Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Virtues of Video


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I recently offered a workshop on "flipping the classroom" and it has me thinking more and more about the virtues of instructional videos.  Even if you are not ready for a full classroom flip, instructional videos are a great way to boost students’ academic performance.  The key is to create 5-10 minute recordings that students can easily access.  Videos can be used for everything from remediation to advanced learning, reviewing to previewing, to sharing insightful demonstrations. 

Do you strive to meet the diverse needs of students in your course?  Videos can be posted online to provide remediation for students needing a review of foundational concepts.  And for your advanced students, more challenging topics can be posted to help take their learning to the next level.  Many of these resources already exist on sites like TedEd and Kahn Academy. 

Do you waste a lot of time at the beginning of lab going over the procedures for the day?  Try posting a lab preview before class to prepare students to better utilize class time.  Or, perhaps the need exists to review key ideas from a class meeting.  Posting quick reviews of the “big ideas” from the week can help focus students and give them a better mental structure for information retention.

Is there a process or procedure that stumps students every semester?  Posting a video demonstration of difficult tasks is a great way for students to be more independent when completing practice exercises.  The video is available 24/7 for review as many times as needed, and you will find that most students highly value this resource. 

Afraid you don’t have what it takes to make videos?  All you need is one of our easy-to-use webcams, a quiet space for recording, and a plan.  Don’t worry making videos look professionally produced.  One only needs to browse You Tube to see that popularity doesn’t equal production.  And don’t forget, the Instructional Technologies team is available to help you get started, so give it try.  Think about an issue that your students struggle with and consider whether a short video might go a long way toward tackling the problem.

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