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Joseph M. Terantino

Emerging Technologies: YouTube for Foreign Languages

YouTube for Student-Created Videos

Beyond presenting information to students via videos, YouTube also gives them an opportunity to create their own presentations in the target language. By creating their own videos students can apply the target language to real-world situations, which can be easily recorded and posted to YouTube. In the following examples, the students play the role of the teacher to create instructional video lessons: Learn French! - Lesson #1 and French Podcast - Future Tense.

For foreign language students YouTube is a simple tool for creating and editing video clips that approximate a professionally-made presentation. By integrating student-created YouTube videos into the foreign language classroom, language educators are also fostering student creativity and freedom of expression, further encouraging them to utilize the target language.

YouTube for Collaboration

In addition to allowing students to create and edit language-based video clips, YouTube videos provide an opportunity for multiple students to collaborate on a language-based project. For example, YouTube hosts many collaborative projects created by foreign language students. Several common themes are news projects, (See Spanish Newscast created by heritage speakers), and short skits in the target language, (See German Skit). These types of projects allow the students to work together to create a final linguistic product.

YouTube also provides a worldwide venue for the students to share their work. In this manner viewers can “like” or “dislike” the video. The site also allows others to respond to the videos by posting a text or video response. Thus, students can get real feedback. Last, students and teachers can also subscribe to certain channels maintained by individuals and companies from around the world to keep up with their videos. Consider the Foreignlanguagehouse Channel.


Although YouTube as described here seems potentially beneficial, there are several concerns to consider. First and foremost, there are issues of privacy and safety with relation to posting student-created videos online. It is important to note that YouTube does provide several posting options. If privacy is an issue videos can be posted under the unlisted setting, which provides a specific site address that can only be accessed by those possessing the URL. Also, the private setting shares the video only with users who have been granted access to the video.

Another potential concern for student-created videos is ensuring the appropriateness of the videos created and posted online. For this purpose it is important to create a clear video policy and explicit instructions for the students to follow in the process of completing their video-based assignments. Last, in many school settings access to YouTube and other social networking sites is restricted. After putting specific policies and guidelines in place for such language-based video assignments, perhaps this policy should be reconsidered on a setting-by-setting basis.

Last, there is the potential problem of accessing the videos online. It is important to maintain a good Internet connection. Users may access the direct link for the video, search for the video by keywords, or embed the videos directly into another location using the embed codes provided when uploading the video. Even with a good Internet connection, it is still possible to experience volatility with regards to clip availability. With this in mind there are several tools that can be used to ensure that the clip is available when needed. Tools such as Easy YouTube Video Downloader and Clip Extractor may be downloaded and installed easily. These tools enable downloading and converting FLV YouTube video files to other file formats such as MP4, AVI, and MOV. In fact, there are even YouTube videos available for learning how to use these tools. See Convert YouTube Video To MP4, FLV, 3GP To Put Onto Your iPod, Phone, Or Computer and How to convert YouTube videos to MP4, MP3, AVI, MOV, 3GP. Once the video files have

Language Learning & Technology


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