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If K-12 Education and Video Converge, What Would Make it Effective?

I began thinking about how far TV has come over the years. My father can remember when the first TV arrived on his block. All the kids would crowd around a window to get a glimpse of this mysterious square tube transmitting images from Hollywood or NYC. What a contrast to today’s viewership, where you can watch media anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Around the same time, I was thinking about how far K-12 education has evolved—from the traditional model of education, born during the industrial age, where a one-size fits all approach to today’s personalized yet collaborative approach that equips students with the skill-set to foster lifelong learning. Where we see more and more school districts adopting a paperless curriculum, online/blended learning, and one-to-one programs. A new definition of the “effective classroom” is starting to take shape, where the teacher is no longer the sage on the stage but instead the guide on the side, helping students become “active learners.”
It wasn’t until I started working at Kaltura that I realized the power of media in education. I thought it was a fairly new artifact from the popular “flipped classroom” or “reverse classroom,” which has become the latest educational craze after being popularized by Sal Khan from the Khan Academy. But then I ran across a presentation recorded at the Kaltura Connect 2013 conference that was given by Scott Chambers, SVP Worldwide Media Distribution at Sesame Street. I suddenly realized that power of media in education has been around as long as I have been alive!
It’s true: I was one the first generations to be brought up on Sesame Street. In a way, outside of my parents, Sesame Street was my first teacher. I learned from Scott’s presentation that in the U.S. there are over 90 million graduates of Sesame Street. That’s pretty cool! Now that I work at Kaltura in the K-12 division, I feel like I’ve somehow come back to my roots.
This led me to ponder the question, “If education and video converge, what makes it effective?” I spoke to some of our K-12 clients to find out what they’ve learned. Here’s their top five lessons.

  1. I spoke with Tracy Colbert from BlendedSchoolsNetwork. I was intrigued because they really take video analytics seriously. They found that in their lessons, when you make a pedagogical video longer than 5-7 minutes, over half of their viewership drops off. The secret is to engage students with mini video assets throughout a lesson.
  2. We all know the three different learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Randi Hill from Gwinnett Online Campus observed, “Effective video in education occurs when students grasp the concept regardless of individual learning styles.  The power of video can evoke emotion in a viewer, demonstrate what the written word can’t always convey, and can transform education.”
  3. Laura Herring also from Gwinnett Online Compass commented that video allows students to demonstrate what they know. “Ultimately, we want our students to be content creators, not just content recipients. Video provides students another avenue beyond writing to show what they’ve learned.”
  4. Randi also noted, “If used correctly, video can be the resource bridging learning gaps and catapulting learners to achievement levels never even imagined. Effective video is powerful and is currently a language that can help us learn from each other and better communicate.”
  5. Lastly, I heard from a technology director that a math teacher asked a student why do you like video so much? His reply, “Because I can rewind video, I can’t rewind you.” Now that brings new meaning to reviewing a lesson after class anytime, anywhere, and any device.

Like so many kids, I loved Sesame Street. Today’s teachers are taking the lessons learned from a generation of educational media and applying it so kids can learn more effectively than ever before.

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