Sunday, August 11, 2019

Learning and Reflecting with Video

I remember like it was yesterday when I began blogging back in 2009. To think that I would still be writing a post a week many years later is a vast understatement, coming from someone who had every excuse not to start in the first place. Trust when I say that it’s a struggle these days to either come up with new ideas or to add a unique angle to what has already been written. If it’s important to you, then you’ll find a way. If not, then you will make an excuse. I am by no means a great writer, but I’d like to think that this is only one driving force that keeps me writing. If you were to ask me why I really write, my response would be to reflect and learn openly.

Part of my evolution has been to explore new pathways to reach my professional goals while attempting to give something back in return to educators. In my quest to practice what I preach and grow, I have begun to utilize video as a means to articulate ideas, share my learning, and openly reflect. When you think about the potential video has to articulate a message, it makes sense to harness its power. YouTube is now the world’s second-largest search engine, and a one-minute video equates to almost 1.8 million words per minute. No wonder more and more educators have begun to use this medium to connect with other people.

Not only has it pushed me outside my comfort zone, but I can now go into more depth on the topics I am passionate about.  The result has been the creation of a vlog (video blog) in the form of a YouTube Channel, which you can access HERE. As I am always looking for feedback, I hope you will take a look and let me know what you think. My vlog is nothing fancy. In order to preserve the essence of learning and reflecting, I record a live, unrehearsed video using Periscope about once every two weeks.  I like using this tool because it syncs with and simultaneously broadcasts across Twitter.

Since I am human many finished products have me babbling, tripping over my own words, and at times losing my train of thought. With learning not being a perfect science and reflecting a very personal experience, I want my videos to be as realistic as possible. I begin with Periscope, a live streaming app. Once the live video on Periscope ends it archives on my phone. From here I upload it to both IGTV (Instagram TV) and YouTube. Why all three you ask? Different people prefer different mediums when it comes to consumption and engagement. One of my hopes is that my video musings might be able to help out other educators as they work through ideas, strategies, or even their reflections in their preferred space. Choice matters for both kids and adults.

In the classroom, or even outside of it, video is one of the most powerful learning tools there is. Educators can utilize tools such as Edpuzzle, Playposit, and Viza where pre-selected videos are inserted for students to not only watch but also answer questions along the way. The days of passive viewing while taking up valuable instructional time can now be a thing of the past. What I love about all of these tools is the ability of teachers to insert questions that can empower learners to think and apply their thinking at various levels of knowledge taxonomy. In the case of Edpuzzle and Playposit, the responses can go straight to an LMS (learning management system) such as Google Classroom or Schoology. The self-directed nature and accountability components make all of these tools fantastic elements as part of pedagogically sound blended learning strategies.

Educators can also harness video to create flipped lessons. In addition to those mentioned above, teachers can create their own videos using tools such as Educreations or Adobe Captivate. In lieu of homework, students watch these five to ten-minute mini-lessons that cover new material that would typically be covered in class. Kids can control pace (pause, re-watch) and place (where they watch). This strategy then frees up the teacher to differentiate instruction and work with students to actively apply concepts during class time.

There is a slew of other tools that kids can use not only to demonstrate but also reflect on learning. Two of my favorites are Padlet and Flipgrid. Each tool allows for the creation of a short video that is then added to either an open digital board (Padlet) or grid (Flipgrid). Think about how powerful it is to have kids solve a problem on whiteboards and then explain how they solved it by creating a short video to get both peer and teacher feedback. When it comes to reflecting, both of these tools, as well as Seesaw, can be used for students to articulate not just what they learned, but why they learned it and how what was learned will be used outside of school. Regardless of the method used, it is essential that reflection time is built into every lesson.

Whether as an adult learner or creating a culture that empowers your students, video can serve as an essential means to help you and others reach their goals. The key with any change to practice is to see the value in it and make the time to figure out ways to integrate it into what you do. In the end, it is less about the tool and all about improving outcomes.

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