Video has been a central part of both learning and teaching since the beginning of the moving picture. With video on the web reaching new record levels, it’s time to have a fresh look at innovative ways video can be used to make teaching a better, richer experience.
Videos are available in abundance
Have a look at the vast choice of video that is available for you to use online, either for free or affordable licensing fees. Today, you can find professional or semi-professional grade video teaching material about practically any topic. Often, this video has been produced by amateurs or hobbyists, sometimes by professionals or universities.
These videos can take all forms and shapes, from full-blown lectures to brief tutorials. German startup Sofatutor has specialized in producing tutoring videos for high school students, the brief videos each deal with one topic. (In one example the Pythagorean theorem is visualized by three tutors painting a large-scale mural on a wall.)
As this example by CommonCraft (LINK) illustrates, a video can be both entertaining and give a brief introduction into a rather obscure topic (here: Twitter):
[COMMON CRAFT TWITTER VIDEO--> oder was anderes] (LINK)
Video supplements in-class teaching
Use of video does not need not need to be limited to in-class use. As opposed to the educational movies shown to learners until few years ago, web videos are available anywhere, anytime. That way, students can access their material outside class and supplement their learning by their own schedule.
We can distinguish between two different kinds of use: One, recorded video is what could also be used in the classroom, a movie that is played back to the students, the traditional way. Two, students can use video conferencing (via Skype or other free services) to meet up virtually and study together. Virtual conferencing has been around as an idea for a long time, but it wasn’t until very recently that broadband, webcams and software became so cheap, ubiquitous and easy to use that it would become mainstream. While conferencing can be quite a distraction, the advantages – especially for a decentralized virtual university – are immense.
Don’t hesitate to also introduce your students to the teaching material used or offered by other schools. Some universities like Harvard (LINK) and MIT (LINK) offer excellent video and other material as part of their efforts to open up their resources. For more information check out Open Educational Resources (LINK).
Shoot your own video
You haven’t found the exact visual material you’ve been looking for? Shoot it yourself. Your students can produce video, too. This has four key advantages:
- More teaching material:
Your archive of available teaching material grows with every video your students produce. Make sure to share the videos online so other teachers and learners can profit from them, too.
- Media competence:
Producing video is a meta-skill that will serve today’s student immensely in the future.
- Better grasp of the topic:
It’s common knowledge that in order to explain a topic well, you have to understand it thoroughly. To produce a brief, crisp explanatory video, your students will have to really grasp their topic.
- Reputation-building for students:
By producing high-quality teaching material, students can build a reputation for themselves, and connect to others working on similar projects within and outside your school. Make sure to clearly state in each video who was involved in the production!
What are your experiences with using online videos in your classes? Please share in the comments!