Using Video in Teaching and Staff Development - A two-part discussion hosted on the Professional Development and Technology Lists - Part II: Using Video with Adult Learners, Summary - discussion lists - Technology - LINCS

Blocked Sites

People often complain that You Tube is not such a great resource because the site is blocked. Most You Tube videos can be downloaded.

Firefox has a free extension for downloading videos called Download Helper at

However extensions can slow down the rate at which your browser works, so some people don't like using them.

Then it is possible to use an online program to download the video. One of these is called *Keep Vid*

Another one is called *Save You Tube** *

Once the video is downloaded, it can be put onto a flash drive and carried into the classroom. No need for Internet at all.

Susan Gaer

Is there a free or low-cost web-based platform (that incorporates discussion boards, live video chatting, YouTube archives, and blogs) that doesn’t typically get blocked in the K12 setting (where most of our adult ed centers are located)?

Jason Guard

At COABE 2011, Nell Eckersley introduced us to Wiggio - a simple social networking platform that may not be blocked at most schools.

Another one gaining ground is Edmodo.

How about Moodle? Do you have access to it?

The issue is that even if your colleagues can log into these platforms, the embedded YouTube videos (and other content of 'questionable, potentially compromised, origin') will still most likely be blocked. Short of asking them to access these materials from their homes or other computers that are not on the blocked networks, I can't think of a work-around.

And if they are willing to access your materials from computers that are not blocked, why not go for a Facebook page or group. I was surprised how many adult educators at COABE had Facebook accounts.

Branka Marceta

One way to get around the existing network may be a wiki. My online program at NMSU uses Pbworks to provide additional content and provide a site for students to store info that will not be deleted once the course is completed from Blackboard.

Perhaps a committee at your institution between IT and staff might help with a long-term solution.

Kris Witte

Closed Captioning

According the American Disabilities Act, all video used in an academic setting must be closed-captioned. Although you can find many videos with close captioning already on them, free videos are often not closed caption. Fortunately, you can add your own closed captioning. If you have a program like Camtasia, you can open any video in it and easily add closed captioning. YouTube also allows you to add close captioning to select videos. Watch how to do this at

Susan Gaer

I'd like to know more about the requirement for closed captioning. Does this refer to videos that you post as an online resource, videos that you show one time in the classroom, videos that are posted by others and you're just sending students to watch them via a link, or all or some of the above? Is the closed captioning requirement aimed at students with hearing disabilities only so what is being captioned is the spoken text, or does one also have to consider visually impaired or blind students so that there's an audio description of what is being viewed? How is "academic setting" defined for the purposes of the ADA?

Barry Bakin

According to our school, any media that we use must be accessible. We are not allowed to use it unless it is closed-captioned. That means any video online or via a link. We have to have all material accessible, whether the student is hearing impaired, visually impaired, physically impaired or learning impaired. We are converting all our materials to fit these guidelines. We use Kurzweil (converts text to speech) and closed captioning for videos.

Susan Gaer

Common Craft

Check out Common craft You need to subscribe but they're very simple.

Lois Gordon

Consent Forms

When dealing with producing video, please make sure you get students’ consent before posting the video on Face book or You Tube. My agency has one that every semester I have each of my students sign the first week of class. If they don’t want their image used, I know this from day one and have them only work with audio when doing video projects such as Diane mentioned yesterday. One place to get verbiage for your form is at

Susan Gaer

Copyright Issues

This is one of the biggest issues we face when using video online. Much of the video that has been posted online violates copyright law because it is posted without permission. What to do about this?

Use trailers or videos from the direct source. Movie trailers are great for language learning. See my lesson using Kung Fu Panda for an ESL conversation class at

ITunes has a great archive of movie trailers that are free and legal to use and embed on your website. For some great ideas on using Trailers in your class see ESL Partyland

You Tube is now doing copyright checks so more of the material there will now be legal to use. The main rule of thumb (although we have fair use laws) is to think before you use it.

I am sure you have questions and a good discussion about these issues will start based on these ideas. I look forward to everyone’s ideas on how they handle these issues.

Susan Gaer

Creating Videos for Students

Teaching distance learning ESOL, I've been grateful for the amazing and free/cheap tools available to help me enlarge the selection of ways I can communicate with my students. Here are a couple:

Screencast-o-Matic: This lets you make narrated videos of what's happening on your screen. I like the paid version of this tool ($12 and well worth it) because it allows you to cut out sections, add together videos, edit audio, and more (I haven't used more yet). This decreases hair pulling when I make an error a minute into the video because I don't have to get it right in one pass.

This has been great to create general resources for classes, such as how to navigate the course website: And it's wonderful for quick-and-dirty how-tos for individual students.

