12 Second Video Clips for EFL ESL

What can you do with a web cam, 12 seconds of live video and some EFL ESL students? Well quite a lot when you start to think about it.

12 Seconds TV is a new website for microbloggers! Unlike it's text based equivalents, Twitter and Plurk, 12Seconds TV enables users to post 12 second video clips. Apart from that it is very like any other microblogging site. You can sign up to follow the feeds of other users and comment on other users' video clips. 12 second TV also integrates with Twitter so that you can configure it to post links to your video clips into your Twitter feed.

The image above shows how to record a 12 seconds TV clip. Click the image to enlarge

How to use this to create video materials for EFL ESL students
Here are a few ways you can use 12 Seconds TV to produce materials for your students or to get your students producing English.

  • Vocabulary record / word of the day - You could ask your students to create a video vocabulary record using a12 second clip to record the words and example sentences. You could also do something like this yourself as a kind of 'Word of the Day' channel.

Here's an example:
  • 12 Second Learning Diary - Ask students to record a clip each day saying what they have learned and how they have improved their language.
  • Personal diary - You could ask the students to add a 12 second personal entry each day on anything that concerns them or any personal news they have.
  • 12 Second News Reports - Ask students to read the news ( in English or their own first language) and then produce a 12 Second report on one of the main stories that they are interested in.
  • Present continuous (sound on or off) - You can record 12 second video clips to demonstrate present continuous sentences. You can do this with sound on or with sound off and the students can guess the sentence
Here's an example:

  • Questions for response - You could set up clips with questions and ask your students to respond online. They could also set up a sequence of their own questions for other students to respond to.
  • Guess the object - You or students could give a 12 second description of and object and viewers have to listen and guess what the object is. Getting students to create these clips will help them to be concise and really identify the key concepts behind describing objects.
  • 12 Second sales pitch - A variation on the idea above is to ask students to produce a 12 second video trying to convince users to buy a particular object. Again this helps them to identify key concepts, gives them practice with using language of persuasion and the 12 second limit may well help them to push for faster speaking speeds and better fluency.
  • Moods - You can create video clips of yourself or your students expressing different moods. This can help them to learn the vocabulary of the moods, but you could also use it to get students to predict the cause of the mood ( and practice present perfect; "He's angry because he has just been made redundant." etc.)
  • Sentence each day story - You or your students can build up a story by adding a new sentence to the story each day. You can make this more interesting by using a few props or even costumes. You could get each student to build their own story by adding a sentence each day to their 12 Seconds feed, or you could add a sentence each day, get your students to watch it and decide what they want to happen next.
Here's an example:

What I like about 12 Seconds TV
  • It's free and a really simple idea.
  • I like the restriction of having only 12 seconds to produce something
  • I quite enjoy looking at what some other users have produced (though not all)
  • It's something that would be simple to get students using everyday (as long as they have a web cam on their computer)
  • The site produces an embed code for each video, so you can add the videos to a blog or multimedia materials without having to go to the original site or feed.

What I'm not so sure about
  • It would be really nice to create multiple channels so that you could create a number of different types of 12 second programme feeds (but I guess this is something that only a very few people would want to do).
  • The site isn't really suitable for younger or more culturally sheltered students as some of the people expressing themselves through this medium are a bit 'wacky'.
  • As ever be sure to protect your students privacy and make sure they don't give away too much information about themselves and their location, especially in the case of younger students.
Well I hope this helps you and your ESL EFL students to have some learning fun. I leave you with a question though and welcome your comments on this; Is 12 seconds too short?

Related links:
Activities for students:


Nik Peachey

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