What are the basic technical skills that we need, as teachers, if we want to use online video in the classroom?

What are the basic technical skills that we need, as teachers, if we want to use online video in the classroom? We already considered hardware issues in a previous posting. Here I am thinking of the skills that allow us to manipulate video as material - skills that can be referred to as 'digital scissors and sellotape'. Here are a few that I have identified:

  • Knowing how to find video content (for example, making use of the search facilities on YouTube)
  • Knowing how to upload a video onto a video-sharing site
  • Knowing how to download video (i.e. capture a clip from YouTube so that it can be stored on a pen drive or laptop and played in class without Internet connection)
  • Knowing how to use video-editing software (e.g. Windows Movie Maker)
  • Knowing how to make screen captures so that we can turn video clips into story boards

 To some of us, these are the everyday skills that allow us to copy, paste, cut, edit, share, etc. To others, they are the skills that we wish we had. In some cases they may seem out of our reach and beyond our capabilities but that shouldn't be the case.The title of this blog posting could have been: 'Everything you wanted to know about video competencies but were too afraid to ask'. Please feel free to ask questions and share tips in the comments below.


Hi JamieIt would be really useful to know more about how you can quickly edit a video file. You mention Windows Movie Maker, but are the any other options? And can you point me in the direction of some easy to follow guidelines?Thank youChris

Hello ChrisI always went with the default editors (Windows Movie Maker for PC, iMovie for Mac) but I know that there are others such as the free VideoSpin for PC:http://www.videospin.com/Redesign/How about staying with Windows Movie Maker for the moment and we'll see if we get you started. What would you like to be able to do? For example:

  • Remove pieces of a video clip (beginning, end, chunks from the middle) to make it shorter
  • Stick two or more clips together
  • Add text (subtitles, etc)

Let me know and we'll take it from thereJamie 

Thank you, Jamie. I'm thinking about this - when I film a group myself, how can I then chop up the film. I guess this means the first thing you mention, taking out bits of film. The rest is not really important, I'd just like to be able to change 15-20 mins of recorded film into 5-10 mins of something worth watching.Any tips would be really great, thank you.

Thank you Jammie for raising up this question, as an expert you could recommend some videos for teaching and also how to make screen captures into a story.Thank you again for teflclips.All the bestTatyana Kuznetsova

Hello ChrisSo here is the basic procedure. Open up Windows Movie Maker. Don't be scared to mess around with it. Make sure that the clip that you want to edit is on your computer.

  1. The first thing to do is find the Tasks tool bar. When you open that up, you will see a number of different functions available.
  2. Select the 'Import' function. You will then be able to select the clip and it will be imported into the Windows Movie Maker (WMM) application. Strangely, it will automatically be chopped up into pieces. I never understood why WMM does that. I find it annoying.
  3. Select the 'Show timeline' button on the botton half of the screen. If you can't see it, then don't worry - that means that the Timeline is already there. The timeline is the horizontal space along the bottom of the screen that you are going to insert your clip into.
  4. Drag and drop all of the pieces of your clip (remember that WMM automatically and annoyingly chopped them up already - see step 3 above) into the timeline.

Right - now things are going to get a little trickier because I am doing this from memory. Let's see if you can get to that stage and then we will take it from there. How does that sound?By the way, this might help:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZXK68NS7gUI have been meaning to create my own WMM instruction clip for ages. Perhaps now is the time!

Hello Tatyana!Great to see you here :)So, for some videos for teaching, how about the first article I wrote for Teaching English? You can see that here:http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/video-english-classroomNow for the screen capture: A while ago, I made a little instruction video to demonstrate one way of doing it. Here it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQmXQINNKeoThere is also a very good, free application that you can download called Jing. It allows you to do screen captures and is probably simpler and more versatile than the way I describe in the clip. You can download it here:http://www.techsmith.com/jing/Tatyana - it has just occurred to me that perhaps you already know how to screen capture and you are asking me how I would make use of it it. Is that the case?

Hi Jammie,Thank you for your detailed reply, I wonder what is the best tool to screen capture. Is it keepvid or any other tool?And how would you make use of it?RegardsTatyana 

Hello TatyanaWhen you say 'screen capture' are you refrring to 'video capture'?

  • A screen capture only takes a single picture (photograph) of what is on the screen
  • A 'video capture' allows you to download the whole clip so that you can store it on your own computer or a memory stick.

If you are looking for a good 'video capture' application, then try SaveVid. I made a video to demonstrate it. Here it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umjfEzDgeKELet me know how you get on. Savevid seems to be misbehaving a bit recently. For me it works on Safari but not FirefoxGood luck!Jamie :-)

Hello Jammie,Thank you for direction, of course I meant video capture, I tried Savevid, you are right, it misbehaved. That's why I asked about it.As I've been using video a lot mostly teflclips, sometimes YouTube,and for teacher training course I use TeacherTube, lessons with Jennifer and materials by Russel Stannard.Would you recommend any good video for teacher training course?All the bestTatyana

Hello TatyanaIf you are having problems with Savevid, try it on a different browser - for me it works on Safari on my Mac but not Firefox. I don't know about Google chrome or Explorer. The problem is that downloading clips is against YouTube's terms of use. YouTube often tries to prevent sites like Savevid from working and perhaps that is what is happening at the moment. There are other similar sites like Zamzar. Have you tried that:http://www.zamzar.com/Re. videos for trainees. What sort of thing are you looking for? Videos from the classroom - teachers at work, videos of learning? Did you see the article Video Recorders in the Classroom? It looks at the potential for videos. Rather than looking online, I would recommend filming yourself or colleagues and using the results.Good luckJamie