From slime tutorials to thought-provoking documentaries. (How to implement student-produced video projects in five simple steps).

From slime tutorials to thought-provoking documentaries. (How to implement student-produced video projects in five simple steps).

Over one billion videos every day. More than 500 hours of video content uploaded every minute. No wonder that this type of media content has radically reshaped the way our students learn, share, collaborate, and get entertainment. So, what if we exploited the power of student-produced video projects in our classrooms?

What if we chose the next level of video integration in the language learning process? Take, for example, tutorials, vlogs, digital storytelling, video-reviews, raise-awareness documentaries, video-based learning diaries, and the list of student-produced videos can continue.

Have you tried to implement learner-generated videos in your class? If so, how did you exploit the pedagogical power of these types of projects?

Of course, you can always explore and find out what works, only guided by intuition and guesswork. However, if you decided to follow a systematic approach, this article is going to guide you. Thus, you will discover 5 simple steps to implement student-produced videos based on research studies and countless hours of classroom work.

First, let’s briefly explore some of the main advantages when using these types of tasks.

Why should we implement student-produced video projects?

Undeniably, advancements of digital video technology (low-cost equipment and user-friendly editing software, sharing platforms) have opened the door of endless possibilities for using video in the classroom.

However, using video technology in the classroom is limited to more or less passive viewing. Hence, our students rarely get the opportunity to become active producers.

Why does this happen? First, because there are many pedagogical challenges in implementing appealing video-based assignments. Unfortunately, we teachers often lack the much-needed resources. Undoubtedly, we need a flexible, comprehensive framework to design and carry out learner-generated video projects in our own contexts.

Benefits of exploiting student-produced videos in your class:

  • Well-designed learner-generated digital video tasks provide a personalized, content-rich and “authentic learning” experience (Kearney& Shuck 2006). Additionally, they support autonomy, enhance language skills, and self-reflection while triggering impressive levels of engagement (Kearney 2011). 
  • Video projects can spark students’ interest in the subject content. Moreover, they can enhance their digital media skills while working creatively and collaboratively during an authentic task. 

How can we implement student-produced videos?

Literature review. Pedagogical frameworks/ models for student-generated videos

An insight into the ample literature on digital video in education reveals that the existing frameworks are mostly for higher education or expert-generated videos.

Currently, video-based assignments exploiting student-produced content are not systematically and methodologically integrated into the primary and secondary EFL classroom routine. Likewise, research in the field of Learner-Generated Digital Video (LGDV) is still in “embryonic stages”. To clarify, they are usually exploited in higher education as a “vehicle of reflection for pre-service teachers” (Reyna et al 2019). Subsequently, frameworks for classroom use are rare, too technical, and provide low pedagogical value.


As always, the best way to start is to have a clear perspective. To clarify, we need to start from understanding the main components of digital media literacy framework.

A framework for digital media literacies for teaching and learning, adapted from Reyna, J., Hanham, J., & Meier, P. C. (2018).

Source: Adapted from Reyna, J., Hanham, J., & Meier, P. C. (2018). A framework for digital media literacies for teaching and learning in higher education. In E-Learning and Digital Media, 15(4), p. 178.

Below you can see the model designed by Reyna and Meier (2018). Most importantly, it highlights in a visually appealing way the essential aspects we need to consider when we work with any type of digital media:

Source: Reyna&Meier 2018, A Practical Model for Implementing Digital Media Assessments in Tertiary Science Education, p.28.

Source: Reyna&Meier 2018, A Practical Model for Implementing Digital Media Assessments in Tertiary Science Education, p.28.

Designing video assignments in the classroom with LGDM (Learner-Generated Digital Media) Framework:

In short, this model combines pedagogy, digital media training, marking rubrics, group contribution assessment, feedback, scaffolding strategies, video hosting (Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Seesaw etc.), among others. 

Source: Shuck and Kearney (2004), p.84 apud Kearney, M. (2009). Towards a learning design for student-generated digital storytelling, p.30.

What aspects do you need to consider if you want to exploit the pedagogical value of student-produced videos? 

Research studies reveal that it is important to take into consideration the following elements when designing video assignments. 

  • First, decide the TYPE of video task (individual or group – collaborative assignment). For instance, depending on the project, I personally encourage my students to choose how to work.
  • THE PURPOSE of student-produced videos
  • Of course, we need to decide on the main purpose of using student-generated videos (SGV). To clarify, we outline below the three main modes of using Student-Generated Digital Video Projects:
  1. communication tool  (to empower learners to express themselves);
  2. observation and analysis tool;
  3. SGV as a reflective tool (video-based learning diaries).

Source: Adapted after Kearney, M., & Schuck, S. (2005, June). Students in the director’s seat: Teaching and learning with student-generated video. In EdMedia+ Innovate Learning (pp. 2864-2871). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Key elements and a checklist when using student-produced video projects

  • GENRES FOR TEENAGERS VIDEO PROJECTS
  • You can design some activities to help students become familiar with the generic features of different video genre. (For instance, vlog, guided tour, walkthrough, how-to video tutorials, etc.).
  • DIGITAL MEDIA training
  • You must consider issues such as ethics, intellectual property, and copyright issues. Undeniably, it is essential to ensure that students become aware of their importance when designing their digital projects.
  • LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • PROJECT STAGES
  • STUDENTS’ ROLE AND TYPES OF INTERACTION
  • “PEER MENTORS” STRUCTURE

I usually use the “expert system” or “role rotation system” suggested by Kearney and Shuck (2006). In other words, this means that we give students the freedom to choose the area to which they wish to contribute. For example, they can become responsible for different jobs ranging from research for the storyboard, scriptwriting, acting, directing or editing the video. Thus, they feel empowered to be sharing their knowledge or use their skills. Furthermore, they take responsibility for their expert role in front of their peers.

