Sunday 15 June 2008

Would you recommend this?

I wasn't sure whether to post this or not, but it does raise some really interesting questions about a number of issues. The site that I'm referring to is Hot for Words! It is presented by Marina and this is how she describes herself;

"My name is Marina and I am a philologist (one who studies linguistics and etymology). I love to discuss the origins of words."

The interesting motto for the site is 'Intelligence is sexy'. Before you jump to too many conclusions have a look at an example episode of Marina describing the origin of the word 'nuclear'.

Marina is quite obviously using her sex appeal to attract users, but despite that she does seem to be delivering the goods and quite obviously has a huge following with more that 77 thousand subscribers to the Hot for Words YouTube Channel and more that 27 Million views of her videos. That certainly is a lot more than my own YouTube channel!!

I found it really interesting to compare Marina's efforts with those of the BBC and their British Council Innovations award winning 'The Teacher'.

Here's an episode with The Teacher introducing idioms connected with the word 'pie'. I have to say that to watch this on my MAC I had to download 44Mb of Mp4 first!
Click here if you want to do the same comparison

Well I'm not really sure which you prefer but I would be really interested to hear your comments.
  • Which would you recommend to your students????
  • Trainee teachers???
  • Will Marina and Hot for Words be winning next years Innovations award?
There's an interesting clip here telling a bit more about Marina and the origins of the show.

Love to hear what you think so please do post a comment.


Nik Peachey


Larry Ferlazzo said...


I've got to say that I wasn't too impressed with either of them. And I certainly can't imagine "Hot For Words" being used in any classroom!

I prefer, and I suspect that videos modeling real-life situations, combined with follow-up activities, are much more effective online learning tools than "talking heads" (even if those talking heads are sexy or funny).


HotForWords said...

At first I was going to say I preferred the BBC video as it was well produced... but I was hoping he would get into the origin of "Easy as Pie".. but maybe that's because I am so used to doing that myself!

My style of teaching may seem a bit odd to most people.. but sometimes you need to do things differently to grab the (short) attention span of people these days!

As per the Larry comment, you are correct.. once I started actually giving people "homework" assignments and taking requests from them and mentioning them in my videos... my viewership really started to take off! You really do want to involve your audience as much as you can especially when you are online.

Your trusty philologist

Anonymous said...

Sexyness aside, consider this; Marina has a personality that is very engaging, is embracing, endearing and is positive. She is extremely bright and I predict she will be the next Merv Griffin.

Look what he created; top TV game shows involving words. (Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune)

Sexiness may attract viewers, but the words is what keeps them coming back.

Look for her to win more than just an innovation award.

HFW Trusty Student - pedanticKarl

Argon said...

Interactivity is paramount in helping to encourage the student into assimilating the lesson.

Also engaging the class is key to keeping their attention so yes I could easily see Marina's lessons being used by other teachers.

Some of Marina's earlier lessons might notbe as well produced as the BBC version but she's grown in her skills and the latest ones surpass that in production values.

The BBC version only illustrated examples of the phrases about pies. Marina does that and also goes into more depth about the history and orgins of the phrase to give a more comprehensive view.

Unknown said...

Wouldn't use it in MY classroom: unfair competition !
Female teacher, 40