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Let them Discover

Sound sound sound! That’s what I tell my students when making a video. Get that right and the you can get away with ok visuals. However, I have found plenty of videos where the sound isn’t good, but the learning was exceptional. This is particularly true with screencasts. A good screencast can be watched without any sound, as it can be followed visually with the presenter.

As an Edtech Specialist in my school, one of my aims is to help facilitate the learning. I believe that the term ‘teacher’ in this technological world should be redefined. A ‘teacher’ should be able to walk into any classroom and facilitate the learning that is happening in that classroom, whether they know about the subject or not. Whether this is a physics class or visual arts, as teacher you should be able to guide the learners in the room.

So when it comes to Youtube, I can find videos that are appropriate to the way I learn, but this may not be the case for the students I teach; so I rarely send videos to the learners to watch. I like to employ strategies that will enable the learners to find the videos for themselves or to create videos for themselves.

For example, if I’m facilitating a lesson on quadratic equations in Maths, a subject I know next to nothing about, I want the learners in my class to teach me. So how can I do that when they know nothing at this point either?

  • The first task would be to search for a video on quadratic equations and watch it.

  • Mark this video as the first watched.

  • Find a second video on quadratic equations, watch this one.

  • Is the second video better or worse than the first?

  • Post the better video on the school learning platform and then watch as the videos come in from your fellow students.

  • Watch the videos from your fellow students and rate which one teaches quadratic equations in a way that you understand.

  • On the school learning platform, discuss and evaluate why certain videos are better than others and then make a decision on which video is the best for you.

  • Finally, create a video that explains quadratic equations for an audience that knows nothing - in this case, me, the facilitating teacher.

This model could be applied to most curriculum areas. There are extensions to this that could be used in terms of presenting to the class your learning or writing a document on the process, but the result is the learners have understood the subject area as well as the teacher. Sugata Mitra tells us:

“It would be better, in a way, if any adults present were completely uneducated. There is nothing children like more than passing on information they have just discovered to people who may not already have it.” - Sugata Mitra

I believe that teachers who “play dumb” can excite learners to really achieve and share their learning.

So to answer the question, what strategies I would use to evaluate a good video? Apart from the obvious technical aspects of a good video, as an Edtech Specialist I want the learner to discover their own strategies for discovering good videos; I want them to collaborate, share and discuss their ideas on why a video is good for them. A video that is good for me maybe not be good for someone else. So for this reason I would never find a video myself for educational purposes unless it was something I wanted to learn, for my students, let them discover!

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