Making your own educational video vs. using existing resources

In past posts we have talked about why it is beneficial to use video in your teaching and how it enhances learning experiences for your students whether you are fully flipping your classroom or just supplementing it. We have already covered that you can do this in multiple ways, but today I would like to explain some differences that come to mind between using existing educational videos that you can find on the internet and making your own videos. I would also like to highlight some guidelines for each of these two methods.

Use of existing resources

ted-ed-teacher-tubeThis is definitely the easier way of adding video in your students’ learning process and one that I would recommend as a starting point. The fastest way to find educational videos is YouTube; some interesting and comprehensive channels to start with are:

 

  • YouTube.com/Teachers – a list of resources that was »created to help teachers leverage video to educate, engage and inspire their students. Here you will find tips and tricks for bringing YouTube into the classroom, as well as over 400 video playlists curated by CUE and aligned with the Common Core«
  • TED-Ed – »Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators«
  • YouTube Education – this is an automatically generated channel of all educational videos on YouTube that is further divided into Primary and Secondary Education, University and Lifelong learning.

There are also plenty of teachers and lecturers uploading their own videos on YouTube everyday – to find them just use the YouTube search bar with keywords of topics you are looking for. When you find the ones whose approach you like, it is a good idea to follow them, so you won’t miss out.

With using this video you will gain some insight into what educational videos are supposed to look like and which videos sparked the most interest and feedback by your students. You can use this experience later when creating your own videos and perhaps giving back to the community.

But use of existing videos on the web does have some more or less important pitfalls; for starters, these videos are:

  • impersonal;
  • may not fulfill the needs of your students;
  • may include some stuff you already covered with your class or
  • reference something that you have not.

You have also probably developed a relationship with your students and they are used to your personal teaching style – it is what makes you unique and what your students like about you (hopefully).

To counter this, you should keep the videos you use short (this actually goes for any video you use) and personally curate them; highlight important points, refer to other resources and provide commentary – a good way to do this is inside a Learning map, where you can also add quizzes and guide your students on a learning path. You can also first make the existing video interactive with use of other tools, see how in this article – Use interactive video in your flipped classroom.

Making your own videos

It is true that making your own videos takes more time – but it is also true that you only have to make each lesson once (though as you become more experienced, you might want to redo some of them, to make them even better). It also takes some practice when you are first getting started. You might have to overcome some camera shyness. And you will have to take care of the technical details – computer equipment, microphones, software, lights… But, in my opinion, it is really worth it; your personality will shine through and you will give more to your students.

To make your videos great, you will first need to prepare your lesson and think about what you want to teach – then you should think about what and how you want to say it. It is tempting to make an exhaustive, long, almost documentary style video to cover all that is to cover about a subject. But this will probably just bore your students, unless you have major talent…in which case you should head to Hollywood. For teaching and studying short videos work best – check out how to create a micro lecture and preferably keep them under three minutes.

To make your videos easy on the eyes and ears, use good lighting, modern cameras and decent microphones, and also make sure to keep the surrounding noise on minimal. You should also check your voice can be heard normally.

To make videos interesting it is a good idea to use some annotation tools. Micro lecture recorder in Edynco allows you to make your own micro lectures by using a slideshow (which you can import in .ppt or make one from images) and enhance the slides with use of either or both your microphone and webcam. Additionally you can also use your mouse to draw or write on the slides and zoom in and out. I believe this is the minimal to make an interesting educational video. There are also plenty of other tools to make and edit your videos, some more and some less complicated/powerful.

Micro lecture recorder in Edynco

Micro lecture recorder in Edynco

Conclusion

Although I do believe it is better to make your own videos, existing ones are a good place to start incorporating videos in your classroom. You are also free to mix it up; you can make your own videos on lessons that are more important to you, and use existing ones where you feel that it is enough.

In any case it is important to keep the videos short and sweet and curate them properly. You should also find an efficient way to get those videos to your students; perhaps the best way is to use a LMS you are most comfortable with. Edynco offers a module where you can create private groups for your students, additionally your short videos or micro lectures are embedded inside learning maps of specific lessons, so they are always in context. Private groups also offer a good place for discussions about learning topics or parts of lessons. Among other options to share videos is to watch them in classroom or share them via blog or email. However, it is important to establish a system, so that you know that your students are watching the videos.

About Jana Jan

Jana Jan is a co-founder of Edynco – a tool for creating interactive Learning Maps. She has more than 10 years of experience in developing of pedagogical support and quality assurance in educational process in higher education. She is also a co-author of numerous e-textbook and online courses. Now she is a member of developing team of Edynco passionate in researching different learning design approaches.

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