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Deck the Halls with Lots of Video

The holidays are in the air! From bright lights to red cups at Starbucks, the holiday season can be felt all around. The holiday spirit is not just about chestnuts and green sweaters; it is much more than what meets the eye. That all-encompassing feeling leaves such a strong impression on us and becomes a part of who we are.
In a way, learning experiences are like the holiday spirit. Carl W. Buehner famously said, “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Learning is most impactful when we form an emotional bond with the learned material. We remember the experiences that made us feel the “aha!” moment. We are shaped by our frustrations and our victories over difficult exams. We tell stories about the teacher that made us feel smart or the professor that brought out a boring fact to life.
Educators have gained a lot of experience over the years in understanding how to create that special atmosphere in the classroom. Classes today are more engaging with interactive experiences to ensure students are actively learning and participating. From interactive polls to flipped classrooms, we know how to create those impactful learning experiences.
Education technology’s challenge is to design experiences for learning outside of the classroom. The classroom tries to address many different learning styles but also relies on students to continue learning after the bell has rung. Students are looking to advance at their own pace through the material and explore it in different ways. The first step in facing this challenge is to enable easy sharing of documents and presentations. As Internet speed and bandwidth rose, video recordings of the classroom were added. The question is what’s next?
We can start with going beyond classroom recordings. Instead of just a simple video, we want to create interactive experiences. Through search and discovery, we can expose students to more information on a specific topic or guide them to the right lesson. We can add interactive video quizzing to engage students and help them assess themselves at their own pace. We can create playlists of videos on a topic, or short clips of critical pieces of information. Analytics help us create more personal and customized experiences. We can change passive viewing of an exciting class and make the student part of the experience, even when not there in person.
We’re also seeing a surge in the use of live video in all areas. The power of live video is that it naturally creates an exciting experience that engages viewers. Video conferencing tools are constantly in use to reach out to more students, more often. Educators can use live video to connect with students when not in the classroom. Whether for office hours or last minute exam prep, live video means being remote, but still being in the moment.
The same way the holidays are not just about dinner, learning is not just about lectures. We want to find ways for students to feel the excitement of learning, even when not in class. In educational technology, we strive to design user experiences that create an emotional bond. There’s a lot more we can do with videos and the technologies we have at hand. Our challenge for the new year is to think beyond user experiences and find a way to really capture the spirit of the classroom. Happy holidays!

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