  • PROVIDING MODELS AND SUPPORT
  • TEACHER’S ROLES AND STRATEGIES
  • REFLECTION
  • DISSEMINATION AND FOLLOW-UP
  • Allow your students to reflect on their learning experience! Furthermore, it is useful to implement self-assessment rubrics and peer-review tools!
  • Make sure that students’ videos reach a ‘real’ audience. To clarify, it is important not to neglect the last stage. Precisely, this implies finding creative ways and opportunities for students to “celebrate” their work and their final products. For example, you can organize School Film Festivals, raise-awareness video competitions on current local and global issues.

To sum up, the five basic steps for implementing a video project could be:

  1. START/ BRAINSTORM the ideas around the topic using mind maps
  2. CREATE a STORYBOARD (draft, edit, redraft until it gets accepted by the director)
  3. FILM 
  4. REFLECT
  5. SHOW and celebrate with a relevant audience

Models of good practice for Student-Produced Videos. Types of video tasks.

Models of good practice for student-produced video projects. Types of video tasks

Making videos empowers students to show evidence of their learning in a fun and engaging way. So, here are some creative video assignments that our students loved:

Possible video tasks and activities to choose from:

1. How to…video tutorials or Experts on a topic

Video tutorials are definitely a great way to show a deep understanding of a skill or a concept. For example, they can show anything from how to make slime to their favourite recipes. More than that, they can explore varied topics ranging from what a black hole is to explaining Minecraft. Finally, there are many safe places to disseminate their outcomes (Flipgrid, Seesaw, Google Classroom).

Suggestions:

Give your students the freedom of topic choice! For example, encourage them to create a short 2-3 minute video to share something interesting about their area of interest.

  • Recommended steps:
  1. Documentation stage: mastering the topic chosen for the tutorial (For example, shadowing other tutorials, collecting information, among other tasks);
  2. Scriptwriting stage: creating the storyboard (To clarify, you can use mind-maps to facilitate script-writing, adding props, etc.);
  3. Production stage (Above all, this stage refers to exploiting audio-recording, voice recording, video editing apps and tools);
  4. Dissemination (Certainly, you can use various secure platforms such as Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Seesaw).

Ideas for student-generated tutorials:

  • How to …
  • make pancakes;
  • create a book trailer;
  • cook traditional dishes;
  • make an awesome origami;
  • speak more fluently in English;
  • create a digital robot;
  • learn better/ faster (a few tricks and tips);
  • read faster;
  • be mindful, how to focus and train your attention; 
  • organize your time better (For example, you can provide useful time management tips etc.).

2. Show your favourite experiment

Recommended steps:

  1. Take some photos of the experiment. More than that, you can record your experiment. In this case, don’t forget that short videos are easier to edit.
  2. Make a video collage using a video-editing app with your photos and short videos.
  3. Record using a voice over and explain the experiment. Additionally, you can add subtitles.
  • Linguistic competences:  
  • explaining and using descriptive language
  • science-related vocabulary
  • Technology:
  • any video editing software: FilmoraGo, Power Director, VivaVideo etc.

3. Fluency challenge (video challenge)

Activities taken and adapted from Seesaw platform:

  • Tongue twister fluency reading challenge
  • Growth mindset poem – fluency reading 

Your task is to record yourself reading a challenging tongue twister to test your fluency when reading! This is fun and also helps you to improve your pronunciation and intonation!

4. Grammar police videos

Recommended steps:

  1. Document yourself about some of the most common traps in English.
  2. Explain in a short video the common errors/ traps in English and suggest how to avoid them. Above all, try to be as creative as possible in your choice of props, photos and video-editing apps.

5. Video-based learning diaries. Share your thinking patterns!

Recommended steps:

Record your thoughts on what you have just learned and add any questions you still have. In other words, it’s like a learning diary but in a video format!

What difficulty/challenge/ failure did I have this lesson/ week/ module? above all, how was my learning experience?

So, what can I do differently in the future?

In our next blogs, we will be providing specific examples of how to create a storyboard in the initial planning stage, templates of storyboards for different video projects.

Moreover, you will find tested ready-to-use learning designs for student-generated tutorials. Finally, we will present some interesting examples of learner-generated videos and examine their pedagogical value. 

Until then, let us know how do you implement video projects in your classroom?

Further reading on student produced video content.

References:

Kearney, M., & Schuck, S. (2005, June). Students in the director’s seat: Teaching and learning with student-generated video. In EdMedia+ Innovate Learning (pp. 2864-2871). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Kearney, M., & Schuck, S. (2006). Spotlight on authentic learning: Student developed digital video projects. In Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 22(2).

Reyna, J., Hanham, J., Vlachopoulos, P., & Meier, P. (2019). Using factor analysis to validate a questionnaire to explore self-regulation in learner-generated digital media (LGDM) assignments in science education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.

Reyna, J., & Meier, P. (2018). Using the Learner-Generated Digital Media (LGDM) Framework in Tertiary Science Education: A Pilot Study. Education Sciences, 8(3), 106.

Jorge Reyna, and Peter Meier, “A Practical Model for Implementing Digital Media Assessments in Tertiary Science Education.” American Journal of Educational Research, vol. 6, no. 1 (2018):  27-31. doi: 10.12691/education-6-1-4.

You can find free and easy to use tools, video-editing apps for kids: https://www.educationalappstore.com/best-apps/5-best-apps-for-video-editing