Eyejot: This is to create video messages that can be sent via email or posted to a site (they're accessible via a link). I've used them for pronunciation practice: My message for Gwendolyn:

Gwendolyn's response:

They've also been great for messages that feel more personal than an email or text: My message for Francisco (pay no attention to the bad hair day): The student D. *loves* the video and audio. She's too shy to meet you, so this Eyejot just has audio, but you can get the feel for her enthusiasm:

What kinds of videos have you made for students? Which are tools you'd recommend (or recommend avoiding)? Can you see ways these kinds of videos could work for your students or in your programs? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Diana Satin

A school or large class can have students with the talent to make their own literacy video.

Make your own half-hour cartoon literacy video

Many schools and colleges have the technology to make a cartoon literacy video with graphics and animated text to link speech and print.

The international success of a quality UK cartoon video for small children shows that video could help many reluctant learners to understand 'how to read' or 'find out where they got stuck', especially those unwilling or unable to go through clerical activities at a computer.

All the school or large class can join in the project, in one way or another:

  • Students with skills in computers, graphics, technology, writing, music, composing, organizing, researching, narrating, singing, join in every stage and develop their skills further.
  • Very good readers advise on what helped them learn to read
  • Learners with difficulties to advise on how they are stuck and try out solutions.
  • Everyone with bright ideas at all levels in the school advises and comments and evaluates at all stages.
  • All students helping to make the video will have a real stimulus in thinking about reading and spelling. 'What do you think people need to know to be able to read?'


Any audience can be selected - young or old, strugglers, teenagers and adults, English language learners, ethnic groups such as aboriginal - using their own culture, or a comic version mainly for laughs - for example, with a sound track speeded like Donald Duck.


  • A higher school profile for reading and community effort.
  • Improved literacy throughout a school.
  • A diagnostic tool to find where failing learners are stuck.
  • Win a prize at a film festival, for a work of art.
  • Evaluations by trialing versions from different schools can identify what proves most helpful to the target audiences, and these successes can be turned into widely available versions. Videos and follow-up CDs may be suitable for wider distribution and export as an Australian Innovation.


Where a school or centre has computers, and access to a CD-drive, a color printer, scanner, black-and-white photocopier, a simple word-processing program and graphics programs even as simple as Photoshop LE and Appleworks that 8-year-olds can use, and a tape-recorder, then introductory production need involve no further costs except stationery and phone/postage, up to stage B. Sponsors might be found.

An early experimental version, and newer storyboard are available plus consultant assistance. The URL is

Dr Valerie Yule

In designing my first online class for low skilled or limited English adults, I'm trying video as an approach for providing learner directions using multimedia content. I recently tried "Jing": This is a free tool that allows 5 minutes use for screen captures or video of your screen. Or, you can upgrade for more features. See my (in progress) "Welcome to the Course" video:

Since I'm interested in delivery of content by iPad or other mobile learning devices, I'm always checking to see if an application will work on a mobile device. Success with both Jing and Screencast-a-matic! More applications seem to be available for mobile learning. Today, I found that Adobe Connect, the web conferencing tool, is now available as an app on my iPad.

Kris Witte

I've used CamStudio, Jing, Screentoaster (which may have just closed), and Screenr. I like both Jing and Screenr a lot. I find they work well (in my case anyway) to reinforce trainings or a training concept, which most can be sent out as small links for students to review when and as often as they like.

Patty Ball

Creating Videos with Students

Samantha: Do you know the ESOL soap opera reading/vocabulary book, 'Samantha'? If not, I recommend that you check it out. For a summer session, we read the first four chapters. The culminating project was for small groups to create the 5th chapter in any mode they chose. One chose writing, another chose PowerPoint, and one chose creating a video -- one student was a former soundman for video productions. They wrote the script, practiced it, complete with scrounged props, and videotaped it. It was a riot! I made VHS (yes, VHS -- this was a while ago) copies for each student.  Life Goes On: Another student-made video was produced as a whole-class project. It grew out of the class-selected topic of HIV/AIDS/hepatitis. A videophile colleague, Cathy Coleman, asked if my class would be interested in having her support to produce a video. They jumped at the chance! She helped walk us through storyboarding, setting up scenes, production, and more. Students did research on general information. One student's husband had an experience at the dentist that became part of the story. Another student worked at a health clinic and her colleague was filmed as the HIV/AIDS expert who met with the main characters. A colleague who was a video editor did the production to make it look spiffy. I'd heard about public access cable stations and, with the class' permission, submitted it to the Boston station. Students told me they were recognized on the street! View it here:

The benefits/challenges: In both projects, students reported learning lots of content, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, and writing. And it both, there was incredible energy and collaboration, as well as pride in the final product. I won't lie: they do take lots of coordination of time, materials, access to technology, technology functioning properly, students, and time -- often more than you think (at least in my experience) -- but it has extremely gratifying for all, and well worth it. Students talk about the experience years later.

