Friday, April 4, 2008

Video News Casting in English: Using Video to promote EnglishCommunications

論文  "Video News Casting in English: Using Video to Promote English Communications"

JALT: The Language Teacher (Vol 32:Number 4) 2008年4月(単独)

Learner English Level: Intermediate and advanced

Learner Maturity Level: Senior high school 2nd year and above

Preparation Time: About 2-3 hours initially with ongoing preparations continuing throughout the project.

Activity Time: Will vary depending on size of class and quality of news program desired.  Generally, this serves as a term project and can span the length of a semester.  2 x 50 minutes for script development, 1 x 50 minutes for storyboard creation, 3 x 50 minutes for raw video footage, 2 x 50 minutes for editing and retakes, 1-2 x 50 minutes for video review and student evaluations.

Materials: Computer laboratory or computer access for students, handouts (digital or paper) for scripts and storyboards, digital video cameras (school owned preferable), reusable blank video tapes, microphones if possible, one or more high-powered computers for video editing and appropriate video editing software, materials for making props as determined by student teams, example clips of English news broadcasts, real or previously made by facilitator or previous classes (permission for rebroadcast may be necessary in some cases).

Uses: Provides a challenging and entertaining group activity in which students design and develop English newscast programs in teams of 3-4 students.  Students use English to present news (fictitious or factual) in a 5-10 minute program. There are also a wide variety of themes from which to choose including commercials, short dramas, or crime solving mysteries, so facilitators shouldn’t feel limited to just one idea.


Step 1: Make one master sign-up sheet (facilitator’s copy) for the class for the purpose of organizing into groups of 3-4 students.  The sign-up sheet should contain the members’ names and the name of the newscast program.

Step 2: Make a script handout for each team explaining the task and the goal.  This sheet is also used to write the newscast script dialogue.  Include the following fields for students to complete:

  • Newscast Title: (title goes here)

  • Members: (list team members here)

  • Roles: (list team member character roles here)

  • Script: (write newscast dialogue here)

Step 3 (optional): Make a storyboard handout containing 6-8 blocks suitable for sketching a picture of how the newscast will be filmed.  The storyboard is essentially a “comic strip” of the newscast and should contain the newscast characters (members) and some of the dialogue.  This part is optional, but helps students during the filming process to keep things organized.

Step 4 (optional): Make a video camera sign-up handout sliced into 10-minute and 15-minute intervals.  Students will sign up to use the camera during the video filming portions of the project.  While this is optional, having this sheet keeps things organized and moving smoothly especially if there are only a few video cameras.

Step 5: Make a newscast team evaluation handout for use in the video review portion of the class including each team’s name and members.  Have a few categories like “English” and “Content” and “Originality” with check boxes from 1 to 5.  Also, have a section for English comments.


Step 1 (1st class): Introduce the concept of a newscast by showing students a demo video of either a prerecorded English news program or one made by students in a prior year (once again, be aware of copyright and rebroadcast permissions). Ask students to make teams (or make teams for them), decide on the content of their newscast, and sign-up with the facilitator by the end of the class. Teams signing up early should begin collecting ideas and information through team discussions and Internet research.

Step 2 (2nd – 4th classes): Students develop topics, scripts, storyboards and props for the news program.  Facilitator assists each team as needed.  The end of the third class, students submit scripts for reviews.  The end of the fourth class, students resubmit scripts and the storyboards for grading.  Teams finishing early can jump ahead to the filming process.

Step 3 (4th – 6th classes): Students film raw videos.  Use the video camera signup handout to keep things organized, running smoothly, and evenly distributed.  Help the students understand the concept of getting both good quality video and good quality audio through careful placement of the camera and/or microphone. After each class video session, facilitator should capture the raw video to the editing computer.  Teams that finish filming early can jump ahead to the editing process.

Step 4 (7th – 8th classes): If it is possible (time and materials present), students should manage the video editing. Given realistic time constraints and the challenges of teaching Japanese students how to video edit, students should work with the facilitator to make edits. Rendering (a process which consumes much time) can be performed outside of class time by the facilitator.

Step 5 (9th – 10th classes): Students hold a video review of all the newscast projects.  Using the team evaluation sheet, students rate the quality of news, English, and originality of the production.  Awards can be given for best English, best acting, best team and so on.


Creating videos allows students to explore their creativity and add their own style to an English skit activity.  It also gives them a chance to a) work in a team environment in an English production, b) sit and analyze their own English abilities as a third party to their conversations, c) interact in a different way with both the facilitator and other students outside of a normal “lecture and learn” class, and d) merge technology and English learning. If the time and resources are available, making English videos with the students is interactive, rewarding, and just plain fun.

Samples of all handouts and recommendations for both video editing software and hardware are available by request.

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