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TeachVid

TeachVid is the latest online project from Martin Lapworth, who brought you Taskmagic and Textivate. The general principle here is the same: self-authored or uploaded language material, in this case video, which can the form the basis for a range of text reconstruction and quiz-style interactive tasks. Teachers will find some things in common between TeachVid and Ilini, which appeared a year or two ago. TeachVid, however, offers more interactivity and some original features which are of particular interest to teaches and learners.

So, in essence, you upload a video from an online source and the programme creates  range of interactive tasks for you. There are some ready-made "featured videos" for you to use too. Videos can be in any language you choose.

Most resources are based on a video transcript. To create a resource you type or paste in the transcript or use the YouTube caption search to look for automatically generated captions. (Careful! These can be inaccurate, so commonly you would create your own transcript which takes a little while.)  Each transcript-based resource contains a range of activities where the focus is on filling gaps, inserting in letters, re-ordering chunks of text, etc. Transcript-based activities are done caption by caption. The captions are often available in translation so students can follow a video with the aid of parallel texts. As you watch and listen to a video chunks of language are highlighted, so students get to listen and read at the same time.

As well as transcript-based activities, TeachVid also lets you to create interactive multi-choice quizzes based on any YouTube video. Resources can be transcript-based, quiz-based or a combination of both. In addition each resource also gives access to printable pdf transcripts, translations (where provided) and a range of worksheets, many of which resemble the interactive activities.

In addition you can assign activities and assessments for students to complete by creating classrooms. This allows you to view and download data regarding activities completed, scores, time taken and so on.  Assignments can be set which consist of resource previews, practice activities and assessments. A pass mark can be set for all assignment activities, and teachers can choose from several view modes for each activity. The TeachVid blog provides plenty of information and pedagogical advice for teachers.

I've no doubt this resource, as with Martin's others, will be of great use. Bear in mind that a constant challenge when sourcing video material for classes is finding clips which are comprehensible enough for novice and low intermediate learners. Ilini faces the same challenge. I know from my own experience designing video listening worksheets for frenchteacher that sourcing easy enough video is hard. Not surprising, therefore, that TeachVid's featured resources are aimed at intermediate and advanced learners for the large part.

How much does it cost? Most schools would go for the whole school option with access for teachers and students at a shade under 120 euros a year. It's the fact that it's a "self-authoring" tool which makes it much cheaper than, say, the excellent ThisisLanguage.

It's definitely worth exploring if you want to add some more interest and flavour to your stock of listening material. Pedagogically speaking, TeachVid has a lot going for it in that students can really work intensively on spoken texts rather than doing superficial, semi-understood comprehension tasks.

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