Diana Satin

Part of my organization just purchased 10 Flip video cameras for the teachers. (yes, I know they stopped making them, but they are a good buy and very simple to use). I'm looking for specific ideas of how the teachers can use them in the classroom. I'd like to see some kind of a list and explanation of activities. That would be helpful. I have lots of resources, but not always specific lessons or lesson plans on how to use them since I myself am not in the classroom.

Patty Ball

Flipped Classroom

Screen Capture Videos

Making an instructional video used to mean something you do with a video camera. Now it also means "screen capture" videos. Salman Khan's (Khan Academy) over 2000 classroom videos don't use a video camera. They only have the teacher's voice and a video of him (or her?) demonstrating something on the electronic equivalent of a chalkboard. Khan has made his informal instructional videos in a converted closet with a computer, not even a classroom!

Instructional Video Libraries and" Flipped Classrooms" Khan Academy videos are expert presentations/demonstrations of how to do something (numeracy, math, science, humanities...) and, in some cases, they include why it's done that way. This online video library -- and perhaps others such as this -- have led to the "flipped classroom" concept that regular classroom teachers don't (or soon won't ) need to do standing-before-the-class demonstrations/presentations, that their time is better spent identifying who (individually or in small groups) isn't "getting it" and needs one-on-one help from them, from another teacher or tutor, or another learner. The classroom teacher becomes a facilitator of learning, an instructional manager and mentor/guide, a "guide by the side" instead of a sage on the stage.

This leads to many questions:

1. What does Khan Academy do very well? What doesn't it do as well? What doesn't it do (yet)? What free online instructional videos don't exist yet anywhere that someone should be making?

2. How should instructional videos be best organized for adult learners? If a learner identifies a goal, let's say prepare to pass a college math placement test to avoid developmental studies, how does that get broken down into steps, get made into a learning plan? How does the learner get assessed to see what steps are needed, what ones s/he has already mastered? [One answer may be using the Learner Web,}

3. These videos are great. However, practice and formative assessment are also needed. How do these get seamlessly integrated? What's the teacher's role in designing/assigning these?

4. How would an adult education program design a flipped classroom model? (We know that "drop-in" learning doesn't get the same results as "managed enrollment" so presumably it would still be a good idea for students to cone to class every session. What if they haven't watched the "homework video"? Do we have any examples yet of adult ed flipped classrooms? [Courtney Cadwell describes her 7th grade math "flipped classroom" at Egan Junior High School in Los Altos, California in a public radio Onpoint program in which Salman Khan is a guest.]

5. What happens if an adult learner has to stop coming to class? Can they stay enrolled in the program using the videos, practice, assessments and perhaps some online mentoring -- at least until they can return to class? What possibilities does this open for people who can never come to class because no face-to-face classes are available near where they live or because they have three jobs? Would primarily video-based distance learning work better for them than other distance learning models?

What are your thoughts about the flipped classroom and use of video-based instruction?

David J. Rosen

David mentioned the "flipped classroom" as a new approach to presenting instruction to students in video before face-to-face time with instructors or tutors, allowing more focus on working with individual needs in class. I wanted to share a link that demonstrates how a math teacher used video tutorials to tutor individual students, and then found that other students wanted to make their own video tutorials to help classmates:

Kris Witte

Google Certified Teacher & Trainer

What is a "Google Certified Teacher?" I'm guessing that it is relevant to one of the reasons you are a guest on this panel for this topic!

Donna Brian

You are can be a Google Certified Teacher after you pass six exams that focus on your knowledge in Google Apps tools ( Google Apps administration, Gmail, groups, calendar, Google sites, Google Docs). The exams are online and timed 90 mins. You need to pass all exams to be certified. The time between the first test you pass in and the last test you pass should not be more than two months. If you fail in a test you can retake it after seven days. The pass grade is 80 %. Please feel free to check out their website . You will be certified for 12 months after which you need to retake the six exams to stay certified.

Ammar Merhbi

Google Certified Trainer

Training Centre

I'd love to hear more about this from someone who has completed the training.

Michele Brannon-Hamilton

To be a Google Certified trainer you first need to be a Google certified teacher. After that you apply for a Google certified trainer. You should include some artifacts in the application that you are apt to be a trainer, in addition to two videos. One videos explaining a key features in Google Apps and the other showing you explaining about your competence to be entitled the position of trainer. Google reviews your application and responds to you. There is no training involved, just an application. However, you need to be careful because Google asks that you at least devote a particular amount of time per month in training sessions, of which you need to present a report to Google. Most go for the certified teacher instead of trainer because it does not involve any commitment to Google. For example, I am a Google certified teacher but haven't yet considered applying to a trainer certificate because I do not have the time to devote for training, other than training our teacher in my school.

