Nov 282014

Our Simple English Videos website is the joint winner of the 2014 David Riley award for Innovation in Business English and ESP. YAY! We’re thrilled to bits!

SEVIf you haven’t visited our site recently, go check it out because it’s had a make over and we’ve been adding LOTS of new videos. Of course we have our YouTube channel as well, but at Simple English Videos there’s extra support like a clickable transcript and a dictionary tool. And go here to see one of the coolest uses of the videos that I’ve heard of.




We were very proud to share the stage with the other winner of the award – Newsmart – a terrific resource for students.
The idea behind Newsmart came from the insight that News Corp had unique access to the best business content in the world through the Wall Street Journal, as well as the best ELT content through Collins Learning. Using authentic texts and video from the Wall Street Journal, users can work through comprehension, grammar and vocabulary tasks to score points and earn placement on a leaderboard. Go check it out, if you haven’t already!

 Posted by at 6:08 am
Nov 052014

Do you have any intermediate or advanced level students who would like to know more about British and American English? If so, I have just the class for them!

On November 19, 2014 (or 19th November, if you’d prefer) I’m teaming up with Jennifer Lebedev to run a live webinar on WizIQ. I’m British and she’s American – so together we’ve got the two varieties covered.


It costs $10 and includes pre and post class discussions and quizzes, along with access to the recording of the live webinar (in case you can’t make it on the day).


 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Jun 172014

Next month, the International Teacher Development Institute is offering its first ever online course in teaching Business English. And I’m honoured and excited to be designing it and teaching on it.  YAY!

Very briefly, here’s how it works:

It’s a very affordable four week course and it’s all online, so teachers from all over the world have the opportunity to join. We’ll be meeting for a live session once a week in iTDi’s virtual classroom, and holding discussions throughout the course in the iTDi forums.  We’ll be also be sharing lots of practical activities to build a bank of  ideas and materials that we can use in our classrooms – both physical classrooms and virtual ones.

Participants can gain either one or two  certificates in teaching business English: a certificate of completion and a certificate of achievement.

I’m excited about it so I’m bound to be blogging about it again as we gear up for the starting date in two weeks. Follow this link to join me!


 Posted by at 3:07 am
Jun 052014

Want to make videos that your students can watch for homework? Join me for an hour-long  online video-making class and get ideas on how to do it.

I’m going to be running a class for teachers in two MOOCs (free classes – wehey!) and I’ll be passing on tips gained from working with professionals on big budget video productions for Oxford University Press and small scale ESL videos that we’ve been making for our YouTube channel and Simple English Videos website.

We’ll be addressing some of the technical challenges teachers face as they move away from simple whiteboard shots and shoot in other locations. So if you’d like tips on script writing, cameras and camera work, lighting, audio, video editing and building an audience, come along and join us.

Click the images below to subscribe to the MOOCs. And why not join them both because there are lots of excellent teachers giving some cool sessions you’ll want to check out.

Teachers Teaching Online


Moodle MOOC 4: Make Your Circumstances | WizIQ Live Online Classroom |

Moodle MOOC 4




 Posted by at 4:05 am
May 252014

Here’s a special time-limited TOSCON14 offer from the International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi)

For every teacher signing up for an iTDi advanced course before Tuesday May 27th, #iTDi will give access to 2 teachers who cannot otherwise access the course for free. What a cool way to pay it forward! You can get iTDi certified and help not just one, but two other teachers at the same time.

You can pick from Scott Thornbury & Penny Ur on fluency and accuracy (wow), Marcos Benevides on reading (swoon), and feeling very honoured to be joining the line up, me (Vicki) and my course on teaching business English.

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Mar 132014

Journey2MarsAtama-ii-Books have just published their first multiple path story books, where kids get to choose their own adventures. These adorable illustrated books are suitable for English beginners who love a good story. (Is there anyone who doesn’t love a good story?)

And you can win one free! This weekend Simple English Videos is giving away 10 Kindle versions of ‘Journey to Mars’. Readers get to be astronauts on the first space mission to the red planet.

