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‘Press Play’ Isn’t a Teaching Strategy: Why Educators Need New Methods for Video


My first foray into utilizing video in my instructing concerned a TV cart wheeled into my classroom, replete with a related VHS participant—and no distant.

As a instructor or a pupil, it’s possible you’ll bear in mind a holiday-week screening of E.T. the Further-Terrestrial, or a school-wide exhibiting of a “Stranger Hazard” PSA? Whether or not a characteristic movie or an tutorial video, the ‘80s and ‘90s have been a ‘press-play’ tradition that anticipated college students to sit down nonetheless, soak up and retain, whereas the educator sat within the again grading. I nonetheless bear in mind one instructor I had pointing to his TV cart and saying, “that’s the busy instructor’s finest good friend.”

Quick-forward to 2022, and it’s essential to ask: Are academics nonetheless pushing immediately’s model of that TV cart into our on-line and bodily lecture rooms?

Although 97 % of schooling professionals in Kaltura’s State of Video in Schooling annual report say that video is “important to college students’ tutorial experiences,” with regards to academic video practices, many instructors are nonetheless urgent play. Maybe that is just because we haven’t skilled methods that transfer past the passive video expertise.

As I ready to show my first academic videography course earlier this 12 months, I discovered that we lacked a typical vocabulary for speaking about how we design studying with video in thoughts. Since then, I’ve been advancing the time period “video paratext” to replicate the myriad ways in which we design academic steerage, prompts, actions or interactive components to encompass or be included inside a video.

I pulled the phrase “paratext” from the sector of poetry translation as a result of, personally, I like the “paratext” that precedes or follows a poem—and even interrupts it. At poetry readings particularly, I lean into the phrases {that a} poet shares earlier than or after studying every poem. Paratext helps me join with and make sense of the poem.

Likewise, I ask educators to think about methods to assist college students join with movies by numerous prompts and actions that encompass, or are included inside, the video.” Would possibly such “paratext” encourage college students to take a better take a look at a video they’ve watched, the way in which I’d need to reread a poem to see the way it works or what it means?

With that in thoughts, I ask educators this query: How can we use video paratext to advance inquiry and engagement? On condition that YouTube continues to be chocked stuffed with academic movies which can be usually accessible and custom-captioned, maybe we don’t should reinvent the wheel or change into DIY videographers to seek out an strategy to video-based studying that matches our instructing philosophy?

Introductory Paratext

Let’s take into account what would possibly ease college students into video-based studying. Think about the scholars with the least and probably the most expertise utilizing academic movies. Understand that college students don’t have widespread expectations round methods to use these movies. What sort of introductory textual content, video or exercise would possibly lead everybody into the assigned video with out overwhelming them?

Listed below are some methods an teacher would possibly tee up a clip:

  • Technical Paratext: Lately college students have loads of technical instruments to form their viewing expertise, together with working a video at double-speed (or larger). So it may be useful for academics to speak about what sort of viewing they anticipate for a given task—and whether or not it’s okay to skim, and even skip, elements of a video. I encourage educators to incorporate the video’s title, size, linked supply and a abstract of any related actions we anticipate college students to finish.
  • Video Hooks: As college students cross into video-land, the view will be disorienting. An assigned video could also be a private favourite of the teacher, however to college students, it’s new, and never essentially of curiosity. Lecturers can start by serving to college students draw private connections with that video. Constructing upon what Madeline Hunter calls an “anticipatory set,” instructors can attempt to spark curiosity, activate prior information or assist college students lean into studying with a way of expectation?
  • Video Framing: Whereas an teacher can’t continuously cease the video to notice what to look at for, it’s attainable to plant a key query or two on the outset and encourage college students to maintain that in thoughts. I usually ask college students to look at with a watch for recurring themes, a particular design method or analytical lens. It might probably additionally assist to encourage college students to search for problematic components together with errors in downside fixing, bias, or the absence of sure views (i.e. viewing “towards the grain”).
  • Be Scholar-Centered: Whereas the educator should still find yourself within the “again of the room” throughout a video-based exercise, college students don’t have to stay passive. Immediate college students to jot questions earlier than they watch and through their viewing. Ask college students to generate new concepts and theories that they’ll share.
  • Set Clear Expectations. Whatever the strategy, be sure to make clear what is predicted of scholars on this video-based studying expertise—particularly if there’s a related quiz or follow-up exercise.

Closing Paratext

Too usually, the steerage academics give round movies inadvertently relegates our function as educators to what we would name, “studying compliance displays.” In different phrases, too usually we merely administer a excessive stakes examination or a pop quiz to examine whether or not they watched a video. What closing actions would possibly assist college students replicate or apply their information to an genuine mission or observe?

In my experiences as a Ok-12 instructor and now within the faculty setting, I’ve requested college students to offer a “micro-reflection” of a video, writing three sentences or making a one-minute video explaining what they realized and what they need to dig deeper on. I’ve additionally requested college students to clarify how a video they watched is related to their very own life or group. I’ve even requested college students to think about themselves within the director’s chair, explaining an alternate ending they’d quite see, or fleshing out the storyline of a minor character.

Physique Paratext

There are edtech instruments that may assist incorporate these methods at the same time as a video progresses. For instance, you possibly can embed prompts, quizzes, asynchronous discussions and vary of different dynamic actions proper in the course of movies utilizing instruments like PlayPosit, Edpuzzle and Nearpod. Meaning the teacher may also reduce in with a observe to pay particular consideration to some element or theme within the subsequent part.

Lately there’s speak of much more immersive video expertise on the horizon—in a proposed metaverse being pushed by main tech firms. My hope is that academics bear in mind to let pedagogy drive our use of the most recent tech—and that our deal with sharing new sorts of “video paratext” would possibly assist make sure that modern approaches align with our core beliefs about instructing and studying.

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