Before the internet, finding good audio content for your class meant either recording it yourself or using your VCR to record a video clip of something on TV. Nowadays, however, the internet offers a wealth of listening options if you have the patience to sift through the mountains of material out there. To help you sift through that mountain, I have compiled a list of my favorite places to go to find video and audio.
1. The New Yorker
Short videos (3 to 20 minutes) on a variety of topics, both fiction and nonfiction.
Some of my favorite series are The Comma Queen (grammar and punctuation), The Screening Room, and The New Yorker Presents. . Many of these videos feature dialogues or interviews and the language ranges from formal to informal.
2. The Smithsonian Magazine videos
Very short videos (some under 2 minutes) to longer 25 minute videos delivered in natural but very clear English on a variety of subjects.
Video lengths are clearly marked under each video and videos are organized into the following loose topics: Smithsonian Channel (lots of different topics), Innovation (lots of different ideas), Travel (2 to 25 minute videos about places from all over the world), Arts and Culture (lots of different topics here from fashion to film), History (historical footage and reenactments), Science (Mostly nature and technology related) and Ask Smithsonian (1 to 2 minute videos answering all kinds of questions)
This is a food website that I usually visit to find recipes but they also have videos. If you click on the video section of the website you can find everything from the history of mac and cheese to the story behind the Big Gay Ice Cream store.
There are also stories about food sustainability and international foods.
I really liked this site because even though the focus is on food, they are connected to all kinds of other topics and range from humorous to practical to serious. I don’t know about you, but I love food and I eat it everyday. It is something we all have in common no matter where we come from or how old we are.
4. The History Channel
I have used this to teach students about American history so they can pass the TOEFL exam. The TOEFL focused mainly on American culture so having some backgrounds knowledge about pilgrims, Louis and Clark etc. can help students to answer questions faster and more accurately.
This website can be difficult to navigate because the videos that are listed up front are long, TV show episodes that are sometimes only loosely related to history.
The better, shorter clips that focus on specific historical events or periods require a trip to the search bar and I haven’t found a way to browse easily.
5. The National Geographic Magazine
Short videos mostly focusing on science and nature. In addition to narrated videos, there are a variety of videos without words that could be used with lower level classes to practice storytelling, vocabulary or grammar.
The National Geographic website is very visual with lots of beautiful photographs and written stories. If you scroll down past the written stories you will find the video section and can browse there.
6. The Atlantic Monthly Videos
10 to 20 minute videos on a variety of different topics including controversial and international topics but with a focus on different aspects of American culture.
7. National Public Radio
All kinds of stories from humor to news. You can find stories about life in America on “This American Life” or stories about science on “Science Friday”.
They even have great short animated videos in which normal people tell stories about themselves in “StoryCorps”.
Vimeo has some great short films, music videos and documentaries. They are generally very well filmed and edited. It is a bit similar to YouTube but the content is more carefully controlled.
This is a great site to get lost in exploring great video
9. University web sites
I have linked up the lecture section of the University of Cambridge's website but many universities have websites that include videos of some of thier lectures as well as student videos.
These are great for college study skills courses or any course in which students need to practice note taking in a lecture setting.
TV commercials organized into 15 different industry categories and each of those is split into several different subcategories making it very easy to find exactly what you are looking for from apparal to law .
These can be great for beginning learners because the language is generally brief and vocabulary can be easily learned before watching.
This is a fascinating site that allows you to listen to radio stations from around the world in real time. It also has personal radio stories, station jingles, and historical stories from around the world.
It is particularly cool because it features a globe that you can zoom in/out and rotate. I have to be careful here or I can lose hours just jumping around the globe.
10 Ideas for How to Use Audio and Video in YOUR Classroom
Going to these websites can cause you to lose hours if not days of your life. I meant to complete this post in about 1/3 of the time it actually took be because I kept getting sucked into the vidoes. There is so much good stuff out there! I hope you and your students have as much fun watching videos as I have. What are some of your favorites?
Hi, I'm Kia.
I help ESL / EFL teachers create fun, effective courses that students love.