Life on the Learning Curve

I have a confession to make. As I get older, my learning style more and more resembles an eight-year old boy’s. You know, push buttons until something works. That, coupled with my determination to maintain a beginner mentality by trying new things, keeps me solidly on a learning curve for something or other.

This week, the curve was YouTube. I decided to learn how to upload a video. There are already more than 100,000,000 videos there, so how hard could it be? For my experiment, I decided to work with an introduction to Let’s Go that I’d created in PowerPoint. The first day, I had to add narration and some music. After my pushing buttons approach was unsuccessful, I asked my Twitter PLN for advice and was directed to some lovely Audacity tutorials. Adding narration and music took another two days–it was a long slide show.

Then, I started pushing buttons again to convert PowerPoint to video. I’d bookmarked a couple of free conversion tools, and I started with iSpring. It was surprisingly easy to convert my 35 minute presentation to a 35 minute video. I clicked on the upload button on YouTube….and nothing happened. Turns out you can only upload 10 minute videos (which I now know is written right on the upload page).

Since nobody in their right mind would want to sit through a 30+ minute PowerPoint video anyway, this was probably a good thing. So, the next day, I created a shorter presentation from the slides. Added new narration with the music (much faster this time!), and then pushed the iSpring button to convert everything to shockwave flash. Success!

Headed back over to YouTube and hit the upload button. YouTube sent me a nice congratulations message, and then informed me that the video was still processing. It seemed to take a long, long time to process, but as this was my first video I figured that might be the norm. I finally went to bed, looking forward to enjoying my first video with my morning coffee.

Instead, I awoke to a polite apology from YouTube for not being able process my video after all. Apparently, all video formats are not created equal, and YouTube doesn’t really “do” shockwave flash.

I turned to Moyea, another converter I’d downloaded during a free offer but had never tried. This time, I looked at the list of acceptable formats on the YouTube site, and then matched it to those listed on Moyea. Windows media looked like a winner.

So, my first video took six days to upload to YouTube. I know it looks pretty basic, considering, but I’m just happy it worked!

Since the original presentation was over 30 minutes long, I had more than enough material for a second video. This one only took two days from start to finish–I’m improving!

Next, I’ll get a real video camera and film some of my class activities (with real people!) and return to the bottom of the learning curve while I learn how to work with that format. In the meantime, I’ve added the barbsaka YouTube channel to my ‘Be my friend” links in my sidebar.

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

About Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught English and ESL in the US, and EFL in Japan. An EFL teacher and teacher trainer since 1985, she has conducted workshops throughout Asia, the USA and Latin America. Barbara’s motto is ‘Always try new things’, so these days, when she’s not teaching, writing, or giving workshops, she’s exploring the potential of new technologies for collaboration and professional development. You can often find Barbara online working with teachers around the world as Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute ( or on her new blog for English teaches who work with young learners, Teaching Children English.

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2 Responses

  1. ;-) Nice video – I don’t think I could really express how big my smile is on “hi, how are you, I’m fine” I like that you are giving a background on how the book is created. Very interesting for teachers.

    I don’t know if this will help… but one of the easiest ways to deal with videos from powerpoint is um, actually already on your computer. If you click on start – go to programs and then look for Windows Movie Maker, you’ll find a very straightforward program there – where you can add both slides (you turn the powerpoint slides into jpegs) and then the audio. You can mix and cut and edit etc.

    ;-) Not as flashy as the other programs but youtube.

    Oh.. we’re now at the colours song! and… purple, I just sang that as I was writing!


    • Barbara Barbara says:

      Thanks, Karenne. I actually thought of you when I included that song :)

      I actually considered calling this “What I’ve Learned from my PLN: ASK” since if I had asked first, you (and others) would have told me about the cool Movie Maker button, and saved me several steps.

      But, I learned a lot…. :)