Video in the classroom, copyright, and vodcasting

A slightly different class prompt inspired some thoughts on educational uses for video…

Thinking back on your own experiences, what were the benefits and drawbacks of using videos as part of the instruction? What changes could have been made to maximize the experience? (chapter 12)

I have seen some very powerful uses of video to bring remote events or speakers into a classroom (or online class). There have been a handful of videos I’ve been shown which have had powerful and lasting impressions. I have a feeling the video made by blind students to showcase their abilities, which I shared in my last post, will be one of the ones that sticks with me.

Some of these powerful videos have been brief, but some were rather lengthy; if the production quality, engagement, and motivation for watching are sufficiently high, the need for short clips is reduced significantly.

I’d like to add a drawback to the mix that I haven’t encountered in our discussion yet… I have often encountered a video for a second (or third or worse) time after having already seen it in a previous course. This was not effective.

Another drawback was brought to mind by the showmanship side bar at the bottom of page 289 of the Smaldino text. Teachers really must learn the skills of cinematography (and the related and ever changing technical skills) in order to make the most of increasing popular practice of integrating video production in the classroom. However, as this will help to transform the teacher into a co-learner with the students, I think this can, as part of a balanced paradigm shift in the classroom, make for a powerful integration of video and a much more rich context-embedded, inquiry driven, and socially negotiated learning environment for the students.

On another note, in principals’ technology training sessions that I am now coordinating (AB 75 and Private School Principal’s Trainings), I recently saw Hall Davidson of KOCE give a presentation about copyright, with a particular focus on video of course, as he works for a television station. It is amazing how many rights classroom educators have to use copyrighted material, including video (even hollywood blockbusters… even disney movies), in their classes – as long as they are shown for educational purposes. So while the common practice of showing a film as a reward is strictly prohibited, the common misconception that teachers cannot show copyrighted films in class (particularly disney movies) is entirely unfounded in the law. Many of the techniques discussed in the thread go a long way to ensuring that video is being used for educational purposes… playing short clips, leaving time for discussion, preparing graphic organizers or focusing questions, and even assessing students after the material is viewed.

Now we weren’t asked to relate this to our ASSURE project, but I think vodcasting (video on demand ‘casting) could be shared with the participants, and those with the skills and motivation to do so could be invited to include video in their own blogs and final project lesson plans. (BTW, there are some devices that allow video to be as portable as an iPod makes music, and I suspect the iPod photo is only one step away from iPod Video. I’m not sure all the benefits of podcasting – such as listening while driving or exercising – would extend to vodcasting with a portable device, though. Still, my former boss at Newport-Mesa is currently working on a project that might bring brief instructional full motion video clips to student Tungsten E handhelds so that they could prepare for or review lessons anywhere anytime… a prospect with exciting implications for the district’s EL learners especially.)


PS – To check out Hall’s work, visit his website at the following URL:

It is not the prettiest of websites, but his materials are good.