shared them with the class on my return. You could do something similar, or get friends to each tell a short anecdote, or something about where they live … lots of possibilities. It’s like making your own listening activity.

5 Record students doing a task or a sketch

Of course an obvious thing to record would be students doing a task in English. We did lots of little drama sketches in my class, but I did not film them as my students didn’t fancy having too much of themselves splashed on Youtube and this blog (understandably). But providing you do it just for yourself and the students then I don’t see why not. Again, adding background music or sound effects (you can find thousands of very funny sound effects to add to videos here) make it all the more professional and/or fun.

6 Do a lip synch, or a lip dub

Another thing doing the rounds of the internet now is lip dub. A lip dub is like a lip synch video, but often involves lots of people. You can read a lot more about it here but by far the best example, one I love, is below. This was done by students at a university in Quebec Canada. Unlike the other video projects this is NOT simple, but wouldn’t it be fun to do one?

So there you go. I realise I probably have not been that adventurous with my camcorder yet, but it’s a start! Have any of you filmed things to do with students? How did it go? Would you do any of these activities? Post a comment if you get a moment.

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 10:15 am  Comments (15)  
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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Flips rock. Great example of how removing nearly all functions has resulted in an improved product.

  2. I’m with Ken: fall in love, there’s no better way. – Lindsay, I vont vun uv zeze flip sings! 🙂

  3. Really lovely!
    Definitely will try some ideas! 😀
    Thanks Lindsay for the great post again!

  4. Thanks for the post. I was just thinking of using the camcoders in my classes – just to have fun (and to write about it in my diploma thesis later):-) and this helped me so much.
    Thanks again.

    • No problem! Enjoy. I’m sure many readers can think of better, more elaborate ideas though!

  5. Beautiful ideas!I really liked the video of you and your students holding up signs – it reminded me a little bit of a Bob Dylan music video (which was the first ever to be made I think) called “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, where he holds up signs with the most important words of the song! It is actually good to build a lesson on, I have done it!
    Thank you very much again for the great ideas!

  6. I love, love, LOVE my flip ultra. I’ve already used it to interview Paul Nation and Barbara Sakamoto for the blog. Tomorrow, I’m making a class version of the “One” video (

    (And of course, I can video the kids and send videos straight back to England in seconds….)

    • Thanks Darren, what a FANTASTIC idea for a video project. Let me know how you get on…

  7. I like the word association activity most, possibly because I can see myself in your video from Hungary 🙂
    Now I know why you were fiming us!

    Too bad Flip hasn’t arrived to Turkey yet 😦

    Great post!


  8. I’m sooo thankful to the Macmillan webinar for helping me discover this blog. I should be sleeping now, but all I can think of is how I’ll use some of these ideas next week in my class. I hope they’ll work! Thank you, Lindsay, oops, Hames:)

    • I’m glad you found me! Thanks for the comment, and enjoy the activities!

  9. […] A Flip Mino Camera. Lots of love and nice comments about this little device after I posted six activities with camcorders. It is really a neat gadget too, and cheap as far as camcorders […]

  10. […] 3. Now, something I’ve wanted to do with this but haven’t had the means is a “Future Thoughts” video made by the class: with one of them there fancy Flip Mino  contraptions, perhaps. […]

  11. This is a great post on a great blog. I found you on WordPress searching for “mejora tu ingles” and now I am about to buy a Flip Mino on Ebay!
    I absolutely LOVED the Quebec students video, they made it look so easy and natural but I expect it took a long time to put it all together!
    Enjoy your holidays!

  12. Fantastic website. I will back here soon.

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