I’ve been finding video online all over the place! Besides video sharing websites such as YouTube and TeacherTube, it is on informational sites, educational sites such as Dr. Saul’s Biology in Motion Cartoon Mini-Lectures or this collection of Science Animations, Movies and Interactive Tutorials, news and tv show sites, embedded in blogs like Will Richardson’s and represented in freeware and online applications. There are also sites that offer video for a fee such as Discovery Education’s United Streaming. There is lots to choose from: cartoons and amimations to the realistic, amateur to professional.
Before talking more about my online video experiences and how I see them fitting into the classroom, I thought I would provide some context.
Outside of viewing and discussing video available online in class, such as movie trailors for Golden Compass or Coraline, I wasn’t quite sure what other possibilities there were. This is mostly due to my limited skill level related to video more than anything. I have taken video with a digital camera but I’ve never done anything with it. And before this week, I had never used a webcam myself and had no idea how one would go about splicing, dicing and mixing video and audio together into one online video.
I turned to web 2.0 new tools, new schools by Gwen Soloman and Lynne Schrum (2007) to find out more. Chapter 3 is devoted to “new tools.” The chapter opens like this:
“On October 18, 2006, YouTube featured a music video by ClipBandits, a band with three young men that called itself “The World’s First Web Band” because they formed the group, developed the music, and created the video all online. In fact, they had never met, didn’t know one another’s real names, and lived in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin. They were searching for a drummer, by soliciting the audition videos. In three days, nearly 500,000 people watched the video and almost 1,700 people posted ratings (it got four out of five stars). This is the world our students live in. How did we get here? And just what does this mean for education?” Good questions!
Soloman and Schrum explain YouTube was born in February 2005 and taken over by Google in 2006. People are able to post, comment, tag, watch videos, join communities and subscribe much like Flickr. Videos can be private or public.
Tools such as Video Furnace make it possible to view any video on any computer without specialized programs. This is appealing to me as I have often found myself frustrated when trying to watch a video and not having the right plugin to do so. Firefox, an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer, intuitively resolves this by telling you what plugin you need.
Sites like Jumpcut, Eyespot (I liked their intro music and some of their claymations but not the scantily-clad girls that came after) make it possible to combine clips, add sound, titles and transitions. Crackle and VideoEgg are tools to make editing easy and free online.
I found myself being sucked into Crackle, which divides it’s homepage into different channels. I wanted to be able to add the videos that I was watching to my favorites so I registered for a free account and can categorize the videos I watch into different playlists, like Language Arts videos. I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching Google Maps. I think a good question for students watching this is what is this video really trying to say? At what point has Google Street Maps gone too far?! I also thought that the female main character in Ma Cherie! was a lot like Monsters Inc. This video could be used to illustrate how music works to support a story or the effect of the a bird’s eye or worm’s point of view.
I’m not so sure about VideoEgg, which boasts 200+ sites in its network, 50,000,000+ unique views each month, 400+ ad campaigns and 100+ fortune 500 companies advertising on it, because in its About section it says that it “connect[s] brands to consumers with video and rich media.” The video ad demos show 42 examples of how they superimpose advertising on video or webpages. What a way to wreck a video or webpage in my opinion. Now I know what those annoying things that scramble across my webpage are called and who is responsible for them. Sounds like a big money making scheme to me, particularly when I see that they are buddying up with Facebook.
Armed with all this new knowledge, particularly how the splicing and dicing can happen online, I had a better idea of how a science teacher put together this climate change video that Will Richarson embedded in his blog. What a way to stimulate some discussion!
What are the implications for education? Soloman and Schrum identify that “students can create thoughtful and meaningful video clips that look professional and command an audience for their work. Having the simple tools available makes it easier to create and edit effective presentations. They can collaborate by uploading individual videos and editing them together in a single movie that uses the best of each clip. They can use the clips for digital storytelling and insert them into presentations and projects. If their videos are high enough quality, other students can learn from them.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Videos can illustrate concepts and stimulate discussion like The Story of Pi or Mathemagic which is part of the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. That’ s only the tip of the iceburg. The next step is students creating their own original content. This active particpation makes learning meaningful and memorable.
Beyond the classroom, The Fischbowl Presentations and others like it, such as Information R/evolution, A Vision of K-12 Students Today or, the one I prefer, A Vision of Students Today (a post-secondary version), can stimulate discussion among teachers and the wider school community.