Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Any world language teacher knows that video plays an important part in language learning. They offer a unique experience of language that no textbook or worksheet can compare with.
Video can simulate real-life situations and authentic conversations. They also give students the chance to analyze gestures and facial expressions alongside the listening practice.
Because of the abundance of content out there, finding a high-quality video is key. Your tech-savvy students won’t settle for scratchy sound or blurry images in your video. They’ll also see through any cheesy simulations or forced acting.
We’ve searched high and low for the best videos to use in your language class, whether it’s for young learners in an immersion program or high schoolers in a beginner course. We’ll also share how you can make video-viewing a much more engaging experience.
Worried about copyright and being able to share online read-alouds? Rest assured because Scholastic has taken some of our favorite childhood classics and translated them into Spanish and Mandarin.
Not only will your students probably be familiar with these stories, but they’ll also enjoy seeing the storybook come to life with animation.
Music videos aren’t just for teenagers anymore. With original content in Spanish, French, and Mandarin, BASHO & FRIENDS teaches kids language while also exposing them to important aspects of culture.
The funky beats and call and response techniques will instantly hook your students as they pick up key vocabulary. While most of the videos only feature animation, some of the videos feature Basho himself, the cool and charismatic star of the Spanish language videos.
Look up almost any country and they’re bound to have a Disney/Disney Junior channel. Beyond the dubbed cartoon clips and songs (which are great for brain breaks), these channels have more educational content as well.
Our favorite clips are from the international hit Art Attack!, a show that introduces kids to professional art techniques while also teaching them fun craft projects. Because the show is recorded in the original language, students will get authentic language exposure at a level that’s age-appropriate.
You also don’t have to be an art teacher to use them! The variety of projects they cover can go along with any unit or can be used as fun holiday-themed activities.
Linguistica360 are the creators of the hit podcast News in Slow French, a French language program that keeps you up to date with current events at a pace that works for you. The podcast and YouTube channel have now expanded to include Spanish (LatAm and Spain), German, and Italian.
We love the video version of Slow News because it adds the article as a visual aid and includes in-the-moment translations for potentially tricky vocabulary.
Make sure to also check out the “Ritmos Latinos” series. These videos highlight the cultural impact of several classic Latin American songs at a level that's appropriate for beginner and intermediate learners.
Babbel’s YouTube channel offers a little bit of everything. It has the funny clickbait-y type videos, but it also offers up some interesting explanations about accents, false friends, and other linguistic phenomenon.
Too often, students start learning a language without getting more background on what that process looks like. That’s why we love Babbel’s most recent video series of “Ask a Linguist,” which delves into the actual science of how languages work.
We also recommend you take a look at Babbel Magazine, their online blog with fun and interesting articles about vocabulary and culture.
As one of the most popular language learning apps, Duolingo is getting into the video creation game. Their channel features great interviews with linguists and a fun Spanish video podcast that illustrates real short stories.
Most recently, they’ve uploaded a music series with international artists singing a fresh take on a classic song in their language. Every video includes lyrics in the original language that play along with the music. Your students will love the modern sound of the music and you will love automatically becoming the cool teacher, win win!
Remember the Rosetta Stone commercials on TV? Well they’re still around and they’re no longer just a CD collection from your childhood.
The Rosetta Stone YouTube channel offers a variety of quality content. There’ are short one-minute videos that cover everything from terms of endearment to slang. Rosetta Stone also features languages that you might not normally see, like Dutch and Swedish.
We especially like their videos that explore traditions such as music, food, and holidays. Because isn't learning about culture a big part of how we fall in love with a language?
Easy Languages is a media project whose mission is to “help people learn languages through authentic street interviews and real conversations.” This channel has the widest selection of languages, with everything from Swahili to Vietnamese.
We love this channel because every video is subtitled in the local language and in English. Students of any level will appreciate the extra bit of help!
Some of the languages even have their own channel, where they dive deep into topics like geography and cultural quirks (i.e. "Weird Things Germans Do").
Take Video Viewing From Passive to Active With Edpuzzle
So you’ve found the perfect video and have figured out how do you deal with YouTube being blocked at your school, now what?
To keep your students from tuning out, Edpuzzle is your perfect answer. All you have to do is paste the link of the YouTube video into Edpuzzle’s search bar, and off you go!
This where you the teacher get superpowers – add your own questions, comments and audio so your students are actually interacting with the video rather than just passively watching. Creating these opportunities to pause, interpret, and replay allow for maximum engagement when learning.
Your student will feel like they’re having a conversation with a native speaker and that they’re fully immersed in the target language. Doesn’t that sound a thousand times better than having them sit through a lecture?
Edpuzzle lets you turn a great video into an interactive video lesson. As a bonus, you’ll get a summary of your students’ results at the end of the video to see how they did.
Use Edpuzzle in your language class and take your students anywhere around the world!