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).

We live in the age of YouTube when 5 billion videos are being watched daily and over 300 hours of video content is 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?

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. So, why not choose the next level of video integration in the language learning process such as tutorials, vlogs, digital storytelling, video-reviews, raise-awareness documentaries, video-based learning diaries, and other student-produced videos?

Are you always looking for ways to empower your students? Have you tried to implement learner-generated video projects without having a clear approach in your mind? Of course, you can always explore and find out what works, only guided by intuition and guesswork. But in case you decided to follow a systematic approach, this article is going to provide five simple steps to follow and several aspects from research studies to consider if you want to exploit the pedagogical power of student-generated videos in your classroom. First, let’s briefly explore some of the main advantages of using these types of tasks.

Why should we design video assignments?

Why should we promote student-produced video projects?

Using video technology in the classroom is rather limited to passive viewing which rarely challenges students to become active producers. There are many pedagogical challenges in implementing appealing video-based assignments. Usually, these tasks are guided only by guesswork. Teachers often lack the much-needed resources and guiding principles based on a flexible comprehensive framework that could help them design and carry out learner-generated video projects in their context.

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, and further, 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 far from being actively and methodologically integrated into the primary and secondary EFL classroom routine. Research in the field of Learner-Generated Digital Video (LGDV) is still in “embryonic stages”, usually exploited in higher education as a “vehicle of reflection for pre-service teachers” (Reyna et al 2019). Generally, frameworks for classroom use are rare, too technical, and provide low pedagogical value.
The best way to start is to have a clear picture and a general understanding of 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) which 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:

Basically, this model combines pedagogy, digital media training (despite the preconceived idea that students are digital natives, most of them still need training which can be delivered through setting peer mentors, expert student systems), video hosting (Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Seesaw etc), marking rubrics, group contribution assessment, feedback, scaffolding strategies, among others. 

Shuck and Kearney’s model of good practice (2004) for student-produced videos highlights three important areas to be considered: STAGES, TEACHER STRATEGIES and PEER LEARNING STRATEGIES.


STAGE TEACHER STRATEGIES PEER LEARNING STRUCTURES

1.
Developing ideas. Define film purpose and target audience, film genre, content and context Students research content. Scaffolding (suggestions for purpose, ideas for genre, content, audience, roles, etc.). If possible, support student choice of genre, film content and context. Modelling of films from the teacher, other experts and previous students. Modelling of relevant language. Groups negotiate own roles based on own expertise/ interest. Formulate a plan to swap and rotate roles during the project. Discussion of necessary team work skills.
2.
Storyboard/ Scripting
Encourage use of mind maps to inform storyboard. Modelling of storyboards from teacher, other experts.
Collaborative mind maps.
3. Re-storyboarding Students have to “sell” their storyboard to their teacher (formative assessment of storyboard) or peer before filming and if necessary, edit it. Group meetings to assess progress and share perspectives.
4. Preparation for filming Facilitate students’ preparation of scripts, props, costumes, lighting etc. Modelling of relevant language. Modelling of filming techniques. Allocation and rotation of roles. Group meetings to assess progress and share perspectives.
5. Filming Give formative teacher assessment (including informal observations) of film quality. Use of peer tutoring/ ‘expert’ system for skills support. Possible collaboration in roles (e.g. 2 people share a role) and possible rotation of roles.
6. Editing Scaffolding from teacher (e.g. Some media elements – clips, photos, sounds etc. could be supplied from teacher or from external sources, especially for young learners). Give formative teacher assessment (including informal observations) of film quality and advise on re-filming and re-editing of scenes. Possible collaboration with or feedback from online filming communities.
7. Small group viewing Reflect and discuss Students’ own group as main audience Mediate small group discussions of film content or film-making process. Peer assessment. Discuss and share perspectives.
8. General class/ school presentation Celebration of Product! Reflect and discuss Class/ school peers and teacher as main audience Mediate small group discussions of film content or film-making process to extend/ review/ probe concept and skill development. Use feedback from audience to inform teacher assessment. Encourage student reflections (e.g. use of journal, e-portfolio). Roles allocated to group for presentation. Peer assessment and feedback. Roles allocated to audience to encourage audience participation. Discuss and share perspectives.
9. Dissemination and publication Audience now becomes peers external to class, other teachers, parents, wider school, local or international communities. Use product for reporting to parents (including student-lead parent-teacher conferences). Use product to promote subject/ class/ school. Use product for intra or inter school film festival, competition or TV show. Share with an online community (possible feedback from experts). Possible use of film as a vehicle for communication / cultural exchange / sharing of perspectives with peers outside class. Possible use of videos as peer conversational artefacts in online communities.

