A 5-Step Guide to Making Your Own Instructional Videos
Consider the following scenario: you are teaching to a class in which some of your pupils are grade levels behind, some are grade levels ahead, some have special needs, and some are not there at all! Isn’t it difficult to do so in an efficient manner, though?
As instructors in a Title I high school, we devised an instructional paradigm based on student-created films that allowed students of all abilities to learn at their own pace and achieve mastery of individual skills one by one. We made use of the following screencast-style videos:
Replace traditional lecture-style direct instruction with online education, allowing us to spend more time working with individual students; provide detailed instructions for projects and other complex tasks; or correct students’ deficiencies in skills that they may need to practise.
As the founders of The Modern Classrooms Project, we are now educating instructors on how to use blended learning in their own classrooms. The idea is to give instructors the tools they need to create their own high-quality instructional movies. This, in contrast to externally made videos, allows teachers to multiply themselves in the classroom without sacrificing their authenticity—they can deliver direct instruction through the videos while also rotating around the room, answering questions and encouraging students to deeper study.
STEP 1: CHUNK INSTRUCTION
Great teachers have a lot to say about the subjects that they are teaching. The need for speed is especially important when it comes to video production. According to research on instructional films, student engagement with videos begins to decline around the 6-minute point, and it drops drastically after the 9-minute mark. As a result, it is critical to chunk training so that each video focuses on a specific learning objective or activity and nothing else during the video. A series of brief videos is preferable to a single long video.
Take, for example, this video on inference created by middle school English teacher Toni Rose Deanon, which teaches an important subject, provides multiple examples, and then assigns a job to the kids in just over 4 minutes. It takes only 3:25 to walk students through an example and teach them a note-taking approach in Emily Culp’s video on four-box notes. In a world where people have short attention spans, videos like this are effective in conveying their messages effectively and swiftly.
STEP 2: BUILD VIDEO-READY SLIDES
Studies have also revealed that the most effective instructional videos are highly focused, make extensive use of visual cues to highlight crucial information, and utilise as little on-screen text as possible. While the same slides that would be used for an in-person lecture may be appropriate for a video presentation, creating a slide deck that is clear, concise, and aesthetically attractive is essential. (We have math/science templates as well as English/history ones.)
Moira Mazzi, a high school science teacher, explains the big bang hypothesis to her students through the use of engaging images and concise annotations. This helps to focus students’ attention on what Mazzi is saying while also providing them with a sense of the key terms and ideas they should record in their note-taking.
STEP 3: RECORD
There are a variety of tools available to help you create an effective instructional film. Here are a handful that can help to streamline the process while also improving the overall quality of the video.
Preferably, you have a touch-screen tablet or laptop with a high-quality stylus as your recording equipment. The ability to readily annotate graphics and display work is ensured as a result of this. In addition, handwriting provides a lovely personal touch. However, if you have a laptop that does not have a touch screen, or a tablet that does not have a stylus, you can still create your own videos.
Explain Everything, for example, allows instructors to pause and re-record select areas of their video without the need to achieve a flawless take, which alleviates the burden of having to get it right on the first go. Look for a package that has a powerful video editor as well as an integrated annotation tool.
Microphone: Although it’s easy to overlook, it’s quite beneficial to have a pair of headphones that have an external microphone. These headphones will help you improve the sound quality of your videos and ensure that they are free of background noise.
This video on digital sound production (please notice that the video is in Spanish) was created by music teacher Zach Diamond to educate students how to produce their own compositions using a tool called Soundtrap. Highlighting, annotating, and a computer screencast are used to demonstrate the process. The clarity of Diamond’s voice and the clarity of the video assist pupils in following along with even the most complex tasks.
STEP 4: ENHANCE ENGAGEMENT
Students can lose concentration simply by sitting and watching movies; however, the finest instructional videos keep them actively engaged throughout. Taking notes or answering guided questions while watching a video, according to research, improves student retention of the material compared to students who passively observe. Incorporating questions into your instructional video through the use of products such as Edpuzzle can increase student interaction while also providing you with useful formative assessment information. Students should consider video-watching as a task that they must complete actively in order to gain knowledge.
The Pythagorean theorem is explained in this video by math teacher Michael Krell, who incorporates periodic checks for understanding and delivers criticism to pupils who get those checks incorrect. The option to skip ahead to important sections in the video to assess their understanding of the topic is available to students at any time. Krell provides his pupils with paper copies of the video slides so that they can take notes while they are watching the film.
STEP 5: BE YOURSELF
Most importantly, sincerity is an essential component of any effective video. The most successful blended training is not just not visually appealing, but it is also highly personalised. Allow yourself to make errors, and make sure that your own personality shines through at all times. According to research, the most engaging films are those in which the instructor speaks in a genuine, conversational style and with an enthusiastic tone. Students, in our experience, are extremely appreciative of the fact that the video is being produced by their actual teacher.
Take, for example, this film on the states of matter in which middle school science teacher Demi Lager allows her personality to shine through. Even if pupils are not particularly interested in solids, liquids, or gases, her friendly demeanour and sense of humour are likely to keep them intrigued.
Learning to make a high-quality instructional video does not happen fast; it takes a lot of trial and error as well as creativity and ingenuity. After years of video production, we still find it difficult to be both interesting and concise in our presentations. But we persist in our efforts because we feel that teacher-driven blended instruction is the best option for our children’ educational development. So get to work on your plans, download some recording software, be yourself, and have a good time!