Ammar Merhbi

Health Literacy

I am an ESL teacher at the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center, OACE, NYC Dept. of Education. I wish to thank you for the wonderful resources and videos at WANY. Our dedicated instructional facilitator, Diana Raissis, has provided the ESL and many of the Adult Basic Education teachers the videos and workbooks, and has given us staff development as to how to best utilize the material. I've had lots of success with the videos as they are very * real* and easy for the students to identify with. I've used , "The Soap Opera (on asthma)," "New Life Cafe" and "Stop Smoking" along with other resources in units related to health literacy. I am very interested in health literacy as I was one of the participants in the original *Study Circles + *developed by Rima Rudd of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Literacy Assistance Center under the direction of Winston Lawrence, Ira Yankwitt, & Elysse Rudolph. I know my colleagues have also loved using the videos. Besides the videos, there are interesting materials online to supplement. Thank you so much for this resource.

Tilla Alexander

David: Thank you for sharing the link to the We Are New York videos. I would like to share this link on health videos from MedLine Plus that gives your students health information on specific diagnosis and diseases and anatomy and surgery videos that have a script that is spoken. They have an opportunity to practice their listening skills while watching the video [terminology is a bit dense but I think helpful for the student that may needed to go through these procedures] as well as reading skill if they turn off the sound on their PC and read the transcripts. What is missing from this site that I like that's on the We Are New York site is the conversation group to help practice their English. But this piece can be arranged with students at a programs center.

Another resource that came my way recently is a phone APP, but can be used on a PC as well. Pocket Heart. This is an interactive visual of a heart with terminology that explains what sections of the heart do with quizzes for different levels of learning.

Eunice Snay


In designing my first online class for low skilled or limited English adults, I'm trying video as an approach for providing learner directions using multimedia content. I recently tried "Jing": This is a free tool that allows 5 minutes use for screen captures or video of your screen. Or, you can upgrade for more features. See my (in progress) "Welcome to the Course" video:

Since I'm interested in delivery of content by iPad or other mobile learning devices, I'm always checking to see if an application will work on a mobile device. Success with both Jing and Screencast-a-matic! More applications seem to be available for mobile learning. Today, I found that Adobe Connect, the web conferencing tool, is now available as an app on my iPad.

Kris Witte

Professional Development

The larger question is how to get educators to prioritize their personal learning networks when they're at home or otherwise outside the office. Most adult educators are part time, so it's understandable that they should have boundaries to control their workload. However, distance learning requires flex-time work-hours to support learners (via email, etc). Maybe the same outside the box approach needs to be taken with professional development.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Jason Guard


TV411 requires that browsers have a QuickTime plug in. When I went to TV 411 on my computer, I was told that I had to download the plug-in in order to run the program. I was on FireFox and I tried for about 20 minutes and the plug in would not install. So next I went to Internet Explorer and bingo...immediately installed and my video played fine. Why am I describing this experience? Well I think this is what frustrates both teachers and students. Being a proactive learner as I am, I used the experience as a teaching experience so that my students might learn some computer literacy as well as language associated with this "installation" challenge. Knowing that this was a problem by having previewed TV 411, I went through the process modeling it in class. Showing students what they could expect. Their challenge was to get the plug in installed on their home computers and view a TV 411 episode. Those that tried were able to do it and say the "LOVE" TV 411. By modeling the challenges, I was able to teach students language and literacy.

However, not all teachers are as proactive towards technology as I am. They might have given up themselves after the first 5 mins of trying to install the plug in. (Maybe I should have but I kept going and going...:-) Then they say it is too hard to use for their students. TV 411 has many, many plus points. It has realistic TV with lessons and activities developed along with it. But if you can't install the plug in easily...For me the plus points was value added for my students so I persevered and taught them how to access it.

I think we need to think about how to change teacher's attitudes towards the challenges in order to reap the obvious benefits.

Susan Gaer

Many of you may be familiar with the TV411 television series either through public television or through the DVDs. Our approach is to produce videos that introduce fundamental reading, writing, and math concepts in a way that is engaging and familiar. Over the years, we have developed a series of print magazine-style workbooks and a web site with over 100 lessons. The web and print lessons pick up on concepts and skills presented in the videos and give learners a chance to practice.

Our latest project, "TV411 What's Cooking?", focuses on fundamental science concepts such as bacteria, photosynthesis, and carbohydrates, as well as related math. The videos are modeled on popular cooking shows, and in addition to the science and math, each video has a great recipe.

"TV411 What's Cooking?" will be distributed via the TV411 website ( which we are currently redesigning for this project. The new site will have science and math lessons that accompany the series, as well moderated discussions on related science topics, teacher resources, and social networking features. (We will also add many of the previously produced TV411 videos to the site.)

One of our primary challenges since beginning TV411 is to design content that's best suited to a particular medium - video, print, web - but that when combined creates a learning experience that one medium alone could not do. Nowadays, the web is an ideal place to blend these media types all under one roof, while at the same time, creating a visible online learning community.

How people are blending different media in their instruction and how are learners are responding?

