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Posts Tagged ‘video


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It is easy to tweet the essence of the advice that Alan Alda shared about public speaking: Share just three ideas, said three different ways, and iterated three times each.

But that distilled wisdom becomes a meaningless tip if you do not adopt the same value system of wanting to create an authentic connection.

Alda took time and care to bracket his three tips with the need to make that human connection. Public speakers and teachers might take that advice as a golden reminder that delivering messages and running the curricular race come a distant second behind making that connection.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

I love YouTube videos that shed light on the processes behind a product. The video below was one of the better ones because it was about the most recent episode of Game of Thrones (GoT).


Video source

Some say that the last 15 minutes of the episode were among the most epic of the entire series. If you watched the episode, it might be easy to see why.

It is just as easy to stop at this level of appreciation. You are entertained, but you do not really know why.

The behind-the-scenes (BTS) videos provided insights into the many processes that resulted in the product. The BTS view showcased the effort, talent, organisation, courage, and creativity of the people involved in the production.

Creating the episode was difficult. Documenting it and deciding what to highlight was not easy too. However, taking the trouble to showcase and reflect on the processes provides depth to the product.

The same could be said about academic endeavours. Most papers and projects have an audience of only one — the teacher. However, e-portfolios like blogs and personal websites have potentially larger audiences. Engage them and the audiences become participants who provide even more feedback.

This is how focusing on the processes provides richer and more meaningful learning experiences than just grading final products. I welcome the day when e-portfolios are not just good-to-have add-ons, but are default platforms and strategies for assessment and evaluation.

Reality. Facts. Are there objective truths or are things subjectively negotiated? Most people experience the law of gravity. Others believe the Earth just sucks.

In the hard sciences, laws are like reality, facts, or truths that are not negotiable. Education, on the other hand, is a social science, and it is littered with theories. Ideas and results can change with perspective and context.

Here is a simplification of this complex phenomenon. Let’s say you wanted to record a tranquil video of a tourist hotspot. How would you do it?


Video source

One way would be to give up and say this was an impossible task. Another might be to wake up really early and try to get footage. Still another way might be to visit when the place was closed.

The maker of the video above shared several strategies for being in the crowd, but not of it. These included taking low angles, selecting areas of focus, grabbing opportunities as they emerged, and relying on good timing.

The same strategies could be translated when implementing change in schooling and educational contexts. It becomes about taking different perspectives and using novel strategies in order to redefine reality.

This is an unplanned part 3 of my notes and reflection on a talk on gamification. [Part 1] [Part 2]

In the two previous parts, I noted and critiqued the narrative element. Narratives in games, game-based learning, and gamification are driven by stories. Good stories depend on skilled storytelling.

So what does such storytelling look like?

I have shared the work of brilliant storytellers on Vimeo and YouTube many times before. Earlier this week I found a story told by British Airways (BA).


Video source

BA obviously wanted to sell its planes, service, and people. It did so with a story that focused on the relationship between the two main characters in the video.

Despite being a made up story, it was believable because the characters looked real. They were not movie stars and could pass for an actual flight attendant and passenger. The focus on the relationship between the two characters created an emotional link between the two.

The strong storytelling elements were believability and emotions. The same two elements could also be part of the narratives of qualitative reports, educational videos, or conference presentations.

A research study or lesson example could be contrived, but it must be real to the participants. To be effective, the intervention needs to elicit the emotions of the participants. Fail to do these and you succeed only in disconnecting with your learners.

I love watching the YouTube videos from Great Big Story. That channel finds amazing and inspiring stories from all over the globe and distills them into just a few minutes.

This video is a collection of four stories. The first two personify lifelong learning in ways that no academic, policymaker, or school leader can describe.


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The first story is of an 80-year-old woman who started weightlifting at age 70. The second is about a 69-year-old Nepalese man who is in the equivalent of tenth grade high school.

No words I might write do them justice. Watch and be inspired!

It is easy to tell people what to do, especially if you think the advice is for their own good. But your perspective may not be a shared one.

This is because people often cannot see themselves from someone else’s perspective.

So why don’t we show them instead of just telling them?

The show does not have to rely only on shock value because an initial overload easily becomes the norm with enough repetition. Then your target becomes numb.


Video source

Better to strike the funny bone first and then the thoughtful one, just like the video PSA above on not texting while driving.

One application of this idea in education is that videos should not just replicate what a textbook or teacher should do. Substituting one medium for another is rarely effective.

In this case, the medium alone is not the message nor is it the strategy. The video should not be used just to enthral or to mix things up. It should deliver a message in a way that neither textbook nor teacher can. After that, the teacher can get learners to tell after the show.

So show, don’t just tell. Then tell, don’t just show.

I discovered an unexpected source of ideas for flipped learning. It is a video of a teacher trolling his students after he banned them from flipping bottles.


Video source

At first glance, the teacher might come across as the embodiment of “do as I say, but not as I do”. After all, he did not want his students flipping bottles and did so himself.

Viewed through the lens of YouTube entertainment, the teacher was not only a master troll, he was also aware of memes and what connected with his learners. Even the groan-worthy references were gems.

Viewed through the lens of education, the video was a good example of practice, creative endeavour, and content creation.

The practice of bottle flipping required not just elbow grease, but also experimentation to determine the right amount of water. I have no doubt that there was much failure footage left out of the final video.

The teacher kept flipping bottles just like teachers might try flipping their classrooms. However, routine with both gets old quickly. Since the flipped classroom is still largely reliant on the teacher as driver, the teacher must design and lead interesting journeys. The teacher provided creative variations and levelled up the difficulty of bottle flipping. The same could be said about flipping classrooms.

The most important idea is that of having the agency to create content. This is one principle that distinguishes the flipped classroom from flipping learning. Learners must be empowered to create content so that they make their thinking visible, are teaching their peers, and acting on the feedback they receive. Only then does the flipped classroom transform to one that embraces flipped learning.

Bonus: This viral video also illustrated one strategy for creating videos for flipped learning. Every learner should show only what is critical. They do not need to create epic movies. They should be creating trailers that leave their peers wanting more.


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