How to win a copy

Just visit our Facebook page and leave a comment here. You can just say ‘hi’, or if you have time, tell us what you’d like the next video we make to be about. (Some tricky vocabulary perhaps, or how to greet people in English? Or maybe you’d like to see a video where we go on an adventure to Mars?)

We’ll select ten winners at random from people who comment on our ‘Win a free Journey to Mars’ Facebook post. Winners will need either a Kindle or an Amazon account and a (free) Amazon app and then – wow! – they can ‘Journey to Mars’ on their computer or mobile device.

Bravo Marcos Benevides and the Atama-ii-Books team for the terrific new book series. And to see what kids think of them – watch this video…. I adore the little boy!

Many congratulatons to the 17 winners! (Yes, we couldn’t limit ourselves to just 10 when so many adventurous folks wanted to hop on that space ship!) Hope you all have a great trip!

 Posted by at 2:33 pm
Nov 022013

The blogosphere is EXPLODING with cool ideas for using videos to teach English and here you’ll find links to some of the very best – .

If I have spelt anyone’s name wrongly or given a wrong link, or even worse, failed to include an entry – Argh!!! – please let me know so I can put it right!


‘Why use video?’ you may ask. What are the pros and cons? Here’s a great post from English Central debating the issue.

You’re going to want to INSPIRE, INFORM and INTEGRATE videos in your lessons after you’ve read this  post by John Hughes (Golly John knows A LOT about videos.)

And don’t forget, videos can expose our students to frequent collocations, especially with Jason R Levine’s cool raps.

And if you’re looking for more research, check out all the helpful info in this slide show from Paul Maglione of English Attack

What activities can you use videos for?

Oh so much! Martin Sketchley kicks us off with his top ten classroom activities revolving around the use of videos here.

David Bradshaw answers the question and provides some handy activities too.

And here are 5 more cracking ideas from Alex Barboza.

Not enough? We have more practical tips from Icalteflt too!

And it doesn’t stop there! Here are 50 really practical classroom ideas for using video in the class from fellow video enthusiast, David Deubelbeiss.

What videos?

Selecting the right videos is important of course, and Stephen Greene shares tips on that and also explores some of the extra things we can do with video that we can’t do with audio.

And what are the Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL students? Larry Ferlazzo crowd sources the answer for us.

So who’s got a great lesson to share?

Got any sports fans in your classes? They’re going to love this lesson using a Nike Advert from Duncan

1. Read the book – 2. Watch the movie – 3. Spot the differences – Here’s how David Mearns did it.  Great idea David!

Steve Muir dishes up a mouth watering video lesson on cooking vocabulary – something advanced students can really sink their teeth into!

Maureen O’Keefe adds bells to her sit com lesson – ting-a-ling!

Monika ‘Mona’ Kisala explains how she uses shorts and real movies with her students – and shares an ‘evil’ not-at-all-homework activity too.

For an oh-so-well-constructed story telling lesson, check out this post from Rosa Perez Parapar on how she gets her students talking.

And while we’re on the subject of story telling, here’s Jamie Keddie on the ‘video telling’ technique He also demos how to do it. Inspiring!

Got some participial phrases to teach? Carissa Peck has just the video lesson you need.

I sometimes teach technical English and I’d already come across and bookmarked a video about a tinkerer. So I was delighted to discover Mura Nava has written a terrific lesson to go with it. Thanks Mura!

Wayne Yare shares a lesson with a song that culminates in a personalized singing task. Listening to his students laughing in the audio files is sure to put a smile on your face.

And there’s more! Who hasn’t benefitted from Alex Case’s spectacular Tefltastic work sheets? Alex shares a list of video lessons in one post here, all neatly mapped out to the tenses and language points they practice.

Learning with videos

And how about using videos to help you learn a language – Ian Schellenberg demos his bad-ass skills here as a Portuguese beginner. Bravo Ian!

How can videos help you bring up multilingual kids? (Yes, not just bilingual. We’re talking multilingual!) Read the experiences of mother and teacher Eugenia Loras here – fascinating!

Break time! This is a looooooooong carnival, so let’s pause for a little video break. Here’s Rachel of Rachel’s English to tell us why English pronunciation can be so hard.

