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Video Killed the Radio Star

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Last week, the latest version of "Did You Know" was released. Like the previous versions, it was filled with stats that were surprising and also thought provoking. The statistics are there to jolt us to action and to make us, as educators, realize the world in which we live and teach. One statistic that really shocked me was the fact that in the last 2 months, more hours of video have been uploaded to YouTube than all the broadcast hours of TV of the four major networks since 1948 combined! This is an astounding statistic because it has so many different layers of impact.

One impact in particular is that today's students are visual learners, but they are also visual creators and consumers. This means that the old film strip with the beep to tell you to move to the next picture is really not going to cut it. In some cases, your students could probably do a better job of cinematography and explaining the content than the Betamax video that you have in your closet!

Our students have grown up on the visual medium and are used to having things explained to them in this way. They are also astute creators of it. Once again, however, this is where we hit a roadblock due to teacher reluctance to switch to this medium because they believe it to be too time consuming, while the administrators fear the cost involved. To the teachers, I say, put trust in your students. Most of them know more about technology than we do, and they can be excellent teachers of how to use technology. When students are the creators of a video, for example, they learn more about whatever their topic is--they are the researchers, writers, editors, actors, and producers. Whatever the content is of the video is not lost in the creation of it. Instead, it becomes ingrained in their minds because it has meaning to them.

To the administrators who fear the cost involved, for about $80 you can get a Flip camera that allows students to create and edit videos. If Flip cameras are not in the budget, why not allow the students to use the technology they bring with them to school every day? With the new I-phone, you can take video and edit on the camera itself.

The fact remains that our students are digital creators and digital learners. They are comfortable with and know how to use technology. They are ready to change they way they learn. The question remains, When will their administrators and teachers be ready?
James Yap and Teresa Ivey

2 Comments

Hi I'm an Aussie educator who runs a program called Naturally Positive for high school students and teachers in Australia. When we first started our programs they were pretty serious info and we have found after five years of testing that video (visual) combined with comedy is the best form of engagement by far. I felt a bit embarrassed about how flippant our programs looked but we slipped in the learning without them even knowing and the retention rate has been very good

Thanks
Alan Peck Melbourne Australia

I have to at least moderatly disagree with your statement that students probably know more about technology than we do. As a high school math teacher I often use calculators in my class to the maximum capability. It continues to amaze me how difficult it is for students to understand how to work the calculator. The problem is that students love to use technology that will benefit them in some way; phones, email, ipods, etc. Unfortunately many students are technology illiterate, they just know how to push the buttons that get them their disired results without any knowledge of what they are actually doing. This makes the transition toward technology in schools a difficult one because students often don't care about that technology and as a result, don't know how to use it.

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