I need more videos

As someone that has the opportunity and mandate to help others understand the changing classroom, I scour my network for new videos that can capture beyond words, what good teaching and learning can be.
I’ve created a number on my own and undoubtedly, these have had at least as much impact if not more than than any book or blog post has done in terms of igniting conversation and action. Getting people to start thinking and pushing them in new directions is challenging. When you only have 40 minutes or less and you want to really make an impact, most of us aren’t gifted enough to do this in a finely crafted talk. I’m not anyway. A well produced video can do this better.
Chris’ recent rant on the Pearson Learning to Change video had me thinking on many levels. I’ve used that video and while it may not be perfect, it creates a conversation. It was disappointing to see them pull it from youtube. Why? Did Chris’ post scare them? Come on Pearson, tell us why?

But here’s the thing. We really only have a handful of videos. We’ve got oodles of books, a gazillion blogs but few quality representation of what true change really looks like.

I had a conversation with Clarence a few months back and I remember telling him that I wanted more from his classroom. What I wanted was a clear picture of what goes on in a great classroom. He has since provided some more visuals. But I want more from Clarence and all great teachers doing great work. I realize that classroom teachers do not have the time to create this type of media. Even if they had the time, they don’t have the expertise to create concise, high quality productions. My most recent production about the learning in our school division took me upwards of 60 hours to create. 60 hours for 7 minutes isn’t often see as productive time but I have already gotten more mileage within my own division from that work than I had expected. I’m fair from being an expert in video production, I’m a one man show but for the purposes of our schools, it gets the job done.

Bob Sprankle is one who captured his classes‘ podcasting approach. It’s a great example of how a classroom operates. Wes has begun to compile a few of these and so has Scott Mcleod. There are some great ones here although many are talks that in round about ways or indirectly address issues. Many are produced by non-educators. The number of videos actually showing classrooms in action or schools really moving ahead are few and far between. We rely on a small number of teachers and educators to produce these pieces, we end up showing the same videos over and over again and I’m bored. There are just too many great examples that could be highlighted in much richer ways if we had the skills and time to create. Teachers need big time support in this area.

Which brings me back to Pearson. The quality of that video was not in question. A well produced piece by professionals, freely given to the world to use. I’m not going to argue the political or even the hidden agendas here, the comments tied to Chris’ post do that well. We need more of these types of high quality productions. The Lucas Foundation has contributed some nice resources. The content and messages are important I’m more concerned with beginning to develop a repository of high quality videos that tell a variety of stories about change. I’ll sort through the ones that communicate the message I think is most important, we just don’t have a whole lot to choose from. Show me…don’t tell me, and Pearson, I wish you hadn’t pulled the plug on your video. More companies with the equipment and talent and money to produced these videos need to be partnering with any number of great teachers and schools and showcase their work

Update: Apparently Pearson did repost the video since there were some errors in the titles (Thanks Chris). My apologies. I still want more.

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  • Apparently, is it back on CoSN’s site. They cleaned up some of the mistakes in the titles.

  • I agree that we do need more video examples, even more than we need more cowbell (tell me that Rob wasn’t poised to write that). Your post strikes a chord. Many of us talk about what we would like to see happening in classrooms, but you’re right; it would be much easier to show examples of innovative teachers and students in action, and be able to provide our own interpretations of what we see.

    The paucity of video is definitely related to how difficult it is to create good video. And I think there’s another issue at work. Classrooms are still seen by many/most educators as cloistered environments. Video will be a lot easier to get if we can start to think of classrooms as public, open spaces.

    Richard Schwiers last blog post..Media Awareness Network: new educational resources on media and global issues

  • I agree that there need to be more videos in our collective repertoire; I also think most of these videos should be produced by students. This is one of my main projects in the coming months with my online class at http://intrepidclassroom.edublogs.org

    Here is a video I produced to promote the class. I am not sure if it is what you are looking for as it does not focus on technology, but there are tech elements woven in. I hope it helps, looking forward to hearing from you.


  • Jabiz,

    Thanks. I actually watched a video you and your students created about a plant project. Those are actually the type of videos that give us insights to effective teaching and learning practices.

