Sunday, August 2, 2015

Leading With Video

There is no denying the power of video in society.  In a 2014 Forbes article, Richard Tiland makes some significant points when it comes to video and leadership. For example:
The use of video is so ubiquitous in our everyday lives; it has become part of our subconscious. We don’t even realize how much we know and learn from video—news, commercials, documentaries, even YouTube.  
As Tiland continues to explain, the use of video in society extends well beyond entertainment:
It has become a critical component in business, politics, communication, social media and even in music.   We need video to market and sell products, promote new ideas and share beliefs.
This paradigm shift has resulted in one of the most powerful tools available to leaders across the globe as explained by Tiland:
Ultimately, therein lies the power of video—the ability to effectively share beliefs and impact audiences worldwide from the comfort of their homes to the screens of their smart phones 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!
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Digital leaders know full well the power of video. As principal I routinely used video tools to improve communications, enhance public relations, and create a positive brand presence.  Leaders today can harness mainstay video tools to build better connections and relationships with all stakeholders while telling the story of their school/district in a way that was never possible. Video tools can also be used as pivotal learning tools that save precious time and money.  Below I break down four main categories of digital tools:

Archived video (moderate/long length)

YouTube has long been the video tool of choice for digital leaders. Principal Tony Sinanis has used it as a communication tool for years by having his elementary students deliver morning announcements.  As principal I used a tool called ZippSlip where I could record video messages to my parents that were then embedded as YouTube videos right into the email.  Using YouTube as a public relations and branding tool is a seamless shift when leaders record and then share school events focusing on students such as art shows, concerts, athletic events, and award ceremonies.  For videos longer than fifteen minutes leaders can take advantage of Vimeo for free.  Want to learn something new? Check out YouTube EDU.

Archived video (short length)

Tools such Instagram have revolutionized the way leaders can share innovative practices in brevity.  With less than fifteen seconds, tools like this can capture short highlights that demonstrate the awesomeness occurring in our schools every day. These short video clips go a long way towards building a brand presence that extends well beyond a local school or district.  With such a short window to record, the excuses not to use these tools quickly fades. Want to use short video to support your learning? Well the popular walkie talkie app Voxer has you covered.  Voxer now allows users to take and share videos up to fifteen seconds in length.

Live video

Ustream set the standard for streaming video live, even in HD. When my New Milford HS students engaged in a book discussion on Drive with Dan Pink, I streamed the session live using this free tool and archived it to share with my superintendent and BOE.  The latest rage is Periscope, a free, live video streaming app for iOS and Android device.   As a “live video streaming platform”, educators can transmit live recordings of themselves to Persicope and Twitter followers.  Since Periscope is owned by Twitter it automatically links to your Twitter account.  Users get a notification anytime the educators you’re following do a live transmission. Periscope is great for catching glimpses of live presentations at conferences or sharing knowledge instantly using the power of video. You can re-watch any video from your followers for 24 hours after the live broadcast, but after that they disappear and are not permanently archived. For more information on Periscope check out these great resources:


Free applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts allow leaders to easily connect with both experts and practitioners. We used videoconferencing in my district to make better use of our precious time. In lieu of face-to-face meetings where we had to leave our buildings, I suggested to all of the building leaders across all schools to meet via Google Hangouts. The free group video chat feature was a game-changer for us.

Great leaders always strive to continuously improve professional practice.  Don't neglect the power of video to become a better communicator, learn on the go at times convenient for you, become the storyteller-in chief, and construct a school/district brand that will build greater support and appreciation from all stakeholders.


  1. Great info Eric. Are there any apps you can suggest that can be used for live announcements and sharing to all students via their Chromebooks? Hangouts limits numbers. It would be cool for admin, teachers and students to be able to have the capability and maybe a little fun with some green screen capacity also in the background.


    1. Randy - I am not aware of anything offhand, but I will look into this more.

  2. Great post Eric. I believe that the use of video is massively under utilised within the realms of education. Previously it was solely used for showing students something on a rainy day during break time. The paradigm shift you discuss now sees video used within and for just about every curriculum area and the use of video, both the showing and creating of, has led me personally to have some of the most powerful teaching and learning moments i've had. More recently, as of last week, my College has started creating videos for our Middle Eastern communities to assist in the understanding of key College messages and notifications. The feedback after one week has been outstanding.
    I am keen to explore several of the ideas you've mentioned above and to further leverage what 'video' can offer!

  3. Thanks, Eric; some great ideas and links on here.

  4. Thanks, Eric; some great ideas and links on here.