We regularly speak with educators who are keen to create videos to use in their course and classes, but just aren't sure where to start. If you've never produced a video before it can seem like a daunting process, but in truth, creating video is easier than ever and gives you resources you can use again and again.

As anyone who's watched a TED talk knows, great video can be a highly engaging medium for learning. The development of new technologies and approaches such as blended learning, the flipped classroom and MOOCs has only accelerated video’s popularity in and outside of the classroom.

So, why should I create my own videos?

If you know where to look there are a huge number of educational videos available online. However, many educators are already experiencing the benefits of flipped and blended learning approaches by creating and sharing their own video resources.

Creating original video lets you tailor the piece’s educational content to perfectly match what you're teaching in your course. It also lets you communicate directly with your students on a personal level – it’s much more compelling to watch somebody you know personally than someone else's professor.

And, it really has never been easier to create video. Today, there are so many tools available to help you capture video and create content. Chances are, the smartphone in your pocket and even your laptop have built-in video cameras, and there’s a huge range of apps available to record what's on your screen or transform existing learning resources - such as presentations and slide decks - into video.

Last but not least? Video is a great medium for student led projects too. Although it’s not a replacement for every traditional essay-based assignment, video-based projects allow students to demonstrate their knowledge through a different medium and learn additional soft skills including story-telling, project management and creative thinking.

What makes a great educational video?

Of course, the goal of any educational video is to teach a topic or subject at a specific level. However, it’s worth thinking about how you can make your video as engaging as possible. There are several key areas that are vital to success:

1. Production quality

While you don’t need to be a professional filmmaker, precious few students will watch your videos for long if inaudible sound or poor image quality mean they can’t see or hear you. Learn how to get the best from the tools you’re using and don’t ignore the basics.

2. Pacing

There are so many things vying for your students’ attention that they’ll likely switch off if they find your video slow or non-engaging. Think about how to make your content get straight to the meat of the topic at hand, and teach it in a way that will hold viewers interest.

3. Storytelling

Video is a visual medium that lends itself well to linear narrative: It works best when there is a story to be told. The best educational videos understand this, and use the tried and tested mechanics of visual storytelling.

Storytelling is a brilliant device for engaging your students and ensuring they not only watch the entire video, but also understand and remember what it is trying to teach.

Here are a handful of examples of powerful educational videos created by some of our customers:

    • Mr Rinker, a science teacher at Nanjing International School in China demonstrates gravity and inertia using a water slide.
    • ENT-Surgeon and filmmaker Jochen Bretschneider, of Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, produces extremely high quality training videos for his students. Check out some of their public videos on their MediaCore site.
    • Students at schools in the Wolf Creek School District in Alberta, Canada, regularly produce video assignments with their teachers. Watch some inspiring examples on their MediaCore site.

Stay tuned to our blog for a series of practical how-to posts covering the key areas of educational video production.

Written By

Aidan is a designer and filmmaker. He likes tea, technology and travelling, and is passionate about how video can transform teaching and learning.

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