Alex Quinn

The current TV411 website was created almost 10 years ago, and was not really designed to handle video well. We are in the process of a major overhaul of the TV411 website. I think people will find the new site much easier to use and the interface much more in line with what they have come to expect from other popular multimedia sites such as YouTube. We will be launching the new site later in the fall and will also be premiering our new science series, "TV411 What's Cooking?"

Alex Quinn

Thanks Susan for your comment. I love TV 411 and I use it both with ELL and ABE/GED students. I also agree whole-heartedly that we can only be as confident in our use of technology as we are able to navigate and troubleshoot our way through it and with it. I am concerned that this understanding is lost on many people still: students, other teachers and administrators alike.

Gina Jarvi

Using already produced video with students

Using already produced video with students Video is a great resource for all level of students from Beginning ESL through ASE (Adult Secondary Education). At the beginning levels of ESL and for literacy level students, I love using Mr. Bean videos. A search on

Google for “Mr. Bean Videos” will produce a whole array of videos. One of my favorite is at

In this video Mr. Bean goes to the barber. There are many activities you can use with beginning level ESL students:

  • Play the movie without sound.
  • Students write a dialogue about what they see.
  • Students can discuss what happens next (when the boy takes off the hat, what will his mother say?)
  • Identify objects found in the location

Teaching using songs is greatly enhanced when using video. There are many music videos that are available online. Songs should be easy to listen to and positive. One of my favorites "When I am 64" by the Beatles. Lyrics are located at

For Intermediate level ESL students and ASE students, content videos such as National Geographic or Discovery learning are great tools.

Since most videos online do not have materials like the NYC drama series does and are written for mainstream audiences, a little prep is necessary. Videos should have a pre watching activity, comprehension questions and post watching activity. This video about Truffles is less than 3 minutes long. It develops a lot of language.

I hope that this post will generate lots of cool activities and lessons all of you are using with already created video.

Susan Gaer

As Susan notes, videos can be an excellent source for group discussion work. I like to take commercials with surprise endings and cut them up into segments. Students view the first segment and, as a group, have to come up with a prediction about what will happen next. They then watch the second segment to see which group made the most accurate prediction. They continue in this way until the entire clip has been played. The advantage of using commercials is that you benefit from the production values and expensive marketing companies that have invested big bucks in thinking about and producing an attention-grabbing advertisement that is also entertaining. I have one example posted here: Scroll down to the third topic. You can view the three clips in sequence just as the students would and make your own predictions. Don't skip ahead! Unless you've seen this particular commercial, I'm pretty sure that you'll get your first prediction wrong. More students get the second prediction correct and you probably will too, but it's the second segment that causes great excitement and discussion and makes for an engaging and memorable exercise. The final clip also naturally leads into a natural vocabulary lesson centered on "What is the word for what you just saw?" (I can't say the word as it would "give away" the ending...)

Barry Bakin

The free online site at shows one way the idea of a literacy aid for individuals to have an overview of reading and spelling and find out for themselves where they are stuck. There is a checklist, and even those who do not like the style of the video still find out things that they did not know.

Dr Valerie Yule

I'm currently taking an Online Teaching and Learning graduate certificate program through New Mexico State University. My experience leads me to believe that face-to-face is essential for student support. AT EPCC, we had vocational guidance assistants for student support. In an online environment, I would integrate tutors to support such a program.

Kris Witte

This is a link to my new web page, which I created at the LARC Social Media Workshop. On the video page, I inserted a Microsoft Word tutorial based on RT Library's ESL Word 2007 Tutorial. I may want to redo it and take out the last part (at some later date). This was a start, but I really enjoyed doing this and I think I'll be able to more lessons and/or tutorials using this software. Thanks for your help.

Tilla Alexander

Video Resources

Screencast-o-Matic: lets you make narrated videos of what's happening on your screen. I like the paid version of this tool ($12 and well worth it) because it allows you to cut out sections, add together videos, edit audio, and more (I haven't used more yet). This decreases hair pulling when I make an error a minute into the video because I don't have to get it right in one pass.

Eyejot: is to create video messages that can be sent via email or posted to a site (they're accessible via a link).  I've used them for pronunciation practice:

Free tools for Screencasting

1. Aviscreen: AviScreen is an application for capturing screen activity in the form of AVI video or bitmap images. It has a unique feature called "follow the cursor". Using this mode you can produce a video or image of relatively small dimensions while covering all mouse activity over the whole screen area. You may stop or pause the video capture at any moment. If you use the popup menu to stop/pause the capture, the process will also be captured and may need to be trimmed later. When the computer is slow or very busy, sometimes it is necessary to hit the shortcut key several times before it works. This is a free capture program that records the video into AVI files, but can also do BMP photos. It's Windows only and does not record audio.

2. Camstudio: Free and open source streaming video software for Windows that allows you to capture screen and audio activity on your computer and create AVI video files and export to SWF. CamStudio has an easy-to-use interface and includes a video annotation feature, custom cursors and selected screen region recording.

