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If teachers in lockdown had wishes, a copy of all the lessons they’d taught on video in a shareable video lesson bank would be high on the list. Rather than trying to explain new ideas in writing, recording new videos or trying to share ideas online via digital whiteboards or visualisers, they could just share the video and spend time working with individual students or small groups or giving feedback on work.
So, when lockdown ends, many will be thinking of creating a ‘bank’ of lessons – but how should teachers and schools be approaching the process? As experts in classroom video capture, here are our suggestions…
1. Explore what visual material already exists
Many teachers are using lockdown to explore the huge range of videos, podcasts and animations that already exist – either for free or as part of an existing school subscription. The teachers working to produce the content for the UK’s Oak National Academy are focusing on communicating key ideas and concepts and you could start by sharing these general ideas. Or you could look at free sites such as Fuse School or Khan Academy.
Make sure to work with others in your phase or department. You don’t all have to do everything! Some people will be better at planning a sequence of lessons, some might want to help by writing a script or helping with technical aspects such as setting up cameras or editing, while others will want to appear in front of a camera.
Video lessons and other content is often best when delivered by an expert. So you might want to share the particular way you like to introduce a subject, capture the details of practical work in subjects like Design, Art or Science, show how to create answers in English or Maths, or provide feedback on examples of work produced by students. Or you might have personal anecdotes and examples to help bring a Geography topic to life.
Filming lessons with students in them may seem easier than repeating lessons to a camera, but you must be careful if anyone else is going to appear in the video, especially if you are looking to share it outside the classroom. This might of course be a good time to review your policies and see if they need amending to help capture lesson content.
One of the irritations of lockdown for many has been poor quality video calls – this will also put people off watching your recorded videos. Make sure that you can capture audio as well as video to a high quality as well – a camera or iPad at the back of a classroom is unlikely to do this.
A few simple tweaks after you’ve shot the video can make it much more appealing. See if your school already has access to editing software (or check the list of free options here), and add titles, cut out the non-essential parts and add simple transitions to make it more appealing. Also consider cutting a long video lesson into shorter, flexible videos to reflect the shorter attention span of people working online.
There’s no doubt that online learning is here to stay and even if schools stay open there will be more video used for revision or catch-up lessons. You could add your videos, quizzes and assignments to your school’s Learning Management System and even create collaborative projects where students use your teaching to help them solve problems.
The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.