Thursday, 7 February 2013

Great Videos part 2

This is part 2 of a short series sharing some of my favourite videos to use in class, along with a variety of suggestions for different lesson activities.  For part 1, see here.

3) Are you Typical?

What it is:
A presentation of population data from National Geographic (trust me - much more interesting than it sounds!), including working out the age, nationality and face of the 'typical' human alive at this time.

In class you could:

  • Use it in a grammar lesson looking at comparatives and superlatives, possibly tied to an IELTS-style writing task.
  • Concentrate on the end of the video and the topics of the environment and inequality.  (Check out this page for a series of posters that present a 2011 version of the famous 'If the world were a village of 100 people' text in infographic form).
  • 'Who's typical in my class?' - students compare themselves to the 'typical' person described in the video and see who comes the closest, or they take an 'average' of the class to describe the kind of person who is typical of their group.  This could then form the basis of their own video.
  • For a really depressing issue, you could look into the gender imbalance mentioned briefly in the video.  This wiki has an introduction to the issue of 'missing women' - women and girls who are never born due to sex-selective abortion, die at birth through infanticide, or die later because they do not have equal access to healthcare.  A fuller picture is on this page from The World Bank, which has full global data for missing women.

4) What are you doing here?

What it is:
A fan tribute to Doctor Who, collecting all known occurrences and variants of the apparently near-ubiquitous line 'What are you doing here?', from William Hartnell (the First Doctor) to David Tennant (the Tenth).

In class you could:

  • (To start with the obvious) use it for drilling.  Every conceivable intonation is here (surprising, accusatory, mime, Dalek...) along with a range of accents, and a lot of transformations.
  • Start students off writing their own sci-fi script, starting with the line 'What are you doing here?'
  • Find out what other cliches of film and television students are aware of, or research them using the TV Tropes site (or similar).  This could then become a discussion or writing activity, for students to try to explain why certain ideas become cliches.
  • The video was first made as a birthday present, and took months of work to assemble.  You could use this angle as a way into the issue of fan obsession (which is often covered in textbooks, but in articles that date really quickly).  To keep it more current, you could ask students to look at fake social networking accounts of people pretending to be celebrities or fictional characters, or find recent news stories of obsessive fans - people who have changed their name / got a tattoo / named their child after a fantasy character...

Or, or, or...  How could you use these videos?

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