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What "video techniques" have you seen help keep learning fun?

Hello everyone, I was wondering if any of you have a favorite video that kept you very engaged in learning something?

What works and doesn't seem to work? I know everyone learns very different, but I'm looking for a overall general "visual video techniques" used that really works. Any special animation effect? Does subtitles help or does it distract the watcher from what's on screen? Certain pop up effects? Basically, how does one maximize the learning capabilities of using videos as a teaching medium for the general population?

Thanks all, I look forward to your replies.

  • Mar 25 2011: Fashioning the relevant material to be learned into a story would be a fairly effective method I imagine (depending to an extent on the nature of the material).
    Using the conventional 3 act structure; beginning middle and end, as framework to weave story around drawing from relevant study material. Because the objective is educational rather than artistic, it would probably pay to stick with convention unless compelling reasons otherwise. Maybe interweave a few subplots if you feel inclined.
    The more successful you are at incorporating the key concepts or information into the very fabric of the story, the more successful a learning tool it's likely to be. The very act of creation is in itself a great learning process, not just in the service of memory retention but in the art of storytelling which as a skill has benefits that go beyond just being able to tell a story well. If you were a little more ambitious and willing to turn your story into a musical, that might be a further help. I found as a kid, rewriting the lyrics of my favourite songs using the words from my human biology workbook particularly effective. (actually the irritating songs you normally can't stand because they get stuck in your head are particularly good choices for that very reason (they get stuck in your head. ) Again, the very act of writing the lyrics in the first place is often enough to commit them to memory. And it needn't take long; the lyrics can be as ridiculous and nonsensical as you like.
    One further comment; The technique of fashioning stories as a learning technique is going to vary in effectiveness according to the nature of that which is to be learned. If it's conceptual, I imagine it would be more effective (though possibly more of a challenge as well) If it's just hard facts that needed to be committed to memory then I would take the musical approach.
    These are just some thoughts, may or may not be of any interest. Happy if it helps, otherwise, hope I haven't wasted your time. By the way, I initially started sketching in the basics of structuring a screenplay which felt like overkill so gave it the chop but happy to post them if they could be of any use.
  • Mar 28 2011:

    Check this out, completely reinventing the way kids learn by using video.
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    Mar 26 2011: I will speak based on my personal experience as a teacher of 5 years. (I'll get to the video in a moment) I have always tried very hard to incorporate the needs and styles of all of my learners. For example, the kinesthetic, visual and tactile learner. Sensory details are a must. In other words, the video needs to also incorporate time for concept based discussion, brainstorming activities and so forth. I help the students create "foldables" and journals of the data they need to remember as well as gallery walls and word walls of other items they deem important. (I'm learning to let the students "run the show" while I facilitate and maintain a sense of structure and direction)
    As for technology - I LOVE my MAC. I usually start my lesson with keynotes (similar to power point). These are meant to introduce the topic and inspire discussion. Again, word maps, foldables and gallery walls are filled with discussion topics. From there I move forward with the video. I've received the best response when I incorporate music, animation and plenty of symbolism. Grant it, I teach ELA plus literature is full of tone, mood and symbolism so I have quite a bit to work with. I find that once students visualize and SEE what we've been discussing I'm more apt to get the "aha moment" from even the struggling students.

    Specifics, subtitles work, but timing is everything. You may want the image to "pause" while you bring in a star or arrow with the point/subtitle written into it. Don't assume the student is following along with their eyes. You may be making a point about one thing on a video but they are looking at another corner or image on the video. The trick is to model the skill, explain and repeat, hilite specifics all without sounding redundant, boring and condescending. Not exactly an easy task. It takes time, energy and focus to get these videos done. Be patient and check out other videos - youtube actually has quite a few.

    Best wishes on your endeavors, Marisa