We are fifteen years into the new millennium and, if you are a teacher, you may feel out-of-touch without an online presence. Our students have always had access to the internet and they use it as their go-to-source for finding answers to whatever question may pop into their heads. For a teacher, competing with a vast sea of content and sources of information can seem intimidating. However, never forget the incredible advantage that you hold when it comes to your students—they have a real human relationship with you and they trust you.
While many teachers have their own websites, blogs, and twitter accounts, they miss the mark by not providing video content in the form of filmed lessons, webinars, and other eLearning opportunities. The benefits of sharing instructional video lessons that reflect you and your classroom are many. A student can return to class from an absence completely caught up after watching the lessons online while she was at home. Another student who is stuck on a homework problem can revisit the lesson from earlier in the school day. While yet another student can watch a lesson from the week prior to assist him while studying for tomorrow’s exam.
I get it: having an online presence sounds great, but what teacher has the time for creating videos and running a YouTube channel? This concern is fair, but following these 5 time-saving steps will allow you to reap the benefits of sharing video content with your students without consuming large amounts of your time, energy, or money:
1.) Use YouTube
YouTube is by far the most popular online video-sharing network. It is easy to use and I guarantee that every one of your students is a routine visitor. In fact, a recent study showed that 74% of teens prefer YouTube over FaceBook and Twitter. Students should be encouraged to subscribe to your channel, but they can still view the lessons even if they are not. YouTube videos are easily shared via email and can be embedded within your personal teacher website. The only thing that you will need to create your own channel is a Gmail account, which is free.
2.) Use Your SmartPhone
Want some good news? You already own the most important piece of equipment required for creating educational video content. The video camera on your SmartPhone is more than capable of filming in crystal clear HD. If you want to go the extra mile, you can play around with editing apps like Magisto or Cinefy, but that is only if you want to add some production value to your lessons.
3.) Invest in a Decent Microphone
This tip is more of a strong suggestion than it is a requirement, but there is something to be said for good sound quality. You can get a suitable microphone on Amazon for under $100. If you plan on filming yourself, while you are teaching in front of the class, then a small, wearable lab microphone like the Rode SmartLav+ is what you will want to use to ensure that your lessons have clear audio. I use this microphone when filming the introductions to all of of the MashUp Math YouTube lessons. Before purchasing a microphone, reach out to your school's library or technology department. You may get lucky and be able to borrow sound equipment.
You were going to teach the lesson anyway, so why not record it and put in online?
4.) You Don’t Have to be the Next Spielberg
The best approach to educational video content is to film yourself while teaching a lesson. You were going to teach the lesson anyway, so why not record it and put it online? By recording a lesson, it lives on forever and students can revisit it on demand! All that you have to do is set up your SmartPhone camera to record while you teach. Once you have the footage, you can edit out unwanted segments using a basic app, like iMovie, and then upload the finished product directly to YouTube.
5.) Consider Flipping Your Classroom
Once you have an online library of video lessons, you may want to consider flipping your classroom, which is a reversal of the traditional teaching model. In a nutshell, students watch the lesson online for homework and work on applying the material while they are in school. Under this model, the teacher becomes less of a dispenser of information and more of a facilitator. Having the ability to embrace this progressive model is one of the greatest benefits of starting your own educational YouTube channel and can lead to a complete transformation of your everyday interactions with students. More information about the flipped learning model can be found here.
With these five steps in mind, you are on your way to creating an awesome YouTube channel for the benefit of your students!
Tags: flipped learning, blended learning, elearning, edtech, common core, youtube, education