3.Copernicus: A free program for Macs that focuses heavily on making quick and speedy films by recording the video to your RAM for quicker access. Does not include any support for audio.

4. Goview:
Free Windows software from Citrix Online, that allows you to record video of your screen, capture audio, edit and host your videos without bandwidth limitations. Screencasts can be password protected, and downloaded/uploaded to other sites.

5. ISU: ISU enable people to easily Record a sequence of operations in applications. Edit the recorded presentation, draw on it and add nice notes and stylish HTML pages. Send it to friends via Email, Messenger or any other application or Browser Email. Or even create FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) in a Center-Folder.

6. Jing: Free simplified screen recording software for Mac and Windows machines that allows users to quickly record videos (including audio) from a window or region on their desktop, including the mouse, scroll movements and clicks on websites or applications. You can record up to five minutes. Jing is a product of TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac.

7. Krut: Krut is a screencast tool that is written in Java and well suited for making video tutorials (instructional videos) on most platforms. Krut records movie files, including sound, of selected parts of your screen. The files use the QuickTime mov format. The program has an intuitive and compact user interface.

8. Freescreencast: Free software that lets you record your screen, capture audio, control the cursor, and export to FLV format. You can then upload to for free hosting (no file size or resolution limits) and sharing.

9. Screentoaster: ScreenToaster is a free web-based screen recorder designed to capture your screen activity, audio and webcam images in real-time then publish and share your video in blogs and websites. ScreenToaster works in all browsers and doesn't require any download so that you can use it anywhere, anytime.

10. Microsoft expression encoder: This free version of Expression Encoder 3 does not include support for IIS Smooth Streaming and H.264 encoding.

11. Screen castle: Screen Castle is an online recording tool. Of course it is not professional as the others but you can easily record your screen with one click and get the sharing codes immediately.

12. Screencast O matic: It's an online tool that you don't have to download. You just click the Create Button, and a box appears which works with Java and you adjust the screen area to start recording as you see in the below screenshot. You can send the recorded file directly to through hosting.

13. Screen jelly: A free web-based utility that lets you record your screen and audio for up to three minutes, then send it out to Twitter or in an email.

14. Screenr: A free web-based tool for Windows or Mac that lets you create screencasts without installing any software. Your screencast is published in high-definition Flash format, and can be shared on Twitter, YouTube or anywhere else on the web. Screenr is made by Articulate, the makers of Articulate Studio.

15. Oripa screen recorder: oRipa Screen Recorder is a handy tool to record your Windows desktop activities in real time and save it as a video file. oRipa Screen Recorder also captures anything you can hear on your PC, such as, music and talking through the PC's microphone.

16. Utipu: UTipU Tipcam has 2 versions FREE and PRO. It is another easy to use tool for recording both video and audio. You can also make smart zooming, which is very useful for presentations. Click the Zoom button to zoom into closer. This type of zoom will follow your mouse. You can also zoom before you start recording.

17.UltraVNC: The screen recorder is build with the old Rendersoft camstudio source. UltraVNC boasts a chat window, a dialog for file transfer and an embedded Java viewer, which allows you to open an UltraVNC session in a browser. Supports audio also.

18.Webinaria: You can easily create screen records as .avi file and turn them in to .FLV file. You can also add you voice and edit the recorded file later. It requires Windows and totally FREE. RealShow is free at

Patty Ball

We are New York (WANY)

We Are New York (WANY) is ESL drama series about immigrants in New York City. There are nine episodes in the series. Each 25-minute episode presents characters negotiating realistic situations, such as accessing health care and speaking to the doctor, talking with a child’s teacher, and getting information about low-fee bank accounts. The show, created for mid-level adult ESOL learners, introduces the language necessary for these situations, and also includes information about city services. The characters speak the English of everyday life. But, they speak a little slower than the average English-language television show. The show also has subtitles in English, helping people to understand and learn the language.

We Are New York, a co-production of The City University of New York and the NYC Mayor's Office of Adult Education, has been used widely in ESOL classes across New York City. Additionally, there is a We Are New York Community Project. The Community Project organizes free conversation groups across the City. Volunteer facilitators are trained and placed at community organizations. They use the show to help immigrants practice speaking English and learning about city services.

Using a visual literacy technique as a pre-watching activity has been particularly successful with learners in both the Community Project and formal ESOL classes. Before students watch an episode, in groups of 2-3 learners, they look at a "screen capture" -- a photograph still from that episode. They discuss what they think is happening in the photograph. They make predictions, use vocabulary they know, and hear vocabulary from other students. They form and express opinions. The goal is not to be correct in their predictions, but to use the image as the basis for a brainstorm -- to get people talking and using as much language as possible, to activate their schema and get them excited about watching the episode. (The activity is adaptable to all language learner levels.)

