Now that you are ready to make video lectures for your students, let's go over some tips and tricks to get things started. Before starting, realize that you do not have to make a video for every night. You can, but finding additional resources can help just as much. Check out Homework Video Resources for more information.
When creating your home lectures, a lot needs to come together. You should consider the following when creating these videos:
Look Ahead: Keeping the Final Outcome in Mind
When creating video lectures for your students, you should have a small list of things you hope to accomplish by the end of the video. Do you want your students to recall certain information? Do you want them to learn an initial skill necessary for the activities the following day? Do you simply want them to think about a concept or phenomenon to explore this week?
When you think of your final outcome, you can narrate the video towards that goal and deliver students proper information. It is also a good idea to introduce the goal at the beginning of the video, somewhat like an introduction to an essay.
You will also need to figure out which medium will be used to provide lectures to students. Common options such as Youtube, Google Drive, TeacherTube, Ed-Puzzle, and Dropbox are popular ways to distribute materials to students.
Be Personal: Developing a "Persona" in Video Lectures
You can be yourself in these videos. From personal experience, students like when their teachers can add small amounts of humor to a video. It removes the anxiety associated with learning new information, and helps students gain knowledge from a familiar face/personality.
It is okay to joke, it is okay to entertain. Just make sure the focus reverts back to the goal in mind. Students like your personality in the videos.
Organize: Break It Into Pieces While Planning and Recording
Don't expect to complete a 3-minute video without making an error in speech, information, or presentation. You will make errors. It is much easier to make smaller clips that you can add together. In addition, have an idea of each "chapter" that will be included in your video:
- Introduction to the topic and objectives
- Give context for the information
- Explain and show with visuals
- Provide guided examples of the skill, concept or application
- Summarize the topic
- (Optional) Introduce the next topic briefly
You may also introduce breaks, pauses, or "try it out" moments for students. This helps them take breaks from the content or pause the video on cue to attempt a problem. It also keeps them engaged instead of simply watching a video for a set period of time.
Model the proper way for students to learn from your videos. Explain how focus and attention to the video is key to their understanding. Folding laundry or playing a game on their phone while the video plays will not result in effective learning. Sometimes, teachers will give skeleton notes to outline the process of learning.
In addition to organizing your content in your video, your videos need to be organized as well. Do not simply add a general title to the topic. Instead, give it a naming system, such as Lecture 3.2.5 - Cell Division (Unit 3, Chapter 2, Lesson 5). This will allow students to easily search, navigate to, and organize the materials on their own.
Be Realistic: Your Videos Won't be Fantastic the First Several Times
This is a learning process. Your first few videos will be bad, and that's okay. Once you get used to the environment, you will improve steadily over time. No one masters a skill on their first try, and that is to be expected. What you can control is the quality of the video and audio. In general, if your computer can support recording in 1080p, you should do so. Audio quality is also extremely important. Test your recording environment before committing to a full audio lecture. Echoes and background noise can quickly ruin the quality of your narrated lesson!
To put this in your favor, you may ask students to provide feedback on the videos, discussing what they think worked, what needs improvement, or what parts are unnecessary. Doing so puts a partial responsibility to learn on the students, which improves their engagement with the material.
Stay Focused: Don't focus on special effects
Special effects are nice, but they don't guarantee better learning. You would benefit more from taking that time to better explain a concept, or finding additional media to provide to your students. Special Effects are something you can work on after a year or two of creating videos.
Plan & Present Differently: Think Like you are Writing an Essay, but Speak to Summarize
In your videos, develop an introduction, body content, and a conclusion. There is a reason this format exists in the written world. Take advantage of it in the video world as well. When showing students information, do not read the text. You may highlight small snippets of text or key words, but do not read word-for-word to students. They can pause/rewind/replay the video to re-read the text. When speaking to students, speak in a casual way. Do not slow down for all speaking. You may slow down when reading a definition, but it should not occur frequently. Repeating yourself once is actually better than slowing down.
Legality Matters: Avoid Copyrighted Materials
You will be very tempted to use characters, figures, and logos that are the intellectual property of companies or organizations. This should be avoided, as companies can request that a video be removed based on copyright claims. In addition, it may be illegal depending on where you live.
Your first video lectures may look like this:
Note how this video was made. The user used a smartphone camera and narrated the user through the process. This is in no way "professional", but rather personal. This personality moves from the video into the classroom, and students have still learned from the same teacher.
It is also worth noting that the person is avoiding mono-tone speaking, as a lack of personality conveys a lack of enthusiasm and emphasis.
Before creating your first video, be sure to check out Screen Recording Software for a better idea of what is possible for your skills/motivation.