Is video freeing us to learn in the way we are meant to?

As part of our efforts to embed purposeful opportunities to explore and develop digital literacy skills in the on-going professional experiences of our MA students at Dundee University we have introduced the eportfolio via a WordPress blog. I talked about this in an earlier post however what I have done since is create and publish a series of video tutorials on a YouTube playlist on my account. The actual process in the creation of these video tutorials is quite straight forward. In essence, if I can create them – so can you.

The University of Dundee has access to ther suite of software that comes via Microsoft’s Dreamspark initiative. Part of the offerings that come with this is Expression. This allows me to screencast  a screen based video tutorial with an audio commentary. Once this is finished the programme encodes the captured video. I then import that into a free programme called Handbrake and export the movie as an .mp4 file. I then simply upload the videos to a playlist on my YouTube channel. Here is an example of one of the videos that I created from my UoDedu MA ePortfolio playlist:

I find that putting yourself in a  conversational frame of mind allows you to take the time to explain what you are doing in a clear and personable fashion – well I hope so!!! In order to do some learning about techniques and approaches to screencasting I logged in to my account via the University Library’s webpage. There I found some great video tutorials about effective screencasting. Well worth a visit and look.

The rise of the medium of video is of great interest to me as both an educator and a learner. Just the other night I watched a video on how to mine for diamonds in Minecraft and then how to measure the frame of a bike (was selling my daughter’s)!!! Both times I watched and I learned – I could do what I had set out to do. The explosion of the Khan Academy, and the culture of YouTube tutorials (many of the kids I worked with recently on my Minecraft research project have capture cards to create their own video tutorials for their YouTube channels) presents us with questions about how we teach children  to be effective communicators in a contemporary world…

Maybe we are hard-wired to watch and learn from each other? Maybe the brief hiatus of the dominance of the written word has briefly interrupted the learning dynamic of showing, demonstrating and watching each other do things? Maybe the technology has finally found itself in concert with how we really learn? If this were the case just think of the ramifications for schools – unblocking YouTube, resourcing the technology to do this, changing the established cultural framework of the written word to the moving image… challenges, challenges, challenges – but challenges we must reflect on.

Screencasting is quite an easy thing to do and I am finding it helpful to access screencasted tutorials as a learner and I am looking forward to finding out if the ones that I create have any impact on learning with my students.

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