Vlogmas and the twelve edtech tools of Christmas
Is vlogmas a thing in your house? It is in ours thanks to my ten year old daughter. Her current screen craze is following hit lifestyle vloggers like Zoella. If you haven’t heard of her, don’t worry, it probably just means you’re not young enough! This article in The Guardian is a good place to start. But back to Vlogmas. What is it and why should we be interested?
It goes back a couple of years. Apparently the first Vlogmas was launched in 2012 (according to the Urban Dictionary) and basically involves posting short video posts on your youtube channel about all things Christmassy, such as decorating your tree, going to see the Christmas lights, Christmas shopping, Christmas cooking … I think you get the idea. And so what?
Well, they’re quite addictive, like opening the doors on an advent calendar every day and they definitely appeal to teens and tweens. They’re short and easily digestible (again by teens and tweens). They’re really easy to replicate. I know. That’s what my daughter’s up to these days. Her videos last about 30 secs and so far have not been particularly festive. The first one was about a plate of ravioli and cheese she and her brother were eating. I’d share it here, but she’s decided to keep her vlogmas private. Just for her own fun.
And that might be where the link with the English classroom comes in. With the long winter break looming, if you want to find a structure for a bit of fun homework, how about trying a kind of Vlogmas challenge? Now the full-blown 24 days consecutively is not really going to work I don’t think. For one thing, we’ve missed the start date, and for another it’s just too much and just too long. So I’ve decided to use another Christmas meme instead: The 12 vlogs of Christmas.
You know the song, right? Have you ever taught it in class? If not, it’s a fun activity to start with the traditional song (there are so many youtube renditions) and then explore remixes (these need to be vetted, but there’s a great Minecraft one for fans of the blocky game) and create your own. We decided to do a techy version, updating the presents for a modern-day wishlist. Here’s what we did. I’m just going to share the first five days, I’m sure you can imagine the rest!
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a flat screen plasma TV
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two Wii controls and a flat screen plasma TV.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three Nintendo games, two Wii controls and a flat screen plasma TV.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four PSPs, three Nintendo games, two Wii controls and a flat screen plasma TV.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five mobile phones, flçour PSPs, three Nintendo games, two Wii controls and a flat screen plasma TV.
But how does this tie in with vlogging? Well, having established the tradition of the 12 days of Christmas, we can float the idea of the homework challenge: to produce the 12 vlogs of Christmas, in any form, audio, video, slideshow, animation, and on any topic. The important thing is to create 12 posts (in English of course) at some point over the holiday. If you want to try and give the task a structure beyond the classroom, you could open a space for the students to share their posts, a blog, a wiki, even a padlet page. Or simply ask them to complete a log of the topic and format each time they create a post on a google doc. Or alternatively, make twelve different posts in class as an end of term activity. If you can use your students mobile devices all the better.
And finally, to help add variety and a range of different options that will hopefully appeal to different students, here are 12 tech tools that they can choose from (though obviously there are plenty more!):
12 tools for vlogging:
Avatar/image + voice recording (or text to voice option):
Images and captions:
Youtube (record and upload)