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Back to School: 4 Steps to Weave Video into a K-12 Lesson

After the long brutal winter of 2015 I’m sad to see the summer slowly come to an end. I’m starting to smell the crispness in the air, feel the less humid days, and see a few leaves begin to change color. All of this reminds me that school will soon begin across the nation.
Working for a video technology company, Kaltura, I’ve seen and learned a lot from our K-12 clients about their use of video in the classroom. Since it’s back-to-school time again, I thought it would be appropriate to share why and how teachers are utilizing video in their lessons.
We know from a recent Cisco report that 80% of Internet traffic will be video in 2019; to put this in perspective the report sights, “It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross the Internet each month in 2019.”
As video becomes a growing part of our everyday lives, it’s natural to see it being used in the classroom now more than ever. According to the 2014 Project Tomorrow Report Findings, entitled “Flipped learning continues to trend for a third year,” when school technology leaders were asked about popular approaches to digital learning that had positive results in their schools 84% selected “digital content (includes videos, simulations, and animations).” And two-thirds selected “digital media tools for student content creation.”Lessons from Leaders_banner2-01
One of our clients, Blended Schools Network (BSN), has over 10,000 pedagogical video assets for teachers in their collaborative to utilize. BSN recommends the following four steps to follow when integrating video for blended learning once you have the framework of a lesson. Many of these steps could be applied for the use of a video in the physical classroom as well with a projector or whiteboard.
Step 1: Decide where the video will be used.
Will this be direct instruction (3-5 min. video clips), at the beginning of a lesson, as a hook to engage students, and/or for modeling or procedural instruction of a lesson?
Step 2: Decide how you’ll assess students’ understanding and accountability.
BSN recommends either through a quiz, game, reflection, or having the students turn in their notes from watching the video.
For example, In-Video Quizzing is a great assessment tool. (Kaltura will be releasing just such an advanced capability later this year.) A teacher can simply create questions and determine when it appears as an overlay in the video. They can design the formative quiz to provide the student with the answer before continuing with the video or review the results later. Having an interactive video experience (questions that prompt students for a response), instead of students passively watching a video will help with student engagement. Combining In-Video Quizzing results with video analytics (e.g., average video drop-off rate) is a fantastic way for teachers to understand student accountability and student understanding quickly and easily.
Step 3: Decide whether you will make your own instructional video or borrow a video.
A good practice, recommended by BSN, is to use both.
Borrowing can be a great shortcut, if you can find appropriate material. I know through my years of experience working with K-12 that there are a number of Open Education Resources (OER) that are available on the web (e.g., BSN, NASA, SAS Curriculum Pathways, Khan Academy, and many more). Some are even aligned to standards.
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There are also advantages to creating your own content. One is the ability to personalize the learning environment. A video greeting or assignment feedback from a teacher are good uses of personalized video. Another reason to create your own content is when you have a unique lesson where no pre-made OER video content is available. Making a video with a webcam or screen capture to share with students is easy to do. but also remember to share your new pedagogical video with other teachers at your school or district through a video repository, and foster the OER initiative.
The right tools can make all of these steps easier. Many of our clients utilize in-video creation and editing tools that can be found in the user interface of our private/public video portal or one of our LMS video integrations. Having one solution for video creation, editing, storing, sharing, and curating helps teachers save time by not having multiple applications where you’ll need to switch back-and-forth between environments.
Step 4: Decide how you will share the video with your students.
As mentioned by BSN, posting the video to a web-based platform will make the video accessible throughout the school year, and enable you to pair it with an assessment or assignment. Alternatively, if using a video as a hook at the beginning of a lesson in the physical classroom, you could simply run the video off of your computer.
As we begin preparing for back-to-school, try incorporating video into one of your lessons by following the above four simple steps. Many of our clients report that students become more engaged during a lesson and take ownership of their learning with a video. Teachers also report that using video allows to differentiate instruction by allowing the student to control his or her pace of learning, and also by providing multiple videos to various students based on learning styles and needs.

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