One of the great things to come out of the school closures, remote learning and hybrid schedules from the pandemic was the use of video. Knowing that many of you will cringe when reading this, let me take a moment to explain and address your concerns.
The benefit and advantage of video is that it allows students to access your course content, and really, access you at any time. Your videos hold your knowledge as well as your ability to translate content in a consumable package for young people. Over the past year and a half, you made videos of pieces of the curriculum that you are probably still teaching, but now you are providing face-to-face, real-time, direct instruction.
In my hallway conversations with teachers, there’s an overwhelming feeling of relief being back with students in the classroom for full weeks of school, and there’s a really conscious effort to engage students with analogue processes, activities and products. After eighteen months of heavy digital lifting, it makes sense to give everyone a break from the screen time. Even as a technology integration specialist, I don’t disagree with this effort. In my personal life I’ve been working hard to read, to read whole books, and to read them on paper. So, I feel the need personally to right the ship of my own digital life.
However, in a time when teachers still continue to feel the strain and exhaustion of the past eighteen months, holding onto video and getting kids to engage in watching videos can be done smartly and with a healthy balance between analogue and digital. You aren’t reinventing the wheel; instead, you are reusing good materials.
If you have short, focused, well-made video content use it. If you need to do some editing to old videos to update or remove the cringe-worthy elements, learn to do it. Most video services that we’re using–YouTube, WeVideo or Screencastify–have easy to use editors that make short work of cutting down and cutting out irrelevant content. Then, when using video, think about balancing with meeting kids face-to-face. How? Consider the following:
- Remember the days when we talked about flipping the classroom. Kids went home, watched a video lesson and then came to class the next day to do the work. Do it with a video you made last year, and then when they are in class, you have lots of time to talk to each kid, see what they are struggling with and provide help while you are sitting next to them. If they don’t need help, you still have time for a check-in or to find out what their latest binge is. If they didn’t watch the video at home, guess what they’re doing during the work session.
- Videos provide excellent resources for small groups or station rotation activities. Maybe you’ve identified a group of students who would really benefit from additional support directly from you, but you’re wondering what to do with the other students in class. You can connect with kids who need help, and others could watch a video leading to enrichment or as part of a small group lesson. Video and related activities become an easy resource to structure lessons.
- Maybe your class is involved in some form of work session. I don’t know a subject or grade level where at some point in the week, kids are working on something. This is great as it provides you with the opportunity to do one-on-one instruction, or to work in small groups. Video can play an important role in a work session, because students might watch a short video to be reminded about project requirements, remember the finer details of a skill, or hear you talk through some element of problem solving.
Beyond this, think about how some simple edutech tools can sharpen your teaching through some data and assessment. Putting appropriate videos on your YouTube channel can help to know how many views you are getting. Using integrations between Schoology and Edpuzzle, Nearpod or Screencastify Submit or embedded questions can help students process content and give you and your students feedback on what is really being learned.
Don’t fall into the trap of seeing a video as one-and-done. Think about ways to curate and publish videos so that they can be used when students need them. One important thing to remember is to keep your videos time-neutral. Stay away from phrases such as “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon,” or “Happy Halloween.” These things can confuse or disorient students who might watch at a different time from when you produced your video.
On a final note, think about stretching yourself with video use. Have you considered video feedback where students watch you check their math solutions or see you edit a paragraph of writing. Are you an arts teacher–maybe video critiques of student 2D and 3D projects or music practice. And, while we’re trying to emerge from a difficult period of instruction with the pandemic, the use of video could be one practice that we could hold onto if done smartly. Also, to hear my podcast on this topic, check it out below or on Anchor.