Using Vines in the Classroom by Peter Fogarty

This month I have found a new art form and I am in love. I have discovered an app for the phone which lets you to make 6 second long videos to share with the class and the world. Six seconds may not seem like a lot of time to use for a teaching point, but the video loops on itself constantly.

Vines were originally developed by Twitter and can be found at . I thought it would make an excellent way to add some more interactivity into the classroom. It means that as you are developing a drawing over the course of a lesson, you can take minute videos of it and then create a loop which shows the work developing. A sped up version of a lesson.

Another idea I worked on was to use it to create 6 second idioms to explain different popular phrases in a cartoon like form. The great thing about the software tools is that you can use it as a stop-motion camera. It tells you where the paper was in the previous shot, letting you move it just a little each time, making the appearance of movement.

Another way of using it would be for word of the day. You choose a word the students need to learn about, and create the same word on different types of papers, or in different colours, preferably with the words meaning. It then flashes as a loop around and around, and then you can discuss the word and how to use it in everyday life.

I use Vines for self-expression. It can be tied into creating a focus for the lesson. For example I created a funny 6 second video using over 10 different pumpkins growing in my back garden. On each pumpkin I placed a sticky note. This meant I could write a pumpkin themed message – perfect for Halloween lessons or romance. My message was “You will always be a special pumpkin – Have a great day!”.

How can I extend a students use of it in English? There are several different approaches I plan to try this year. I might tell them a story and then ask them to create the story as a 6 second vine, with a beginning, a middle and an end. I might get them to animate a story using the characters. Another great way is to get them to use it for information writing – how to make a cup of tea in 6 seconds. What is the order I would need to do? This can also be done to explain science lessons. They recreate the experiment as a vine.

The great thing about creating a vine a day is how creative you suddenly become. The more Vines I created the more I saw around me in my everyday life. I think that other English teachers would also enjoy using Vines as a way to make their teaching a lot snappier and fun. Groups of students work could be presented together to give all the sides to an argument.

I also plan to choose different highly talented students to turn their drawings we do in my lessons into Vines, showing people how they drew them from scratch. It will help to boost motivation and also encourage students to decide which pieces of work in the class they feel are worthy of being show cased at the end of the lesson. The great thing being that this an instant and public feedback of all the good work going on in the class.

The final use of the vine is a random selector. If you put all the students’ first names into a 6 second vine and then randomly click stop, a student is selected to answer a question or bring in a discussion point. Likewise, it could be used to choose the final activity of the lesson. The students suggest lots of things they would like to do to be rewarded for working hard in class, and then the teacher can click a suitable reward via the vine.

I would like to know how other teachers would use the 6 second Vine videos in their classroom to boost learning further. It is fun; it is slightly addictive, as you feel you can create yet another fun masterpiece each morning and certainly a way of getting students focused and looking forward to each of your lessons.