Feb 07 2014

TCEA 2014: How Teachers Can Produce Videos That Students Will Watch

Video can be a powerful medium for delivering instruction. Here are some pointers to help educators make the most of the technology.

Video offers a sensory experience unlike any other — and we can’t get enough.

According to comScore, a source of digital business analytics, the number of videos watched online has increased more than 800 percent since 2007, with consumption “scattered across a number of different devices and platforms.” Cisco Systems’ Visual Networking Index, meanwhile, reports that it would take an individual more than five million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2017.

Countless schools, districts, colleges and universities have embraced the technology and made video instruction a core part of their distance learning, blended learning and flipped classroom programs. But simply having a camera and microphone aren’t enough.

“Books tell the story. Video shows the story,” said Dr. Richard A. Smith, clinical associate professor of instructional design and technology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, in a Thursday morning session at the Texas Computer Education Association’s 2014 convention and exposition. “But that’s where people make mistakes: They try to talk their way through video.” Or worse, he added, they fail to keep in mind the core fundamentals of quality video production.

Video Production 101

To create videos that students and peers actually would watch and learn from, educators should remember these pointers:

  • Slow down. Narration is important and shouldn’t be rushed. Speak at your normal pace, and don’t forget to breathe. It’s also helpful to smile as you speak, as it brightens the tone of the narration and entices viewers to listen closely.
  • Rehearse. Unprepared video participants tend to stutter, lose their train of thought (leading to the dreaded “ums” and “uhs”) and mumble. Organize the key points of the presentation ahead of time and practice delivering them in front of the camera so you know what you’ll say, how you’ll say it and how long it will take to say it before you actually start recording. Also, dress appropriately for the audience.
  • Know the environment and prepare accordingly. Be mindful of where lighting is placed (light from the front, not the rear, to avoid shadows or blinding the viewer if you move from your recording position at any point during filming); where you’re sitting in relation to the camera (and what’s behind you); and aural or visual distractions that could shift the viewer’s attention away from you and what you’re saying.
  • Use a tripod. This will help stabilize the shot and eliminate the camera shaking that even the steadiest of hands can’t always avoid.

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