ICYMI Quick & Easy Instructional Videos for Absent Students

This week’s Tech Tuesday explored:

So, you’re missing students during in-class instruction. You’ve got all the materials posted in Schoology but kids can’t “put it together. Schoology tells them what to do, not how to do it… how do you fill in the context? In this session, learn how to capture instructions in audio, a narrated presentation or a video demonstration so they can keep up with what you need to teach them.

Recently, I have been approached by teachers who are concerned that students are missing too many days.  The same teachers see technology as one of the ways that they can reach students who are absent.  They are indeed right to think this direction.  ASCD and ISTE’s guide to flipped instruction makes the argument early on that planning out flipped instruction can help reach students’ learning at home.  But, teachers need not dedicate themselves to flipped instruction to take advantage of instant replays of instruction.

Video is abundant, and time is of the essence

Now, I chose those words very carefully.  Because we are now in the YouTube era, we have to be cognizant of the societal expectations of a platform that most people use as a social network or for entertainment.  On my YouTube channel, where I saw 18,558 minutes of watch time (as of posting), the average view duration was only 1:52 minutes.  Last year, I had 26,865 minutes of watch time, and an average view duration was 2:14 minutes.  The decreasing view duration is following larger trends that shorter online videos are actually more engaging.  My advice?  While the typical mini-lesson in classrooms might be 8-10 minutes of instruction for a skill or segment content, teachers should narrow down or break up that skill into a smaller series of easily-digestible 2-4 minute segments.

Before we get started, let’s get a couple technical understandings out of the way, too.  Anytime I present or talk about video in classrooms, it’s important to review some classroom video best practices, some of which I have previously posted. My school is in an advantageous situation because we use Schoology as our learning management system (LMS).  Schoology is a great hosting solution for our students because we do not filter or throttle access; Schoology accepts most video types; and Schoology converts videos into streaming formats while still allowing students to download clips for offline video.  We’ve got three wins before we even get started.

When it comes to recording, we have a variety of options available to us on our staff- and student-provided MacBook Airs. I spent some time last week showing off how I make my Promethean ActivPanel videos, too.  Whether you’re ready for recordings of live instruction or whether you want to spend time out of class reviewing lessons, we have a solution!

My teachers can find the rest of this week’s resources in our Schoology faculty page here.

Options for recording on a MacBook

Recording on a Promethean ActivPanel

DU Recorder is my app of choice for Android platforms like our Promethean ActivConnects

I plug a Logitech C920 webcam into my Promethean ActivConnect.  I also download DU Recorder from the Google Play Store.  DU Recorder was originally designed and marketed to capture people playing video games on their phones.  (Yes,there’s a market for that.)  DU Recorder was ad-free when I found the app, but became my favorite because their app allows me to record my voice over the screen and export to OneDrive with a couple quick touches.  Their editing interface is not very responsive on my ActivConnect, but I suspect that’s more of a hardware limitation.  What makes this my top choice rather than the flipped-instruction-specific apps is that I can capture everything I will use in a lesson.  Our ActivPanels are powerful enough to run the Office suite, Chrome and other content-specific apps, so why limit myself to an app that just captures my handwriting?

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One thought on “ICYMI Quick & Easy Instructional Videos for Absent Students

  1. Hi Adam,
    You sure have a lot of amazing resources for the teachers you support! Kudos to you! I hope that the teachers give it a try! We have recording tools readily available (Front Row and Smart Recorder), but I only know of a handful of teachers who have recorded lessons. I know that this is related to comfort level and time for professional learning. Your post reminds me that I need to continue to encourage the practice and offer support in a variety of ways.

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