#edtech #esl YouTube annotations provide a discussion space layered onto each video.
In my previous post, Interactive Videos, I shared some examples of YouTube videos that incorporate some new interactive features of the site that overlay buttons and links that can take you to a different segment of the video or to a different video or website entirely.
These kinds of pop-up messages have been crowding onto YouTube videos since this feature became available. If used gratuitously, they are annoying, but when used to add supplemental information, they can be quite useful. As one example, take a look at the video tutorial for making the above image. It’s a straightforward and informative two-minute video. At about the 1:30 mark, some red text appears that seems to be essential information that was omitted in the original shooting of the video. Adding a quick note is a simple solution that does not require reshooting the video.
But there must be more we can do with these tools. I’d been thinking about some different ways to incorporate these techniques when I came across a presentation made by Craig Howard at the Indiana University Foreign / Second Language Share Fair. The page includes a recording of the presentation, a handout that summarizes how to annotate YouTube videos, and a link to an example video, which I’ve included below.
The nice thing about this approach is that a video, in this case a video for teachers-in-training to discuss, can include the online conversation layered right over top of the video. Comments by different speakers can be made in different colors and the length of time they are displayed can easily be adjusted as appropriate. Of course, everyone involved needs to have free Google or Gmail accounts to sign in, and the video must be configured to allow annotations by people other than the person who uploaded it.
The ability to integrate video materials and online discussion so seamlessly opens up some interesting potential for interacting with videos in new and interesting ways. I’ve recently looked at some options for online bulletin boards / sticky notes, including Google Docs, but incorporating this style of discussion directly onto the video is fantastic.
I’m still kicking around different options for making YouTube videos more interactive. If you have other examples or ideas, please share them in the comments below.
How did he do that? Is that the first question you asked when you looked at this picture? Look again. Notice all of the people in the picture (and in the picture in the picture) are the same person. Notice, too, that the person in the foreground is holding the picture being taken in the background. To really blow your mind, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the picture taken by the photographer in the background. Click on either picture to link to larger versions for closer examination.
Impressed? I was. There are lots of examples of photoshopped dopplegangers on flickr, but few are this intricate. With most others, it’s easy to see how how multiple images could be merged into one because the different images don’t interact and sometimes don’t even overlap. When I look at these two pictures, I’m intrigued by how they were made. Which image was taken first? How many images were included? These questions got me to thinking: I bet ESL students would have the same questions. And it would be linguistically challenging to analyze these two photos (possibly by first priming them with something simpler) in the target language.
Next time you want to generate some discussion in your class, consider showing your students these images. (They’re licensed under the Creative Commons, which virtually eliminates any copyright concerns.) The discussion could lead to students planning their own doppleganger photos. Even if they don’t have the photo editing skills or resources to pull it off, planning out the scene and even taking some of the photos required to make their own composite image could be a very interesting exercise.
Getting your students to write (or speak) can sometimes be a challenge. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, which got me to thinking: Where can teachers find interesting pictures that might prompt students to write or talk. Here are some examples:
Photoshop Contest.com is a website that posts a picture each week for visitors to edit into other pictures. The results can be fascinating. The historical decoder device at right used this picture of typesetter’s letters as a starting point. In addition to generating interesting pictures, trying to tease out which components of the picture are from the original can be an interesting challenge for students.
Worth1000.com is similar to Photoshop Contest with a variety of contests for beginning through advanced photo manipulators. Although the results range in quality and interest, some of the theme categories could generate some interesting writing or discussion. For example, the subjects in Sports Literalisms and Bald Celebrities may not be universally recognized by students, but Unsung Vending Machines and Less Than Usual require no explanation. Some of the Literalisms provide interesting visual examples of idioms and other common English expressions.
Flickr is a very popular photosharing website. And, although the sheer number of photos posted means it takes a little more digging to find them, similarly provocative photos can be found. I often use Compfight.com to search Flickr because it’s very easy to select search parameters like Creative Commons licensed content and Safe Search. Try searching for terms like manipulate, photoshop, and trick to find pictures that have been digitally edited. Some, like the example of the car parked on the street have had no digital manipulation, but there is another trick involved. Can you spot it? Can your students?