The Power of Video

As teachers and as learners we know that educational videos can be very helpful with conceptual and procedural understanding. While it is true that pre-made videos can be effective in the classroom, one of the most powerful uses of video is when we give our students the opportunity to be video creators.

For example, watching a video that explains inertia can help deepen a student’s understanding of the concept (assuming of course that the video is well done and the student is paying attention). Assigning a group of students to create a video in which they explain and demonstrate the concept of inertia, however, takes learning to a whole new level. When students are involved in producing academically focused videos they are actively engaging with the content and their collaborative group. With the proper teacher guidance, these collaborative activities can result in deeper conceptual understanding for each student.

Here are a few things to consider when planning a video creation activity for your students:

  1. Video creation activities do not have to be extravagant endeavors that take weeks to complete. With the right planning, an effective activity can be completed in just a couple of sessions.
  2. Think about the various roles needed in each group and design group sizes accordingly. For example, each team would need a camera person and a video editor, and (depending on the project) a fact checker, actor(s), script writer(s), a props manager, and a director.
  3. Build in check points throughout the project to ensure students are on track and to rectify any misconceptions that may arise.
  4. Have each group develop a story board for their video before they begin shooting. This will give the groups time to brainstorm ideas and to visualize each scene before ever picking up a camera. Approving the story board is an excellent check point in order to ensure each group is on task.
  5. Put a time limit on the length of the videos. Depending on the focus of the activity, a video that is 1 to 2 minutes in length can be plenty of time to demonstrate student understanding. In fact, creating a short, 30 second movie trailer may be perfect for your project. When students are limited by time they must focus on being precise, and being precise requires a deep understanding of the concept.
  6. Don’t worry about having a high-end video camera for the students to use. Let them use their phones or other devices with built in cameras. Many of today’s devices capture video with amazing quality.
  7. Provide a grading rubric to each group so they are very clear on what is expected. Design your rubric around the key aspects of the project.
  8. Set aside time for a “video premiere”. Student motivation is greatly increased when they know their final product will be shared with an audience of their peers.

Video creation activities can be a great way to deepen conceptual understanding, maintain student interest, and help students develop skills for working in a collaborative environment. Video projects also allow students to unleash their creative talents. So let the cameras roll and be prepared to be amazed and entertained by what your students can do!