Lights, camera, education

Jon Walmsley on how to incorporate video into teaching and learning to enhance the classroom experience

This month saw the return of National Digital Learning Week (15th-19th May), and with it a focus on how digital resources are an ever-growing essential element to modern education. Gone are the days of the cramped and poorly equipped IT rooms of the past, and in their place we are seeing an expansive landscape of fully integrated digital solutions.

One type of medium that has been most widely accepted into the education environment is video. With a far-reaching array of uses and content availability, it can be incorporated into almost any kind of lesson. Jon Walmsley, Senior Media Advisor at the University of Derby, has complied a list of 10 ways in which video can be used to enhance teaching and learning.

Video can be an incredibly powerful tool for conveying ideas and information. For many, YouTube has become the first point of reference for instruction – whether it’s how to complete a tax return or how to build a soda bottle rocket. While most of us are comfortable with video being utilised in an educational context, we must consider if we are making the most of video as a teaching medium and maximising the benefits as learning practitioners.

When used to its best advantage, educational video content is a catalyst for academic debate and a vital method to convey ideas and theories. It can also:

•   Bring real world experiences into the classroom

•   Personalise the education experience in unique ways

•   Impart employability and digital learning skills vital for the 21st century workplace

•   Support students throughout their learning journey

Here are 10 ways in which video can be utilised effectively in learning and teaching:

1. Instructional video

Video is ideally suited to showing practical demonstrations of a task or theory. There is a long history of this type of content being used within education as it suits students with a range of preferred learning styles. The success of this kind of video to explain both basic and complex concepts is evident by the numerous popular examples on YouTube.

2. Videos with experts

Teaching can be augmented with real world context by interviewing specialists in the field. These interviews – sometimes referred to as talking heads – can be used to deliver teaching content. They can also assist students in seeing how theory applies to real life or to engage students in debating key issues.

3. Recording lectures

Recording lectures creates an extremely valuable resource for students. Contrary to some fears, it doesn’t usually impact negatively on attendance. As students assimilate information at different rates, it allows them to revisit complicated parts at their own pace. It particularly supports students who may struggle with note taking, like those with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia.

4. Broadcast TV or Radio programmes (or even YouTube!)

There is a wealth of existing video content, which can be used to support teaching. Clips from broadcast television content or videos available on sites such as YouTube can support teaching and learning and create a welcome change in dynamic during a lecture or text-based online learning experience. However, be aware that even though the owner has shared the content online, they may also remove the content without warning!

5. Case studies and scenarios

A case study or scenario can give students an engaging context as the framework for an assignment. Furthermore, recorded role-plays or dramatized sequences can assist in delivering a more authentic learning experience. It gives students the opportunity to analyse situations, make recommendations, or identify good/bad practice.

6. Recordings to encourage reflection on performance

Recording students as they engage in vocational activities or deliver presentations can be an effective way for students to reflect on and assess their own performance. These videos could also be circulated for peer review, to broaden the analysis.

7. Module introductions

An effective and engaging method of introducing a topic to students is to film a module introduction. You need to identify the key areas to be covered and the learning outcomes in the video. This is more personal than a written introduction, and may be more easily digested by students who prefer to receive information in digital format.

8. Revision summaries

Similar to module introductions, these are easy to capture on any device that is equipped with a camera and microphone. They can be invaluable to assist students in what can be an extremely stressful time in their learning journey. They can also help to stimulate further reading and assist students in focusing on key areas of study.

9. Videos to encourage discussion or increase engagement 

Video can be a really effective method of getting engagement or provoking a reaction. Communicating views from extreme ends of the spectrum can ignite a debate or add valuable real-world context to a piece of learning.

10. Video-based assignments

Producing video content as part of an assignment provides an effective medium for students to demonstrate their understanding of learned concepts and ideas. It also allows them to broaden their skillset by developing digital capabilities that will be of great value in the graduate employment market.

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