The images, which can be found on the WANY website along with other materials, also provide easy benchmarks throughout the 25-minute show. Our teachers and facilitators pause the DVD after a scene that included one of the images they used in the pre-watching activity. The students discuss what they have seen with a partner, confirming comprehension and asking questions. They predict what will happen next before resuming the show.

If this sounds interesting to you, please watch an episode at and take a look at some of the resources and links on the website. We look forward to hearing any questions you may have about any aspect of the project!

Rebecca Leece

I've perused your website for a few minutes and the material is terrific. I understand that it's New York-focused, but it seems that the themes are universal, particularly for other urban areas. Have programs outside the city used the videos or are they even available to people outside New York?

Mary Anne Hess

The City-service content of the episode is indeed in many cases particular to New York City, but as you mention, the themes are universal. The episodes integrate the civic information into dramatic stories that deal with family, relationships and other universals.

I don't have numbers but I know that people in other locales in the U.S. have been using the series. It's been used in ESOL teacher training by CUNY faculty and administrators in China and other international settings, too.

In workshop situations, I encourage educators from towns outside of New York City or other states to have students identify the information in the episodes that may be particular to NYC and then have them find out about relevant services that may be available to them in the towns where they live.

Two of the important goals of "We Are New York" are to help increase self-efficacy skills of immigrants when accessing services and to increase awareness of their rights to particular services in New York City. Since rights and services, as you know, differ in other settings in the United States, it's a great exercise, I think, for students in a classroom context, to explore these issues and develop the language relevant to accessing services.

At the moment, we have limited numbers of hard copies of materials for distribution locally in NYC, but everything that we create is available for the wider world via the web.

Rebecca Leece

I would agree with Mary Anne. The materials are very professionally produced, have a variety of characters with different accents, show members of different ethnic communities interacting in positive ways, and feature clearly enunciated audio tracks. I viewed the complete show "Welcome Parents." NYC specific information such as being able to get materials in Bengali or an interpreter on call can just be used as a springboard for discussing what is available in my district.

I fully expect to begin incorporating the video series next semester! My plan would be to load the videos individually on each computer in my classroom so that students can watch them without waiting for a download.

Two questions only! Was a version of the video produced without the subtitles? Can copies of the videos be made for students to take home and view with their families or would students have to download them on their own?

Barry Bakin

The subtitles on the DVD itself are optional. They are the default mode, but they can be turned off. Online, though, there isn't this option.

Once you download the videos from the website, you can burn copies for distribution to students.

Enjoy the series and best wishes for the next semester!

David Hellman


Your approach holds so much promise in providing access to immigrant workers to not only the services available in the community, but learning English in context. I can see so many possibilities for replicating this approach in other communities.

Some questions that came to my mind:

  • How do the learners access the website resources to sign up for conversation groups? Do learners have computer access at the library sites hosting the conversation groups? Can learners practice at home with mobile tools?

  • What tools and resources do you use to develop the videos? Are students from the University shooting, editing the videos?

Kris Witte

Learners find out about the "We Are New York" (WANY) conversation groups in a number of ways. Some find out about it via the web. Others find out by word-of-mouth. Some call 311--NYC's telephone number for city service information--and get information about enrolling that way. In many cases, the community organizations that host the groups recruit participants from the local community.

At the libraries, learners have access to computer resources.

In terms of mobile tools, participants in the "We Are New York" conversation groups receive a weekly "word of the week" text message.

Regarding the production: professional TV production company that was created for the project produced he nine WANY episodes. In addition to being available online, the show is broadcast on NYCTV in New York City.

Teachers who use WANY in various programs sometimes have their students write their own dramas or documentaries in response to a WANY episode or on a related topic. Here is a link to a lesson set which a teacher at LaGuardia Community College created for use with the episode "Asthma: The Soap Opera.":

The above lesson set is very comprehensive and leads up to a student video project. Other teacher materials are available on the WANY Teacher Resources page:

There is a "We Are New York" Facebook page where you can find images and related posts from conversation groups and other WANY-related activities:

David Hellman

I just watched the Wedding episode and glanced at the materials. I love the way you have the study guide in a form of a novella. The low level reader is helpful, as are the video scripts in multiple languages.

And having them sign up for a discussion group is a great way to learn more about those who are using the materials on WANY.

I did not read all the instructions carefully, so I'll just ask you, Rebecca - what is the follow up for those who sign up for the discussion group?

Branka Marceta

Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing WANY with those in California! I think the language introduced and the issues explored in the programs might be very useful for students outside of NYC, too.

The discussion groups are held for two hours, once a week, for ten weeks in a row. There are 9 episodes, and the final meeting is a party. We have trained volunteers to lead the groups--they are very much conversation groups, not formal ESL classes. Since the focus is on conversation, the leaders start with a small group introduction activity, and then they use the visual thinking pre-watching activity with the photograph stills, as described in our first post. The leaders then review a few key vocabulary words. And finally, the group watches a chunk of the show, stop to discuss, watch another chunk, stop to discuss, until the show is over.

