Student-created mini-videos to foster communicative competence

9 Mar

On Saturday, March 5th, I ran a workshop at the 10th Central Connecticut State University Conference for Language Teachers about how to have students create short videos to foster communicative competence. Here’s a summary of it.

Last year I acquired an iPad through a university grant. In the summer, I attended the FLEAT VI conference, and lucky for me, I was able to attend a workshop there given by the wonderful Joe Dale (note: follow this man on Twitter. He is a genius) titled Create, Consume, Collaborate: Personalised language learning with iPads, which I felt was perfect so I could start using the new iPad. I learned many things in that workshop, but I decided to explore two of them: creating videos with an app called YakitKids and connecting the 15 second videos to make a longer video with YouTube Capture, which also allows you to upload them to YouToube directly.

I decided to use these apps in my Spanish Conversation class. This is a university course for students who have just completed the intermediate level. Most of the students in this class are freshmen and their level of Spanish varies greatly (although we do have a placement exam, there are still many problems assigning students to their correct level, but that’s a topic for another post). After some trial and error, I finally decided on a video project for the whole semester. Here are the basic steps:

  • Students, in groups of two or three, will create six short video episodes using YakitKids.
  • Each student will have an image who acts as an alter ego for them. Here are the characters my students are using this semester.
  • They have freedom creating the episodes but each episode has to deal with one of the topics we are seeing in class. (We have six main themes that we are working on).
  • They write their scripts and I correct them. For this videos I am really focusing on everyday speech, so sometimes I edit things so they sound as natural as possible to a native speaker.
  • At first, they were sending me a voice message so I could check on their pronunciation but it was taking too much time and now the students have to do this:
    • Listen to the Spanish sentence pronunciation in Google Translate
    • Use Google Voice Type or the dictation feature in their phone to practice pronunciation before they record the video.
  • Create the video using YAKitKIDS app and join the 15 second scenes using YouTube Capture App. This app also allows you to upload directly to YouTube
  • Add subtitles in YouTube. Here’s a video to show you how to do it. (it is not too difficult).
  • When all the videos are done, we send them to a local sixth grade Spanish teacher (who happens to be my husband, so that was easy) and his kids vote on which one they like best (using a Google Form).

There are other steps that I am now requiring, like upload the video to the class blog, but that is still a work in progress.


An iPhone or iPad for every two or three students (unfortunately, YakkitKids does not offer an android app. Let me know if you are aware of a similar app there).
These two free apps:
YouTube Capture

The reason why I decided to start this project was that Yakitkids is such an easy and enjoyable app to use. And I see many possibilities for it, for example:

  • For younger students, they can create a drawing an animate it.
  • You can choose a famous painting, like Las Meninas, and have the characters have a conversation (historically based).
  • You can create a class Instagram account and post the videos there for everyone to see.

In any case, here’s the presentation with all the links to the apps, blog, etc.

Have you tried anything similar? Have you tried YAKitKids yourself?

Let me know and thanks so much for reading!

2 thoughts on “Student-created mini-videos to foster communicative competence

  1. Hola Pilar! Espero estes bien. Estoy interesada en hacer carpetas digitales con los estudiantes mas chiquitos. K-4 para poder tener algo como lo que hacen los estuduantes de 5-8 con carpetas en las cuales podemos hacer una reflexion pero tambien que se puedan llevar a fin de año/curso. Yo ya uso waves y blogs, y weebly y todo eso, pero sabes de algo mas efectivo e innovador? El próximo anño comienzo a trabajar en Whitby.
    Mil gracias espero que estes bien y te mandi un abrazo.
    Carolina Todeschini Martino

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