Empowering New YouTube Content Creators

Meagan Kaiser, Nanzan University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Technology, learner autonomy, lifelong learning, project based learning
  • Learner English level: Intermediate to advanced
  • Learner maturity: University
  • Preparation time: Varies
  • Activity time: Four or five class sessions
  • Materials: Smartphones, computers with Internet accessibility, ingredients, and any necessary cooking equipment

YouTube and other social media sites have created an unprecedented communication revolution in only a few years’ time. Distance is no longer the barrier that it once was and access to not only authentic language materials, but also real people on a global scale is a fact of life. The activity detailed below uses the example of pioneering communicators like Ochikeron (with her CreateEatHappy channel) and others to show students how Japanese are using their second languages in interesting ways and then provides a pathway for students to create their own similar online content.


At least one student in each group should have a smartphone and a YouTube account or be willing to set one up for the project. 

Step 1: Students prepare for the activity by watching 2-3 videos from Ochikeron’s YouTube channel, CreateEatHappy in small groups. Encourage students to make note of the language patterns and scene settings/camera angles in her videos.  Ochikeron's channel is especially good for this because she adheres to a very clear format each time.

Step 2:Talk with the students about the process of scripting and storyboarding scenes,and about how having a channel like this could be a platform for improving language skills while connecting with the world. 

Step 3:Review negotiation phrases such as “Why don’t we...” and “That’s a good idea, but how about...” as appropriate for the level of the students.  Then, have students form small groups again and use these terms to discuss in English what kind of food they will make for their own video,as well as who will be responsible for bringing any necessary items or props.

Step 4:Students work together in small groups to create their storyboard and scene scripts. Walk around the room and assist groups during this time.

Step 5:Students shoot their video scene by scene on a smartphone.

Step 6:Students upload their footage to YouTube and use the YouTube Video Editor to connect the scenes, createtitle and ingredients pages, and add subtitles.

Step 7:Students share their videos with their classmates in a “mini film festival” and take part in a discussion/question and answer session.


 Media Literacy Extension: In addition to understanding the basic concepts of storyboarding, scripting, and video creation/editing techniques, this project also presents a substantial platform for opening discussion about copyright law for images and video, creative commons licenses, online privacy, benefits and drawbacks of digital communities, and global English as it relates to online content creation.  Because the students are actually creating content, these discussions become much more relevant.


This lesson was created as part of a Media English elective course in Fall 2013 with a small class of students ranging in level from low intermediate (roughly TOEIC 400) to near native returnees. The main objective was to work step by step with the students to develop skills that would allow them to continue the development of their English skillsbeyond their time at university in a realistic and engaging way.  Among the students who participated in the class, there was strong evidence of improvement in media creation skills, self-motivated engagement, and a sincere willingness to help each other learn. English improvement was harder to gauge, but it is felt that a positive outcome was achieved toward the larger goal of encouraging lifelong language learning through content creation.

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