ESL Tube – It’s Like Youtube with a Purpose
Using video in the classroom can greatly enrich students’ learning experience and having access to online video services such as YouTube or Vimeo can be an invaluable teaching resource. However, the incredibly vast amount of the available online video material can be overwhelming. After all, not all YouTube videos are useful, or suitable for ESL instruction, and finding just the right clip can take up a lot of valuable time we teachers simply do not have. It is for these precise reasons that I have recently developed a new website for ESL teachers and learners called ESL Tube.
In a nutshell, ESL Tube is a free, user-driven categorized collection of videos teachers can use either as an in-class resource, or as a tool for assigning homework. Videos are placed in categories such as Listening, Grammar, Test Preparation, For Teachers, or Humour, and are tagged with content-specific keywords making them easy to find.
In addition to viewing the videos, ESL Tube allows individual users to contribute to the existing database of materials by submitting links to their own video clips, or to any other videos found online. This can be accomplished by filling out a simple submission form.
Another convenient ESL Tube feature allows users to discuss each video by posting comments. This feature is particularly useful when assigning videos as homework. Being able to share own opinions in this informal manner empowers learners to communicate with a much wider audience than just their teachers and peers. As a result of assigning weekly video journals to my lower level students, for instance, I was able to witness many of them become more confident about their learning. In many cases, my initially shy and reserved students started to quickly express interest in showing off their written comments on a big screen in class and in reading comments of their classmates. This simple activity has unintentionally turned the class into a little community of writers.
One more notable ESL Tube feature is the ability to “like” individual videos. This does not only make voting for popular videos possible, but more importantly, it also allows the user to compile an individual list of favourite videos which can then be easily accessed on the “My Likes” page for future viewing. This feature is particularly useful for teachers who may want to make a collection of videos they show in class often.
To sum up, if you already use short video clips in your classes or would like to start but at the same time find YouTube to be too vast and too distractive to navigate with ease, ESL Tube is sure to assist you by providing you with suitable classroom video material right out of the box. Moreover, the website offers an excellent virtual stage upon which you can showcase videos of your own authorship, or share any other helpful video resources available online. Finally, by directing your students to ESL Tube, you will be able to engage them as learners and communicators more fully.