Tech for Teach

Video Podcasting for language learning

I teach a Video Podcasting course at one of the top universities here in Japan, and on the first day, yesterday, students were asking whether I had a background in film school. I chuckled, explained that the course was not so much about video making as it was using English in a way that allowed for reflection (on the content) and discussion (during preparation) and revision (during the editing process). Besides, techniques are changing so fast that I am not sure experience in a film school would apply so much.

We use very simple lighting. I have considered trying out green screen technology, but have found it better to focus on keeping the tech simple, and focus on the story. This last year the problem of scarcity of cameras  disappeared. Almost every phone has a good enough camera for video podcasting. Nonetheless, it is sometimes good to use a dedicated video camera. I have found that my favorite (I’ve been trying them for about 8 years now) is the Zoom brand. They have great connectivity (ports in and out) and best, use regular batteries. The one I have been using the past 3 years is the Zoom Q3HD.

362143-zoom-q2hdBut Zoom have come out with a new one, the Q2HD which costs $200 in the US but only Y12,000 here in Japan. Review. They got rid of the USB cable (SD card is easier) and encased the microphones in a ball, and made it all smaller and lighter, and cheaper. I bought 2 last week and they work great. Full HD if I want it (I prefer running at 720p, especially with lots of activity because the frame rate doubles to 60fps). Watch out for some video in an upcoming post.

wevideoThe Q2HD loses some of its luster if edited with a program like Windows Movie Maker. Then there is iMovie, but the school didn’t have the software, until we got iPads, which streamlines things immensely. The other alternative I am trying out this semester is using WeVideo to edit online. Note their excellent Educational pricing. Will keep you updated. But in the meantime, if you want to see some classy results, try languagejapan.

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