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Any company, organization, or individual hoping to take advantage of digital video to educate or entertain the populace or promote a product should have a video strategy in place before springing for the time and equipment involved. Educators, of course, are not exempt from the core tenets of solidifying a viable video strategy — especially when it comes to how exactly they plan to take advantage of everything the medium offers.
- Online and open source:Because both the online and the open source movements within education have been enjoying steady growth, it behooves any adherents to fire up their cameras and film a few lectures or other helpful videos. Educators who upload for public consumption on a personal site, iTunes U, YouTube Education, or other hosting resource reach a range of students beyond their rosters. For plugged-in teachers hoping to extend their influence and bring knowledge to the world, or an exclusively digital classroom at the very least, videos add a more human element.
- Accessibility:Incorporating videos into lessons offers a viable method for students with special needs, such as ADD/ADHD or conditions requiring home-bound stints, to retain and remember information. The medium makes for one more way to ensure all learners enjoy access to educational materials that meet their specific requirements. Just make sure to remember subtitles or transcripts for hearing-impaired students.
- Archiving:Teachers who require their students to shoot videos might want to keep a digital archive of their work to show off to future classes. Or, of course, tracking their own creations for online, open source, or hybrid classrooms. For the older crowd needing to convert their educational VHS and DVD presentations to digital media, a video strategy ensures these materials make the transition from generation after generation of learners.
- Visual learners:Some students just learn better when viewing animated diagrams, step-by-step how-tos, and other video lessons. A well-balanced classroom spreads things out across different styles, and creating short movies and lectures reaches out to those with a more visual outlook. Cobbling together a video strategy addresses the inherently diverse nature of students’ methods for soaking up information.
- Greater classroom connectivity:Video conferencing with Skype and other VOIP services entices educators who want their students to tackle collaborative projects with counterparts from around the world. In fact, Skype itself provides its own social media site for teachers wanting to connect and set up everything from foreign language exchanges to group poems. It’s an engaging strategy opening up some amazing and unique opportunities that weren’t available a decade ago.
- Low-cost field trips:Thanks to the recession, schools must watch on helplessly as their funding dissolves, which means their field trip budgets come up scant. But infusing video into the classroom transports students to notable sites around the world, with some museums even offering free virtual tours. All the benefits of exploring and experiencing sans the transportation and admissions fees! The principal will love you.
- Video games:Video games are not the scourge society seems to enjoy painting them as — in fact, they actually possess some incredible educational benefits when wielded correctly. Immersive environments particularly engage digital natives, but even the FBI takes advantage of the technology for training its agents. Not every video strategy necessarily needs to think about the whys of Wiis, of course. But instructors might want to research the positives behind serious gaming and strongly think about introducing it into the syllabus.
- Addressing absences:No matter who has to stay at home — teacher or student — pre-recording lectures, instructions, or assignments helps close up any gaps in lessons that result from absences. All video strategies, even the most rudimentary, should keep this not-so-little perk in mind. Learners experiencing prolonged illnesses or other situations requiring homebound education will especially appreciate not being left behind. Alternately, streaming video with Skype, Google Talk, or another VOIP provider works as a stellar alternative.
- Supplementary materials:Snag Films, Hulu, and Documentary Heaven all stream free documentaries. And, of course, the Internet overflows with open source lectures from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, like MIT, Stanford, and Yale. Take advantage of this rich bounty of educational delights to drive home points made in classroom lectures, or add to students’ overall knowledge of the subject at hand.
- Nurture creativity:Long before digital video became a thing that existed, students shot videos as classroom assignments. There’s no reason now why this can’t continue! Rather than forcing paper after quiz after exam after worksheet, challenge them to share what they’ve learned creatively, through film they’ve shot and edited themselves. And with technology being what it is and everything, whipping up something awesome proves easier and faster than ever.
- Digital literacy:Both students and educators alike benefit from building their digital literacy skills, regardless of whether or not they hope to share their videos online. With a working knowledge of computers, the Internet, and peripherals — not to mention how to operate and navigate them all safely and responsibly — such a desirable suite of abilities in countless industries today, getting learners familiar with the core tenets as early as possible proves a fruitful endeavor. Even the older set looking to score new jobs or simply keep their mind occupied can pick up a few things through video and other digital resources.