I think this model could certainly be used in other cities, also. It's really about bringing people together and providing a warm, welcoming space to practice English. We often refer to the group leaders/volunteers as "hosts" or "facilitators" rather than teachers. The NYC Mayor's Office of Adult Education and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs have been organizing groups all over NYC, some in each of the five boroughs. The conversation group project has partnered with CBOs and the public libraries, and they have generously offered space for the discussion groups.

After people finish a conversation group, they might sign up for a formal ESL class, depending on availability, and if their schedule permits it.

Rebecca Leece

I am an ESL teacher at the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center, OACE, and NYC Dept. of Education. I wish to thank you for the wonderful resources and videos at WANY. Our dedicated instructional facilitator, Diana Raissis, has provided the ESL and many of the Adult Basic Education teachers the videos and workbooks, and has given us staff development as to how to best utilize the material. I've had lots of success with the videos as they are very * real* and easy for the students to identify with. I've used "The Soap Opera (on asthma)," "New Life Cafe" and "Stop Smoking" along with other resources in units related to health literacy. I am very interested in health literacy as I was one of the participants in the original *Study Circles + *developed by Rima Rudd of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Literacy Assistance Center under the direction of Winston Lawrence, Ira Yankwit, & Elyse Rudolph. I know my colleagues have also loved using the videos. Besides the videos, there are interesting materials online to supplement. Thank you so much for this resource.

Tilla Alexander

For those of you who may be less familiar with WANY, each episode deals with a particular topic (managing health care issues, parental engagement in schools, financial empowerment and others).

Four of the episodes deal with health and well-being topics: diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation and domestic violence. In developing and producing the series, we were careful not to overload the drama with information, and to use language that was accessible to mid-level learners.

Common to all the health topics in the WANY series is the important message that in New York City, all immigrants--documented or not--have the right to health care services and there are free or low-cost options. In addition to this, we wanted to model situations in which immigrants take charge of the flow of communication between patients and health care workers -- to show people, in dramatic situations, asking doctors to slow down or repeat what they say, for example. In the education and other episodes, we similarly see immigrants asking for clarification, asking questions, taking charge in various ways.

With video as the medium, more important in some ways than information was the message that people have the right to ask for it and to show them doing so!

David Hellman


The GED-i Project has created a YouTube channel for programs to use. ( The Bulletin Feature on YouTube allows you to provide context for a featured video.

There are several things I like about this method of delivery:

  • Once the page is set up, it takes very little maintenance.
  • First, the videos need to be connected to an instructional purpose. Our model has playlists that are labeled by content area. (Science, Math, Reading...)
  • These types of videos are great for learning on the go... Students are accessing these videos in a combination of methods. We are seeing a significant increase of students accessing online learning from mobile devices such as a smart phone or iPod. They are also using tablets and desktop computers.

Students and teachers who use this site have provided a great deal of positive feedback. For example, they can hear the language of poetry - there are videos that have The Raven and Phenomenal Woman. These videos enhance the poetry instruction and reinforce the beauty of the language as it as the authors intended. Videos that show plate tectonics or even steps in the Pythagorean theorem make complicated reading much easier by building a bit of background knowledge.

Basically, I believe it is how we as the instructors organize the videos, guide our students to the intended video, and provide the context as to why the video is important to the overall intended learning objective that makes using videos successful for learning.

Kathy Tracey

Thanks for sharing this resource. What is your process for finding and then selecting videos to include on your channel?

Alex Quinn

There have been a few questions about YouTube, so I thought I would share some details and more information.

First, attached is a document we created on how to create your own channel. It is a very easy process, and will take less than 15 minutes. Once you have the channel started - you can then begin selecting videos.

In order to find videos, I am subscribed to several channels. (Discovery, Nova, and things like that.) When you subscribe to a channel, you get updates for new videos that they post. It makes it much easier than having to search for videos. It makes the process of finding appropriate resources easier and less time consuming.

Notice on our page - we have a couple of 'friends'. Again - these are people who have similar interests. They are also creating channels for GED resources. By connecting to their pages, I can find videos they posted and then add them to my channel.

Another question is how I used these videos. Recently, I learned that you can tweet directly from a Kindle. I used my twitter account, tweeted passages from a book called Moby Duck (a book about the environment.) In conjunction with the tweeting of information, I would find a corresponding video that supported the text. I would post the video as a featured video and match the bulletin posting on YouTube. Notice the bulletin videos about 70's PSA and the Ocean Day. By pulling all the technology resources together -we provided a fully engaging learning and mobile learning opportunity.

I hope the attached document helps - and the featured video on our YouTube channel is Salman Khan's presentation at the TED 2011 about using videos with students. The video is a bit long, but he is a very dynamic speaker. Enjoy!

Kathy Olesen-Tracey