Flipping out

With video we can take students out of the classroom into the REAL ENGLISH world, and nobody is better at collecting and organizing spontaneous speech than Mike Marzio. He tells us about it here.

And what about using videos OUTSIDE class? Joshua Durey explains how he flipped his classroom to great effect.

The flipped classroom was much on my mind when I set up Simple English Videos Dot Com and I explain why in this guest post at teaching village:

And that brings us to making videos…

Are you thinking of making videos yourself and posting them to YouTube? Then you don’t want to miss this really helpful and instructive post by Sylvia Guinan

Karenne Sylvester has some great ideas for making personalized video feedback videos for our students – Lovely to have you back in the blogosphere Karenne – we’ve missed you!

And of course you don’t have to do it on your own. Making videos can be a wonderfully collaborative activity as Turgay Evren explains here.

Some very cool avatars have been making ELT videos recently in second life. In fact there an EU project team developing machinima for language learners. Heike Philp tells us about it here.

But how can I use avatars to teach English you may be wondering? Don’t worry – Carole Rainbow has lots of answers here.

Students making videos

One of the most exciting uses for video is students’ projects where the students make the videos themselves.

Check out Let’s Go Viral! Creating a Viral Video  – a project based lesson by Shelly Terrell @shellterrell where students have to plan and then pitch their idea for a video. It’s for teens to adults but I can see it going down well with business English students too.

Cheridy Aduviri explains here how she gave her students a voice with ipads. She has some very sensible advice for others thinking of doing this – inspirational.

So let’s round off now with a great student project from Cristina Silva’s 12th graders. They have videos to share that they made about their home town.

A BIG BIG thank you to all the contributors for this ELT Blog Carnival. We knew there would be a lot of good ideas around on video but had no idea how many or how terrific they would be. The generosity of teachers never ceses to amaze me. Thank you for sharing!

The next ELT blog Carnival will be hosted byEva Buyuksimkesyan and it will be a timely one – all about Holiday Lessons.




 Posted by at 11:50 am
Oct 282013

I’m going to be on the road next month – London, Leipzig, Prague and Cologne. If any readers of this blog see me on my travels, please come and say ‘hi!’

One of the places I’ll be going is the annual BESIG conference and my talk will be streamed live on Saturday 9th November. There will be lots of talks streamed during the day – all free and there’s a great speaker line up. More details here: And here’s a video about my talk.

 Posted by at 11:28 am
Oct 022013

Attention all ELT bloggers!

Please send me a link to your very best post on teaching and learning English with videos. On November 1st I’ll be posting the 36th edition of the ELT blog Carnival right here (

clicker-mdAnd the subject is dear to my heart.(Drum roll……) Teaching and learning with videos!

So here’s the plan. You send me your links before the deadline of midnight on October 31st.  On November 2nd, I publish them here and we all get to find out about cool ways to use videos with in our classes and cool ways our learners can study with videos themselves outside class too.

Old and new posts accepted. So if you have a gem of an idea for video lesson that you’ve written about in the past, just send me the link. Or maybe there was that class you taught with video that you haven’t got around to writing up yet. Now’s the time! Write a blog post and then send me the link. And if you don’t have a blog but you have a lesson idea to share, then just drop me a line. I’ll be delighted to publish your post for you here on this blog.

  • Maybe you’ve found a great video on youtube?
  • Maybe you’ve got your learners making videos in class?
  • Maybe you’ve been making videos yourself?

We want to know about it!

So many more teachers have access to video now so video is HOT HOT HOT! Lets help spread the word and share some of the great stuff that’s out there.

You can check out all prior Blog Carnival entries on the ELT Blog Carnival Website. And make sure to join the ELT Carnival on Facebook, so you get notified every time a new carnival is published. (The last one was on great lesson ideas and it’s a gem!) So please send me an email with a link to your best video lesson post  now!

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 Posted by at 6:45 am
Aug 112013

I loved watching this event with Jeremy and Scott at the New School. I wasn’t there, and I’m so glad they recorded it. I’ve heard other talks looking at the history of CLT and come away surprised thinking, oh, is that how it happened for you because my experience and memories are very different. But this one was right on the nail for me. And lots of great food for thought…

 Posted by at 5:08 am