Educators around the world are transiting to teaching online. Many schools are training & tasking their teachers to create educational videos, which they can use to facilitate online teaching during this period when our schools are still closed. This post will suggest 8 tips for creating educational videos.
The Coronavirus cases found in Nigeria are on the increase. Many more people have tested positive and the death tolls have risen. The federal government is doing its best to curtail the spread of the virus by emphasizing and enforcing social distancing. This has led to keeping everyone at home.
As advised by the ministry of education, everyone should stay and work from home as physical schools will remain closed. Necessarily, teachers are tasked with the responsibility of teaching their classes online, either through live lectures or through recorded video lectures, all of which are educational videos.
Educational videos are videos created by teachers to teach educational content or topics. This can be presented in various forms and created in various way. It could be animated videos, presentation-style videos or simply a video of a teacher teaching a topic while working on a whiteboard.
Whereas some teachers are used to creating videos, many are forced to do this because of the situation in which we have all found ourselves. School owners are seeking ways to train their staff members, online, to prepare, record and share educational videos with their students.
After running some training sessions on this, these are some of the tips I recommend to educators when creating educational videos:
1. Add the Human Factor
One of the biggest problems associated with social distancing is the emotional disconnect it can bring to us all and if adults feel the emotional disconnect, how much more our students. While adults can continue to keep in touch via social media, students may not really have an opportunity to see and reconnect with their friends and especially teachers.
Therefore, one of the biggest tips with recording educational videos at this time is to add the human factor. Use your real voice to record the video, include your face in the recording and smile. Maximize the power of inflexion in your voice and show excitement as you record.When recording educational videos, use your real voice, include your face and smile. Maximize the power of inflexion in your voice and show excitement as you record. Click To Tweet
2. Be Very Explanatory
In an asynchronous online environment and especially with recorded video classes, students do not have the privilege of asking questions immediately. Even though they have the opportunity to rewind and listen to the class again, they must wait to either send a chat or message to their teacher if they need further clarification.
Hence, the need to be as explanatory as possible while recording the video. As an educator, speak well, pronounce your words with deliberateness. Make sure you are audible as much as you are visible. Talk as though your students are listening to you, because ultimately they eventually will!
3. Use Interactive and Engaging Elements
There are various ways of teaching online. Examples include live streaming, asynchronous or synchronous chats, or even podcasts. Depending on the objective of the lesson, a teacher can choose between any of these online teaching strategies. Of course, just as we are discussing here, you can also use videos.
However, the rationale for creating an educational video is that there is something for the students to see and engage with. So while creating your video, be sure to add interactive and engaging elements. Make use of images, GIFs and even videos. Play around with animations and transitions and do not just read a text. It is better to upload a pdf of the note and record an audio podcast than to record your face reading the note.
4. Keep Video Length Short.
Learning at home can be a difficult experience for students. They need a lot of discipline to remain focused and not become distracted, and many times they need lots of guidance from parents who themselves, may be tasked with working from home. Younger students who already show evidence of little attention span even have more to grapple with.
Therefore, it is advisable to keep the length of your videos short. A video of 5 – 7 minutes is fine; and if you must go longer, keep it at a maximum of 10 minutes per video. If you need to talk more, break it into two or more videos. Your content may be very long but you do not have to record everything at once.
5. Keep Video Size Small.
A few of the costs of online teaching & learning is the increased data usage and increased demand on network bandwidth. For students to enjoy a seamless experience online, it is advisable to keep the video size small. Videos of large sizes will require more data to download and view. They will also make more demand on the network and in locations where the network is not so strong, it can be difficult for students to enjoy the lessons.
A video of 7 – 12Mb is fine, with a maximum of 15Mb per video. If your final video is too large, you can compress it. To compress, you can use Handbrake on a laptop or Video Compress on a smartphone or any other apps you are comfortable with.
6. Be Sure To Use A Good Environment
Educational videos are videos that are created for the purpose of teaching a topic or skill. It is professional and must be taken as one. While it does not have to be official, it should not be carelessly done either. So if you are going to show your face, wear a shirt, dress decently and smile. Remember you are talking to your students and not ‘preaching’ or lecturing and they can go away if it becomes boring, so keep a smile on throughout.
Also, check your surrounding and be sure your environment is as professional as possible. Do not leave towels, shorts, distracting wallpapers etc., hanging around behind you in your video. Anything in the video other than your face will distract your students. Get and sit at a table, preferably, so as to minimize distractions. Keep pets and other things that can distract away.
7. Proper Lightening
While it might be a good option to record at night when distractions and noise would be reduced, it is important to ensure good lightening. Please stay under good light so your video is clear and your face is visible. The students want to see your face. So stay under good light. Do not back the window, rather face it.
8. Online Teaching is ‘Teaching’
Do not be tempted to assume that you are not working. Please, treat this as work, wake early, get and use a table, sit at your table and try to minimize distractions. If you are a parent with children at home with you, try to keep them, their faces and voices, out of the videos as much as possible.
Recording Educational Videos Infographic
I created this infographic as a summary of the tips above. You can freely download it, print and use as a reminder.
In conclusion, do ensure that you consciously work at improving your educational videos using these tips as they will enhance video content and quality.
What challenges you the most about making your own educational video? Have you made use of the points in these tips in the past? Are there other pointers that have worked for you?