The Internet has had a huge impact on many areas of the educational world. Whether you teach grade school, post-docs, or anyone in-between, you’ll be expected to take account of new technologies in your teaching practice. If educators are to effectively communicate with their students, they have to adopt the channels that are natural to the digitally native millennial generation. That includes blogs, social networks, and increasingly, video.
While it may be daunting for educators to consider video production and sharing as part of their teaching, it’s not as complex as it might seem. The combination of live action, screencasts, presentations, and audio that video makes possible provide a powerful educational tool for teachers.
An obvious example is recorded lectures: any teacher who is capable of delivering a lecture to her class should have no difficulty delivering it to a camera. Once that’s done, the video can be shared to students, allowing them to access it and any supplementary material whenever is convenient for them.
Teachers might also consider using video sharing sites for their presentations. Once presentations are created as videos, they can be used in multiple venues, including the classroom in much the same way as a traditional PowerPoint presentation, during one-to-one interactions with students, and for home learning.
Once you’ve seen the advantage of using video for teaching, it’s time to think about how best to publish your content. YouTube is a popular option, but has some limitations that apply particularly to education. YouTube is all about stickiness: it wants viewers to constantly move from one video to the next and to achieve that it makes constant calls on their attention, which isn’t ideal for a learning environment.
Additionally, although YouTube does have fairly strict rules about the sort of content they allow, much of it is by no means suitable for younger learners, who may also be exposed to other users who behave in unsuitable ways.
Finally, one of the most compelling aspects of video sharing for education is encouraging students to create their own content and share it. As useful as YouTube can be, it is not the best forum for younger users to share their content. Many parents and teachers consider it an unsuitable or unsafe venue.
The best alternative for educators who need to share video is a self-hosted video sharing site. For a nominal expenditure, teachers can create a YouTube clone that offers many of the same features as the famous public sharing sites. The major difference being that they will have complete control of the content that appears. In most respects, the functionality of self-hosted video sharing sites is the same as public sharing sites, including:
A membership system so that educators can limit the viewing and uploading of content to approved individuals.
Social networking features so that users can communicate.
The ability to upload video and have it processed automatically to a format suitable for streaming.
The ability to embed videos on other sites: teachers may want to use this feature to share their video content to their schools other educational sites.
Self-hosted private video sharing sites are more secure, more flexible, and more suitable for educational environments than public alternatives.