Usage and Grammar

Q. An author suggests teachers “videotape” themselves presenting a lesson so they can watch and critique their lesson later. I tried changing “videotape” to “video record,” but I think that’s too awkward. And just “record” could mean audio only. Do you think I should blaze a trail for retaining the technically inaccurate “videotape”? Seriously, what term will we use down the road when we’re using who-knows-what technology? Perhaps we should have dug in heels with “film” as a verb. “Film yourself teaching”?

A. Blaze away; we’ll see how many follow. When an expression develops a clear generic meaning and widespread usage in nontechnical contexts, however, it has the potential to outlive its literal meaning. After all, if we can “print” to PDF and “cc” someone on an email, I guess we can videotape a lesson.