Video assignments are the new long term document. How does this change teaching and learning?

This semester, I am teaching a Graduate Seminar on Education and Technology for Georgetown University. Over the next two months, I’ll be sharing the experience and highlights in a column series for EdSurge along with the highlights from the course. This is part 3. Read part 1 and part 2.


Digital video has taken the world by storm. Netflix is ​​busy change tv and movies. YouTube is perhaps humanity’s greatest collaborative cultural project, bringing together an astonishing amount of user-generated content. Google-owned service is widely used that it can already absorb more than a third of all mobile traffic.

Not surprisingly, we are learning more and more from digital video. The field of informal learning is well represented on YouTube, from DIY instructions to guerrilla recordings of public speakers. Traditional colleges now also rely on digital video as campuses have established official channels and faculty regularly turn to YouTube for content. And new types of educational institutions have sprung up, like the nonprofit Khan Academy, with its thousands of free educational videos on a wide range of topics.

It was the subject of a week of my course. We were already thinking of a dynamic: the transition from consumption to production.

We could imagine a video avatar answering campus questions in the form of a college mascot or historical figure.

On the consumer side, the uses of video are fairly clear: digital video is another channel for educational content; the one that allows the time shift and scrolling of clips. And this has led to new teaching practices, mostly flipped classes where teachers ask students to watch video lectures for homework and use class time for more active discussions or hands-on activities.

On the production side, other pedagogies have emerged as teachers can now assign video assignments that turn students into creators, allowing them to find their voice and learn technical skills that could be applied to jobs. . Video also has greater “bandwidth” for communication than text-based discussion forums, adding images to the audio.

We also explored the rise of teaching via live video. More and more colleges are using it for online learning because it can make students and instructors more present to each other than most other media. We have also seen the usefulness of videoconferencing in connecting students and faculty when they are separated by travel, illness or scheduling issues.

Video can also interact with other technologies. For example, telepresence bots could give distant students more options for expression in the classroom when they can’t be there in person. Artificial intelligence may soon be able to turn bots (like Siri or Alexa) into human-like visuals that will look more like companions. We could imagine a video avatar representing a software tutor or answering campus questions in the form of a college mascot or historical figure.

Our readings – those of Zac Woolfitt “Effective use of video in higher education, “and Michelle Kosalka”Use synchronous tools to create community in the asynchronous online classroom”—And the discussion identified a series of limitations to the usefulness of video. Video conferencing requires a robust internet connection that not all students have access to, and even downloading video clips can be difficult on some connections. People are not always comfortable appearing on camera. And some content is not well suited for video, such as most audio chats or still images.

Our discussion of the video naturally led us to think about its uses in our classroom. Some of us had to participate in class via Zoom at various times during the semester, and we had adapted the on-site class experience to maximize interactions. I also did a quick demonstration of basic video editing in iMovie to give newbie students a taste of it, and pointed them to the excellent Gelardin New Media Center for more instructions and resources.

Thinking back to that class, digital video now covers many areas, from teacher-generated instructional content and student-generated assignments, to video conferencing and the possibility of automated video robots. The pedagogies branch out, as do the support strategies. If these trends persist, video could become the main digital technology used in education.


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