Would you like to know how to create educational videos using your webcam that don’t look like they’re made in someone’s basement, but without spending a small fortune?
I bet you do!
To help you in this worthwhile pursuit, I have some tips for you… but first a warning: Producing very high quality videos is not a walk in the park. I say this, not to scare anyone off, but to level off expectations. Producing movie quality videos is what the professionals do! And they get paid a whole lot of money to do it! All those fancy transitions, music and animations take talent, practice and time. However, with a few practical tips, you can produce decent quality videos with your webcam on the cheap, that are just fine for the majority of uses in the Educational world.
My first generic tip (tip number zero): your webcam video should be less than 6 minutes in total – anything longer and your viewers (students) will switch off.
And without further ado, here are three of my top tips:
Learning Management Systems are a seemingly unavoidable part of the online education landscape. For most users, they are a necessary evil. Despite the low opinion that users hold for the tool, learning management systems perform a range of administrative tasks well. They house course materials, results, assessment information and provide an avenue for staff and students to communicate with each other.
Louis CK performs a comedy skit which on the miracle of cell phones and flying and human apathy. In the bit, he talks about the magic that allows messages to be passed through this tiny little piece of technology, into the sky, and then beamed back down into another person’s little piece of technology. That is some kind of wizardry when you think about it. Louis CK’s takeaway: Humans complain about what the phone doesn’t do, rather than marvel at the things it does well. This analogy is applicable in the land of the Learning Management System. People take for granted the things a learning management system does well, but when it comes time to critiquing the software for what it doesn’t do – the pitchforks are out in force.
In my experience, the users (students and teachers) ire is drawn to two focal points:
- How easy is the learning management system to use?
- What does the interface of the learning management system look like? Continue Reading
“What exactly is an infographic?” is a question that I was asked many times in the last year or two. Sometimes I even asked myself the question as I attempted to wrap my head around exactly what it was that separated an Infographic from a graph with a text description. The common definition these days is that it’s a representation of information using a combination of graphics, statistics and descriptions. Infographics have numerous practical applications in a teaching and learning format, where they can be used to demonstrate complex ideas in an easy on the eyes format. Literature and evidence is in plentiful supply that illustrates the effectiveness of using more than one medium (through text, images, sound, video etc) to capture student attention whether online or face-to-face (Here is a paper on multimodal learning from QLD, Australia), and Infographics (done well) can hit the sweet spot of images+stats+words+colours = learning!
There are various resources available online which provide examples of Infographics that I recommend you check out to see what is possible. (note: As a starting point, visit TheNextWeb and have a perve at some of their groovy examples. Their descriptions are also a useful starting point for thinking about how, when and where you might like to use them in your own teaching. If you’d like to read up a little more on Infographics generally, check out Infographics: The Visual Power of Storytelling by Jason Lankow and Josh Ritchie, which is heavily cited in Academic circles and receives excellent ratings from readers.)
History and context lesson aside, I’m assuming you’re here because you already know what Infographics are and just want me to get to the bit where I tell you what tool you can use to make them yourself with minimal graphical design expertise, time or money.