Aug 17 2017

5 Ways Video Can Foster Teaching and Learning

K–12 districts use cameras on phones, tablets and notebooks to extend classroom learning, confer with experts and arrange conferences with colleges and prospective employers.

Video has become an agent of change in the classroom.

Janet Zanetis, managing director of the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), says today’s students often spend more time learning with YouTube videos than textbooks.

“It used to be that students would use stand-alone video cameras to create content for morning news announcements or to record a football game, but now with video on smartphones and tablets, students have access to video in all aspects of learning,” Zanetis says.

At Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas, teachers and the district’s nearly 28,000 students now have access to videoconferencing sessions via WebEx from Cisco Systems.

Drew Lane, executive director of information and communication technology, says the district upgraded its infrastructure when it deployed its one-to-one program about four years ago. It added more bandwidth to its internet connections and increased the capacity of its wireless infrastructure, he says.

To prepare for what’s next, Lane advises districts to budget roughly five years into the future.

“What we try to do is move forward in five-year increments so we can respond as circumstances change,” he says. “By making the upgrades, we had a lot of confidence in our network when the district decided to deploy WebEx and Spark districtwide.”

With classroom technology use on the rise, here are five ways K–12 districts can use video cameras to enhance teaching and learning.

1. Make the Most of Class Time with Prerecorded Videos

The CILC’s Zanetis says teachers are using video to create a flipped classroom in which they prerecord a lesson during a break or after school. Instead of taking up precious classroom time on formal lessons, students can view the videos over their lunch hour or at home in the evening. “This makes it possible for teachers to spend classroom hours digging deeper into the subject matter, expanding on the original lesson,’’ she adds.

2. Expand the Classroom Through Interactive Sessions with Experts

At Shawnee Mission, Dr. Christy Ziegler, assistant superintendent of innovation and performance, says teachers use WebEx video sessions to connect students with experts at museums, art galleries, and state and local government. CILC also has a searchable database of more than 2,000 standards-based live video programs from experts at museums, art galleries, zoos and science centers, according to Zanetis. Many of these programs are free to educators.

3. Refine Teaching Techniques by Recording Video

While teachers have used video for several years to improve their own teaching techniques, Zanetis says there’s still much teachers can learn by recording themselves. There’s no longer a need to deploy a camera in the back of the classroom. Zanetis says a lot of teachers simply turn on the video cameras in their smartphones or tablets and record as they go. Recording sessions also alter the tone of the classroom, she says, noting that students tend to behave better when classes are recorded.

4. Connect Students to Opportunities with Videoconferencing

At Shawnee Mission, guidance counselors set up WebEx sessions for students to explore college opportunities and potential vocations. Ziegler says, in the future, students can use WebEx to better target their college searches, physically visiting only the schools that most interest them.

5. Let Students Explore Their Interests Through Video

Students at Shawnee Mission use video to explore their interests, Ziegler says. In one case, students interviewed NFL players to learn more about the preparation it takes to become a professional athlete. In another example, elementary school students curious about childhood illnesses connected with a local doctor who explained that children with liver disease don’t always have many options. The students were so intrigued that they built a model liver with a 3D printer for which they won a 2015-2016 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Honorable Mention Award.

“Access to video can give the students an added dimension to learning that they’ve never had before,” Ziegler points out.

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