OC: During speaking tests today

For my Oral Communication classes, while I’m busy with other students doing their speaking tests, please do not waste time. Use this time productively. You can do any of the following:

  • Video record a conversation sample (you can use your speaking test as your conversation sample for your final report). You should take your mobile phone with you, and make an audio recording of the test, in case there’s a problem with the video recording; use the audio recorder app.
  • Make a copy of the video onto your own USB memory stick
  • Review your conversation sample, and work on your final report (if you brought your own tablet or laptop computer). See info at the Oral Communication page.
  • Prepare for your own speaking test
  • Do WordEngine & vocabulary review
  • Review Orbits, and do unit 6 dialogue listening
  • Study or do extensive reading for another class

How to use the video cameras:

  • Start the recording with your name and student number.
  • Olympus: Push the record button once to preview, once more to record. Do a sound check.
  • Canon: Red button once to record. Do a sound check.
  • Use the headphone splitter to watch and review with your partner.


Using the videos and cameras

This blog is especially for my students. We use two types of cameras, the red Kodaks, and the black Olympus ones. Both have strengths and weaknesses. The red Kodak cameras do not have earphone jacks, and the internal microphone is quite poor. The black Olympus camera instead has both a mic and earphone jacks, and has excellent stereo microphones.

Red Kodak camera: microphone & Gorilla-pod tripod

Black Olympus recorder: Silver/grey tripod only

Set the black Olympus cameras to video (not audio)

Do the following:

  1. Only take one camera and tripod per group/pair. Take your own smartphone to also record, but use the audio recorder. Every year students have problems with the video cameras, so your smartphone audio will be a backup.
  2. Find a quiet place to record with your partner. Use ONLY English in this time; it’s still class time, and it’s still valuable workplace rehearsal/practice time.
  3. Test the sound and video images. Both people should be in the video together. Make sure the microphone is switched on, and the black Olympus cameras are set to video. Push the “Rec” button once for previewing the video, again to record. The light should not be too bright or too dark.
  4. Start the video with your name and student number
  5. Do your conversation, about 10 minutes.
  6. Note down your camera number
  7. Return to the classroom and make a copy of your video on the computer today, or the next lesson. Never “cut & paste” or delete the file from the SD card
  8. At home, fill in the self-reflection form

Common problems

Red Kodak cameras: Through the year, someone will forget to do a sound check, and record their speaking test with the microphone either switched off or pointed away from the speakers.

Black Olympus cameras: The video does not play with sound on Windows Media Player. WMP is a cheap simple player, and so it lacks some important codecs, including the one used by the Olympus cameras. Consequently, you’ll need to download and use either:

If you still have problems, please ask.