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

What elements do you need to consider so you can exploit the pedagogical value of student-produced videos? 

It is highly recommended to take into consideration the following elements when designing video assignments. 

  • First of all, decide the TYPE of video task (individual or group – collaborative assignment). For certain projects, I encourage my students to choose how to work.
  • THE PURPOSE of student-produced videos

We need to decide on the main purpose of using student-generated videos (SGV).  Below there are the three main modes of using Student-Generated Digital Video Projects, detailed with elaboration, examples and types of audience.

  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: 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).

  • GENRES FOR TEENAGERS VIDEO PROJECTS ( e.g. Vlog, Guided tour, Walkthrough, How-to video tutorials etc. There will be more details about these formats in the following blogs).
  • DIGITAL MEDIA training (ethics, intellectual property and copyright issues must also be considered  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).  This means that students are given the freedom to choose the area to which they wish to contribute, for example, research for the storyboard, scriptwriting, acting, directing or editing the video. They feel empowered to be sharing their knowledge or use their skills, taking responsibility for their expert role in front of their peers.

  • PROVIDING MODELS AND SUPPORT
  • TEACHER’S ROLES AND STRATEGIES
  • REFLECTION
  • DISSEMINATION AND FOLLOW-UP
  • Give your students the opportunity to reflect on their learning experience! It is useful to implement self-assessment rubrics as well as peer-review tools!
  • Make sure that students’ videos reach a ‘real’ audience. It is important not to neglect the final stage which implies finding creative ways and opportunities for students to “celebrate” their work and final products (School Film Festivals, Competitions for inspiring and raise-awareness videos on current local and global issues, etc.).

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. Here are some creative video assignments that our students loved:

  • Make a book trailer

What other better way to motivate your students to read?

  • Make an infomercial 

Challenge your students to promote a new concept/ topic they learned as a commercial. They need to be persuasive and use their creativity to convince their audience to “buy” their product. For example, they can promote The Present Simple Cake or a scrumptious Salad of Adjectives!

  • Make a how-to video

Video tutorials are definitely a great way to show a deep understanding of a skill or a concept from how to make slime to their favourite recipes, from explaining what is a black hole to explaining Minecraft. They can post them on Flipgrid, Seesaw, Google Classroom.

Possible video tasks and activities to choose from:

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

Suggestions:

Students are given the freedom of topic choice and are encouraged to create a short 2-3 minute videos to share something interesting about their area of interest.

  • Recommended steps:
  1. Documentation stage: mastering the topic chosen for the tutorial (shadowing other tutorials, gathering information).
  2. Scriptwriting stage: creating the storyboard (use of mind-maps to facilitate script-writing, adding props etc).
  3. Production stage (audio-recording, voice recording, video editing).
  4. Dissemination (Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Seesaw).

Ideas for student-generated tutorials:

  • How to …
  • make pancakes
  • 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 (time management tips etc).

2. Show your favourite experiment

Recommended steps:

  1. Take some photos of the experiment (it is advisable to record for a few seconds as it is easier later 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 or add subtitles.
  • Linguistic competences:  
  • explaining and using descriptive language
  • science-related vocabulary
  • Technology: any video editing software: FilmoraGo, Power Director, etc. (recommended Seesaw, especially for hosting and sharing).

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 short video some common errors/ traps in English and suggest how to avoid them. You can use props, photos and video-editing apps. Be as creative and energetic as possible.

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. It’s like a learning diary but in a video format!

What difficulty/challenge/ failure did I have this lesson/ week/ module? How was my learning experience?

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 types of video projects as well as tested ready-to-use learning designs for student-generated tutorials. Last but not least, we will be presenting 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?

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