SIMPLE ENGLISH VIDEOS DOT COM

 

Video is such a motivating medium for English learners, but its benefits for autonomous learning have been limited. What are you going to do if you can’t understand a word or phrase? It can be cumbersome to play a line in a video over. And how can you find out what things mean if you don’t know where one word stops and another starts?

But that was yesterday. Today we can have:

  • clickable transcripts
  • online learners dictionaries
  • translation tools

My students’ eyes light up when they see videos that have clickable transcripts. They give them instant and precise control over how the video plays. And there’s no more frustration if they don’t understand because they can check words and phrases in a dictionary, and even translate a whole script if they need too.

And that’s what my new website is all about.

We’re starting off with 24 videos and there will be new ones every week.  Oh, and did I say it was free? Yep, totally free.

I’ve set up a different Twitter account that’ll announce new content as it goes up. So follow me on Simple English videos to catch the latest movies.

 Posted by at 9:41 am

  7 Responses to “SIMPLE ENGLISH VIDEOS DOT COM”

  1. […] begun by veteran ESL/EFL teacher Vicki Hollett. You can read her description of the free site here. The engaging videos, most which appear to be movie trailers, have “clickable” […]

  2. I agree – it’s terrific to have access to the transcript whilst watching and listening. (I was very disappointed the other day to try out the auto transcription service for a TED talks video that I was considering using with my ESL3 adult learners. It’s got loads of errors and there’s no way of editing them.)
    However, movie trailers? I’m not too sure about the richly embellished promotional hyperbole featured in the ‘Language of movie trailers’. (And what about the perception – justified or not, that we as teachers of ESL are promoting particular movies?)
    I’d like to know more about how you’ve achieved this, technically – could it be applied to other videos, for example, the TED Talks?

  3. Hi Jill and thank you so much for responding. So many interesting points here – where to start…

    Yep, translation software has come a long way but as I understand it, it still has a ways to go. There may be good stuff out there (please tell me someone if you’ve found it). We couldn’t find it so we gave up and we’re still transcribing all the scripts ourselves by hand. (I’m serious – if you’ve found transcription software that works, please tell us!)

    Re the movie trailers hyperbole – I hear you loud and clear. I adore (REALLY adore) TED videos but everyone is speaking in ‘presentations’ genre. They’re fantastic, but that genre is a limitation. Many of my students want something more conversational. And it’s not that the movie genre is perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot more conversational. I think it’s a bit like fire or frying pan decision – neither are great and what’s best is going to depend on our students and their needs.

    Re promoting the movies, we’ve got permission to publish the videos from the content owners (ie big Hollywood studios) because our goals are congruent here – they want to get people watching their videos and so do we – we want to maximize our students’ exposure to English and want to motivate them to watch English movies more and get talking about them. Speaking as a language educator, no doubt there are other ways my goals won’t be congruent with big movie studios. But I want to keep trying for win win situation here – something good for all parties where I can see one.

    Technically how did we get it working? Gosh, where to start. Truth is, I’d never have embarked on the project of ‘clickable transcripts if I’d known how complicated it would be. It has devoured days – no weeks – of our lives. Luckily I’m married to a geeky sort of guy who kept going when I was pulling my hair out. (Goodness knows how he put up with me.) We used some pretty stunning open source software that you can find more info here. http://lab.pipwerks.com/video/easycaptions/TED/flash-fallback.html It’s html5, dropping through ogg (ogv) then mpeg4 then on to flash if all else fails – though I think that bit you’ll have to insert in the code yourself. It involves creating three different versions of the video files. Drop us a line privately if you have questions because this could soon get very technical very fast. Could it applied to other videos – absolutely! That’s actually why I was so keen to get it working.

  4. […] begun by veteran ESL/EFL teacher Vicki Hollett. You can read her description of the free site here. The engaging videos, most which appear to be movie trailers, have “clickable” […]

  5. Just want to add that in addition to a steady stream of movie trailers, we’ve started adding ‘One Minute Video English Lessons’ to the site – videos we’re making ourselves. We’re currently focusing on words students often confuse, but if you have ideas for other video lessons we could make, please tell us!

  6. […] was begun by veteran ESL/EFL teacher Vicki Hollett. You can read her description of the free site here. The engaging videos have “clickable” transcripts.  Here’s a fun Christmas rap video […]

  7. […] was begun by veteran ESL/EFL teacher Vicki Hollett. You can read her description of the free site here. The engaging videos have “clickable” transcripts. Here’s a fun Christmas rap video they […]

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