I’m a YouTube star! Apparently!
I’ve been making video English lessons for my popular YouTube channel for nearly 10 years. I’ve produced over 800 videos and they have been watched over 20 million times! I have over 150,000 subscribers, too.
Some would claim to be YouTube stars or “influencers” with this social media presence. I claim no such thing and suggest that I am merely an enthusiastic English teacher who has found a way to reach out the students around the world who want and need to learn English.
I’m an English teacher! Definitely!
I’ve been teaching English for over 15 years, and since 2006 have taught English to 191 students in 42 countries around the world using Skype. I’ve seen some impressive advances in technology over this time and I’ve been using this technology to help my students better learn, remember, and use what I’ve been teaching them.
The problem with passive learning
The problem with video English lessons is that they provide only a passive learning experience for students. The passive learning experience fails to fully engage the student and fails to fully activate the aspects of the language learned.
It’s been proven that active learners are more engaged and have more fun with their studies. Active learners are more successful than passive learners, too.
Many studies have shown that active learning makes students more successful. I know from my own experience of making my video English lessons, building my websites, and creating my English material, that active learning has made me more successful than passively listening to lectures about how to do things.
An overview study by Freeman et. al. (2014) convincingly demonstrated that in classes where lectures were given, students were far more likely to fail at their studies than those who enjoyed active study.
So, have I been wasting my time this past decade in making my video English lessons, and have students been wasting their time in watching them?
Of course not! Actually, making the videos has been a great deal of fun, and I’ve learned so many new skills in the process – in an active way, naturally.
I’m sure that in each of the 20 million views of my video English lessons the viewer both enjoyed what they watched and learned at least a little. Yet, it does not detract from the fact that my video English lessons are passive and for a long time now I have known that a more active approach was required.
Activating the language
I’ve been studying e-learning course design for some time. I have also invested a lot of money in the necessary technology. Finally, after a long period of trial and error, I have also settled on a format for all my future material.
The HTML5 format I have chosen provides the student with a visually-stimulating environment, augmented by soundbytes, downloadable resources, self-test interactive quizzes, timelines, and glossaries. After the language has been introduced by the video English lesson, the student enters the English Activation Pack where the language is activated.
By using HTML5, the English Activation Packs can be enjoyed on any device from a smartphone to a desktop computer. The resources are delivered from the Amazon cloud for maximum speed and reliability, too.
These self-contained courses are now of sufficient quality that I can begin to spread the word about them. As I learn more about producing them and improve my skills, actively, of course, I aim to make each one more engaging than the last.
Seeing is believing
I could go on all day explaining the benefits of my video packs, but this passive approach fails to do justice to them. Far better for you to see for yourself in an active way.
Pay What You Want!
I am an English teacher and I want to teach English. I want to teach English and I want my high-quality English learning material to reach and benefit as many students as possible, regardless of their financial situation. For this reason, I decided to adopt a Pay What You Want (PWYW) pricing structure for all of my downloadable English teaching material.
- Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. PNAS, 111(23), 8410-8415. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111