May 21, 2008

I need more videos

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

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.