  • Hi Dean

    I’m a regular reader/viewer of your work. I teach english to adult refugees and migrants in Australia. We’ve formed a ‘Media Crew’ that creates video reports on issues/events in our local area. This has been a transformative experience for me as a teacher in so many, many ways. I’ve seen the confidence of my students soar, as they approach people for interviews, ask questions (sometimes unrehearsed), and learn how to film and edit reports. What’s important to realise here is that many of my students have had very little, and in some cases no experience with computers and other technologies. The learning curve has been steep.

    My class has a social networking site that is protected but we allow teachers and other educators in to have a look and provide feedback to the students. We would love to have you, or your readers join us. Just provide us with some details when you log onto the site (www.cswe3werribee.ning.com)

    Greg Currans last blog post..1

  • Sue

    How do we convince teachers to put in 60 hours for a 7 minute video? I think that will be a hard sell. However, the video content you talk about is so precious and needed that I think it’s imperative to find innovative ways to get more classroom ‘eye in the sky’ video.

    A greater sharing of classroom video would provide a rich bed of content for elearning researchers. It ‘opens the doors ‘ for a real classroom-driven approach to research activity. Right now, how do researchers find out about innovation in the classroom? Is it mostly from studies that they themselves (or other researchers) have initiated? Yet, there is much happening at the grassroots level! More videos of what’s happening in classroom (not from the clinical perspective) would be a fresh approach.

    Videos celebrating the classroom innovations that every teacher works out annually in their classrooms would be quite the rich resource! Such video would be an excellent source for teacher self-guided professional learning. It’s also a simple yet powerful way for teachers to be recognized, thanked, and encouraged by other teachers and beyond.

    But how do we get the video without further burdening the teachers? Bring in, “E-Learning Animators’!! ‘– people who are focused on documenting ‘process’ and getting the word out about what great things teachers are doing in their classes! …. Okay, there doesn’t seem to be a line up to fill that position (and besides, we’d need to have Math Animators, Social Studies Animators, Literacy Animators, etc)…

    Parents could provide the role of documenting the “hows and whys” of certain class projects, or shooting behind the scenes & organization steps could be a way to involve other community members in the school. Looking from within the classroom, I often give a ‘visual-process-documenting’ role to a member of the class.

    The end product of such forays is usually very messy but the learning potential is massive…. It’s amazing what a little self-reflection on such raw work can do to teacher’s practice. By posting process videos on the web and inviting global discussions around the classroom processes, there could be powerful off-shoots!

    One slight problem… If the captured process-video is going public, for it to be useful, it would still need to be edited to create tight, informative pieces like yours, Dean… We really do need “Elearning Animators”!


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  • If a picture is worth a thousand words, video must be 30,000 words per second… they definitely get across imagery and process that simply can’t be captured by writing articles about the same activity. That said, one of the reasons why there is less video (other than the ones you’ve touched on already) is that not every teacher is convinced that what they’re doing is innovative enough to warrant recording. Often it takes someone else to point out that they’re doing something new. If it is truly innovative, then the teacher is usually too busy working out the bugs in the approach to take time to tape. Ideally, each school would have a videographer who’s job it is to record events of note (graduations, assemblies, sports, etc) as well as the goings-on in the classroom. I’m moving that direction with my CPT courses next year, as we shift the focus from producing fiction content to producing segments on what’s going on around the school. We’re hoping to produce a weekly or bi-weekly newscast of school events, which would allow us to have an ongoing record of everything that’s going on at the school.

    Ian H.s last blog post..Feed reader & consequences thereof

  • Greg,

    Sounds like a great project. If we can get them to distribute those that really focus on classrooms, that will be the key. Keep us posted. I’ll check out your site.

    You’ve addressed the key issues: time and quality and outsourcing. Most teachers do not have the first 2 and it’s unlikely they will even in the near future. The outsourcing part is the thing that I’m leaning towards. That’s why companies like Pearson can potentially help. Elearning Animators would also be an interesting concept.

    Great point about not seeing their own innovations. That’s very true. As Sue points out, being more deliberate and intentional about celebrating good work in schools is something we in education have been lacking. Most don’t see their work as worthy of attention. Again, that’s why this work is not likely done by the teacher themselves but by another party. Looking forward to the work you’ll be producing. Be sure to post it for us to see.

    Dean Shareskis last blog post..I need more videos

  • We’re planning on putting them up on the school website, so I’ll let you know when that happens…

    Ian H.s last blog post..Voucher implosion

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