For my first post on this space, I would like to share my very first use of technology in a classroom. This consisted of a forty-minute lesson in a high-school class of about thirty students during my first practicum, and I decided to use a three-minute video which I downloaded from youtube. This video-sharing website emerged in 2005, and today, it is broadly known and visited by millions of web surfers all around the world. Its once revolutionary concept of “anyone can upload anything so everyone can watch”, is today a standard in the internet-based entertainment industry and it can provide with an unlimited access to creative visual instructional resources. Any type of videos, going from Harlem Shake to interviews with prestigious scientists, can be found in this website. And any video can go viral. And it can make anyone famous.

The first challenge presented by my associated teacher was to present something related to my country of origin, Mexico. I decided not to prepare the usual show-and-tell about Mexican traditions, population, music, and so forth. Instead, I chose to base my lesson on the adventures of the California-based band Ginger Ninjas. Firstly, because they rode their bicycles from North California to South Mexico (5000 miles). Secondly, because they used their bikes as the source of energy for their amplifiers in all of their shows, and thirdly, because I had the opportunity to pedal in one of their gigs. This is in my opinion the kind of visual tool that may relate to teenage learners with a sense of excitement and curiosity. It contains real English and it presents a challenging while-watching classroom task.

As a warm-up activity we brainstormed different kinds of hobbies individually. After that, students interviewed each other in pairs about their hobbies. They reported their findings to the class. As an instructor, I monitored this activity providing feedback and vocabulary, and I also made sure that students came up with hobbies such as music and sports. Then I provided the class with the main task: a questionnaire which they had to fill out while watching the video. The questions were related to the interviews of the band members and to data presented about the tour. As a post-task, students had to make teams of four and share their answers. They reported to the class and I provided them with feedback and corrections. Finally, there was a follow-up activity consisting of creating a poster to announce a forthcoming Ginger Ninjas show. The class was delivered totally in English and students were not expected to understand all the words and expressions used by the band members. Instead, they were instructed to gather essential information, and express their opinions. The use of video in this class was successful and it took them by surprise. TED, which is one of my favorite websites, contains hundreds of talks on a number of topics going from the axioms of origami to the latest creations in tridimensional organic sculpture. These may as well provide with real English within diverse contexts to enhance conversation in the classroom. Of course there may be at least 47 different alternatives to youtube or TED to plan fun video supported lessons.