Video Pedagogy Part 1: An introduction
Bringing Filmmaking Into Your Teaching Practice
In this series of articles, I look at how you can utilise basic skills in smart-phone video-recording to incorporate video pedagogy into your teaching practice. Designed for teachers looking to employ filmmaking in subjects that sit outside the creative curriculum, they show how filmmaking improves class dynamics, strengthens team-working, helps develop communication skills and builds confidence. I’ll also be giving tips so that you can produce video content that you have confidence in, and develop ideas for classroom tasks that help build transferable skills that are essential for today’s learners.
Communication has evolved
It’s not a new or particularly surprising fact that more and more of our time is spent consuming audio and visual content – and as we spend ever-increasing amounts of time on our devices, this of course creates additional demand for content. Alongside this, we now use mobile platforms and technology in how we communicate our own lives and adventures; we record video, we take photos, we record audio, and we publish it all online. We’re simply filming and recording much more than we used to, and in some cases, we’re unknowingly getting quite good at producing this content.
But would we ever take these skills and feel confident enough to use them as an actual teaching resource?
During a recent seminar, I asked students to research a specific topic, and I found that for the majority of them, their first ‘port of call’ was YouTube rather than Google or Bing. I already knew that YouTube was the second most utilised search engine, but seeing it used as a dedicated research tool really struck a chord with me. It had me pondering about how video is the primary mode of online consumption for younger people, and the implications that this has on my own teaching practise going forward.
Therefore, teaching has evolved
I’ve been teaching Creative Media in some capacity since 2003 at both FE and HE levels, and it’s been really interesting to see how as the Creative Digital medium evolves, teaching practises have changed and adapted, and how these changes have then been incorporated into the curriculum. For example, nowadays, I no longer teach editors to produce a single Master edit as content has to be produced with multiple deliverables in mind. Cameras have become smaller and more mobile, which has changed how we teach filmmaking techniques and even the project briefs or coursework we set for our students have changed – ‘Make an advert’ has now become ‘Make an interactive advert’. There’s a significant difference.
The 2019 research paper ‘Video Pedagogy for Vocational Education’ highlights several key ideas around the implementation of video within teaching and learning. In summary, these ideas look at how video can be used to support one’s teaching practice, and how essentially putting a camera in the classroom and recording what a teacher does, can be an extremely useful way to reflect, analyse and share best practices. But rather than using video only as a reflective tool, what about the actual processes involved in creating the video?
Can these be used as building blocks for skills development, for both the teacher and the learner?
Although there are of course independent filmmakers out there, the production of video content within the professional sector is primarily a group effort and requires a combination of technical, communicative and logistical skills. A film can’t be made without these separate inputs, and this is specifically why it makes for such an excellent learning tool. It allows every student to have an individual role, be it – sound, camera, lighting, editing… each one is as important as the other in its own way, and essential to the final output.
Alongside that, making a film is a lot of fun. It builds confidence, improves teamwork, develops creativity, and when completed, reviewing the final project as a group is a great way to nurture a positive group dynamic.
Don’t focus on the details
It’s hard to forget that the younger generation has been using digital devices since they were toddlers, so it can sometimes be a little intimidating to produce or present a project that requires a certain level of technical savvy. But remember, we’ve been using camera and photo apps on phones and tablets for years, so the knowledge and understanding of the basics are already there.
Don’t worry too much about the ‘final product’ either. The students will be used to watching all sorts of content on YouTube where the production standards aren’t the be-all and end-all, so don’t set your expectations too high – it’s not about the end result, rather the processes involved to get there.
So that wraps up this week’s video pedagogy article, I hope I’ve sparked a few ideas on how filmmaking can be implemented within the classroom. Stay tuned for our next article where we will dive into the detail, offering ideas around what projects or briefs you might want to run and the benefits that each can bring to your group. I’ll also be sharing some tips on where to learn the basics in filmmaking, for those of you that are starting from an absolute beginner level.
With a staff portfolio that consists of HE marketers, Television & Broadcast specialists, and qualified teachers, Slate and Mortar is one of the UK’s leading content producers for the HE and FE sector. To speak to one of our team, get in touch today.
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