Video is one of the most powerful digital teaching tools available. Giving the students a visual and auditory tool with the ability to go through the material at their own pace and rewind when needed is fantastic. Most of my own tech professional development comes from online videos.
Unfortunately, video can also be a ridiculously time consuming endeavor. I know teachers who have spent over 10+ hours creating a 1 minute video. That’s 10 hours of prep, for 1 minute of class time. It can also be one of the most misused tools as well. Have you ever tried to watch a static video of someone lecturing for an hour? I’m falling asleep just thinking about it. Also, if you need to do serious editing of your video, you may need some technical expertise as well.
There are a lot of tools to create video. QuickTime, iMovie, Loom, Screencastify, WeVideo, Flipgrid all allow for quick video creation and editing. Serious video editing will require iMovie, Adobe Premiere and more.
Video is a fantastic tool, just be aware of some of its pitfalls.
Linking to other people’s videos takes very little time and effort.
The time needed to create your own videos will vary widely. Simple videos can be shot quickly. Complex and highly engaging movies take a long time. If you are the Steven Spielberg perfectionist, you might need to give up teaching and go into directing because you won’t have time for teaching.
Access for Students and Parents
These files are a little more difficult to access and may require a little extra tech expertise. They require Google Drive, Classroom, or a web site like Flipgrid to link to. If you are creating a lot of videos or long videos, you will need to upload them to YouTube or another streaming service. Video files can also be huge size-wise if not saved properly, making it really slow for watching them.
Updating and Modifying
Here is one of the big pitfalls of video. Once you have recorded a video it is really difficult to update or modify it. Yes, you can edit it, but fixing things may require re-recording and lots of time.
Once made, the video may last a long time. You may not like your clothes or hairdo if you use it for too long, but the files should last. The content in the video may not, though. If your content or teaching changes regularly, the video content may go obsolete quickly. My computer videos go obsolete every 2-3 years.
Many of the tools to create video are free. So, creating video really should not cost any money. If you want to do serious recording and editing, though, you will have to pay for the software and hardware. You can spend a lot of time and money creating video.
I use video all the time, I just rarely create my own videos. I taught video production for years and know how difficult it can be to create quality, engaging videos. I find videos for most of what I want on YouTube or pay for access to videos created by professionals. Knowing how difficult it is to create quality, engaging videos, I find paying for videos to be worth the money. There are also lots of free tutorial videos available on Youtube and other sites, too. For example, in my Graphics and Modeling class, I link to YouTube videos all the time in my assignments. Another great location for free, well made videos is Khan Academy.
Hint for finding good videos
- When looking for videos for your class, try to find a web site or YouTube channel that has many videos on this topic, not just a single video. It often saves time looking for more videos and gives some consistency with the videos that you share.
- Khan Academy, Khan Academy for Kids, Discovery Education, PBS, and more sites have good video.
- The district library also has access to lots of classroom videos through their Classroom Videos on Demand. This site does require an account and password (which was in an email from them a while ago, but I can’t post here to the Internet). I’m not sure if it can be linked to through Clever so you don’t have to remember the account and password.
- Watch the videos before sharing them, especially from YouTube. YouTube is notorious for having school-inappropriate language and content.
Resources for making your own videos:
- FlipGrid: students and teachers record and share short video clips. FlipGrid training.
- Loom: A video messaging app to record, edit, and share video.
- WeeVideo: an online video editing software. WeeVideo training.
- Screencastify: A video recording and editing app. It is an extension of Chrome and not its own website like Loom. Screencastify training.
- EdPuzzle: a teaching tool used to embed questions and more into pre-existing video clips. EdPuzzle Training
Hints for recording your own video:
- Don’t be afraid to just record your Google Meet with your students. It may not be that exciting to watch, but it is a video recording of you teaching. You also don’t have to spend any extra time doing the recording. You can use one of the editing tools to shorten it or use EdPuzzle to trim it.
- Keep your videos short, under 5 minutes. This also makes editing and re-shooting easier. Unless they are very engaging, most students will lose interest after a few minutes.
- Keep your videos to a single topics. This keeps them shorter in length and easier to deal with. If I want 3 videos on related topics, record each as their own video, but share them together. It’s easier to go through and watch 3 short 5 min videos that to try to scroll through and watch a longer 15 minute video.
- Shoot the important, key, or difficult parts of the lesson. Shoot what will be the best for the students to rewind and review if they have trouble. Instead of filming you working through 50 math problems, choose only 5 that can demonstrate the key concepts.
- Have a script or a detailed plan before shooting the video. Have all of your props and materials ready before filming. Just like teaching, the more prepared you are, the better the video goes. Do a practice run if need be and don’t be afraid to re-shoot.
- Try to keep your editing to a minimum. Editing is what takes so long. If you want to do things quickly, get it in the video when recording, not in the editing later. A good plan minimizes the editing.
- Watch the audio. If the microphone (often on the computer, phone, or camera) are too far away from you, you may have a hard time hearing it. Also, try to record in a quiet area. Cars, sirens, birds, children, etc. will all be picked up and are distracting if you are not careful.
- Good videos take a lot of time and work. For example I link to this video in my Graphics and Modeling class. You will notice it is a view of the person overlaid on top of the view of a computer, two videos shot separately edited together. He is also using an advanced microphone to make the audio really clean. The video is 13 minutes, but probably took 20-30 hours to make.
If you can create exciting and engaging videos for your entire curriculum, you can sell them for $100 per student per year. That’s what companies charge for an online video curriculum.