Sunday, March 11, 2012

8 ways of using Jing with your students

I have been inspired to write this post after I won the scholarship announced by Russell Stannard winning USD 600 to help me attend the IATEFL Glasgow conference. The task was to send in details of a lesson in which Jing is used.

When I saw the requirements of the scholarship I felt my hands tied as wasn't sure which idea to send in as I had been using Jing for so many different purposes. So in this post I will list some of the ways I have been using this wonderful tool, including the idea that I won the scholarship with.

1. Developing learner autonomy and control over their learning
I have used Jing to show and explain how to use to work out the meaning of different collocations, check their own use of collocations, use online dictionaries when their homework was to pick maximum 7 words/word combinations they would definitely want to know the meaning of from their free reading. In the Jing video I showed them both the right strategies and tricks that help them find the meaning they are looking for, how the word is used in different contexts and how to check themselves if they wanted to use the new words in speaking or writing. I did this using the latest words/collocations we worked with during the lesson. Being able to make such a screencast immediately after the lesson allowed me to work with words that they asked about during the lesson. These two factors: immediacy and catering for personal need, I find, ensures deeper understanding and retention of the new words/collocations over a longer period of time. Here a quick example I did with a tool that is, I believe a more advanced version of Jing called, SNAGit, but for these purposes it works exactly in the same way as Jing:

2. I also used Jing to explain parents and children how to use different online learning tools, such as voki, which kids loved playing around with during the lesson. Here's the first part of what I did to explain voki. This was made for false beginner children, so it is in Hungarian.

3. I often make screencasts revisiting the words/expressions/structures they needed help with in terms of meaning, usage and pronunciation, including a few mini-exercises they had to do with them. Students' feedback has been very positive and they all said how useful it was for them to hear the words they had problems with in class again, and giving them opportunities to practise them on their own in a personalised way.

Here's an example highlighting mostly pronunciation features that came up during the lesson: Although we worked a little bit on the pronunciation of these connected speech features during the lesson, the feedback from the students was surprising. Most of them said that it was “quite shocking” for them to hear how they were pronounced. This signalled to me the need for a lot of reinforcement work even if it has been covered in class in different ways. I often fell in the trap of thinking that 'we have already covered the pronunciation of certain words/expressions, so I'm pretty sure they are OK with them' and 'they are not that difficult anyway'. Well, the reality shows that it's not quite so. It seems that they need a great amount of immediate reinforcement and Jing allows me to do this instantly within minutes after the lesson. Another teaching strategy I have developed is that I type up the lesson notes for the students during the lesson. So at the end of the lesson, before I make the Jing screencast all I have to do is to edit my notes a bit and add a few exercises depending on the type of problems sts had determining the teaching aim of the material made in an instant.

This is another screencast I did for a false beginner student who I asked to bring a song he liked and wanted to work with in the lesson, and it was “I have a dream” by Abba. For the lesson, amongst other things, I made a gap-fill exercise with Hot Potatoes for him. While he was working with the text I asked him to try and work out the meaning of some of the expressions and/or ask me questions about the ones he wants to know. I used Jing in this case to make a screencast explaining the exercises he had to do. As he was false beginner, most of the explanations are in Hungarian:

4. Another favourite of my teens was when we used Jing to rap. Here the procedure was again within a typical framework of 'giving them a model – analyising it – practising it – producing one together in class – producing their own'. In this case I used Jing to send them the one they produced together rapping it to them, while they had the task of highlighting stressed words in bold. Then using the same language structure they were asked to write their own rap and send it back using Jing. Not everyone did it, of course, but the use of an online tool was very motivating for them as well as allowed them to share their rap songs with much pride.

5. After some time of using Jing as a teaching tool, I encouraged learners to use it to collaborate with each other. I asked sts to choose an online tool that helps them along their studies. Then they used Jing to explain and share their thoughts on these tools explaining how they use them. You could also save these links on a class wiki or a class blog to make it easily accessible to them. Alternatively, students can also send these to each other. The same can be done with their favourite videos, including how they found the link, and explaining why they like them giving them extra speaking practice.

6. Another typical way I use Jing is to give feedback on their writing. The following example is from an online exam preparation course where writing a formal letter is a typical exam task.
7. Reading aloud is a type of practice activity that has proved to be very effective in my own language learning too, helping me with my pronunciation, automatisation of typical language chunks and believe it or not, with my speaking skills in general. After showing my students a few examples of how I did it when I was studying English, I encourage them to try out similar techniques. In the great old times I used a tape-recorder to record myself, listen back, analyse, re-record, etc. but in the Jing era these things are so much easier. Basically I use Jing to send sts a text that I read outloud. Their task is to either mark the pauses in the text, or to mark the stressed words. Then they do the same with a text of their choice (could also be a text written by them) in which they have to mark the pauses first, then the stress in each chunk and finally read it out recording it with Jing, sending them back to me. In class then we analyse the recordings sts are happy to share with each other.

8. Focusing on new language integrating it with pronunciation work, writing and speaking. In a nutshell this is the way I used Jing in the lesson that won the scholarship. If you would like a full description of it, please check out this link.

So why has Jing become one of my favourite teaching tools?
  • It allows me to give sts immediate reinforcement work on any language points we have worked with during the lesson
  • Because it allows my teaching to be personalised, focusing on the things MY sts need. The homework is based on questions sts had and issues that came up during the lesson, not just the typical course-book exercises that may not fill in all the language gaps sts want and need at that given moment.
  • Not only does it help me highlight language points but it also gives sts further listening practice. i.e. the lesson almost continues with the teacher outside the classroom walls.
  • It is a versatile tool that gives opportunities to integrate different language points, features and skills all in one at the same time, a way of teaching I believe in.
  • Another great feature I love about it is that it helps learners learn in a collaborative way, it helps teaching and learning go on after the f2f lesson.
Where to download Jing from for free?

Where to find the teacher training videos on how to use Jing?

And it is, in fact, such a wonderful tool that many of my students started to use them in their professional lives too. Yippee!


  1. Congratulations on winning Russell's scholarship Erika. I'm a big fan of Russell's training videos as well. I love Jing, but I have to admit, I'm loving Snagit more now. The new version allows you to make much longer videos and the tools and effects are fantastic for editing your screen captures.

    I love your ideas for integrating Jing into your curriculum. Thanks for the inspiration.


  2. Hi Stewart,
    Thanks for dropping by and making useful comments. and yes, you are right about SNAGit allowing you to do so much more. Though, i think as an introductory toot to screencasting Jing is somewhat easier to use simply because it gives you the basics of what you need, it's very accessible and easy to see where you have to click, what the next step is, etc. Of course, the fact that is for free makes it more competitive in a way for teachers who need an initial taster and some practice first before they go on to using sth more complex. I DO love SNAGit, because it has so much more potential. I am planning to come back with detailed frameworks of how both tools can be used for different teaching aims. I think they have tremendous potential!


  3. Great Stuff Erika! Congratulations! Some new ideas for me to spread here. I will add your link to our NING - the place we do our PD and collaborate over several campuses and all the courses in the Department.

    1. Hi Yvonne,
      Thank you for adding my link to your NING. People have started to come in from your site and check out the Jing teaching ideas. Let me know if there's anything I could do for you.
      More ideas on using Snagit will come soon.

  4. HI Yvonne,
    I'm glad you found some new ideas for your NING PD site. It sounds fabulous to have such a site where several campuses can collaborate. Thanks a lot for adding my link to it it too.
    I find myself making new jing screencasts almost every day, and it's funny how they evolve and later, when I think back, I realise how many ways I've used it. I'm pretty sure you will all find the same.
    Happy Jinging!


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