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Video Production Made Easy With Web 2.0 Tools

By Kara Clayton
 | Feb 17, 2017

ThinkstockPhotos-163931537_x300Using video production in the classroom is no longer the expensive, intimidating approach to student engagement that it was 20 years ago. As a result of Web 2.0, digital tools are seemingly ubiquitous. With more freedom to use mobile devices in the classroom and increased Internet access, video creation and collaboration has expanded beyond the traditional broadcasting or English language arts class.

Since 2014, I have attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island and have had the good fortune of spending a week learning about best practices for using digital tools in the classroom alongside other K–16 educators. As a result, I have learned different methods for including video tools in my practice without the added stress and expense of purchasing cameras, tripods, and editing software.

Creation and asynchronous conversation

Though our world is huge, we can help our students engage in conversations that go beyond a 140-character tweet or an abbreviated post on social media. Flipgrid is one of the tools that I  have leveraged in my classroom in order to engage students in conversations with people with whom they might not normally communicate. This year, as my ninth graders stepped into my classroom, I knew they were my first group of students who had no memory of the events of September 11, 2001. I wanted them to hear firsthand what others had experienced. To do that, I created a Flipgrid, which started with friends and grew beyond people I knew. The interviewees used Flipgrid as a video tool to respond to a prompt about their own memories of September 11. I shared this Flipgrid with my students, who not only watched but were able to create their own video response to posts that resonated with them. Flipgrid offered my students an opportunity to have a dialogue with others through the affordances of connected learning. (Note: If you have a memory of September 11 that you would like to contribute to my Flipgrid or continue a conversation with one of the people who posted to this grid, I would love for you to share it here.)

Leveling the class participation playing field

Another creation tool I stumbled upon in its infancy and that I now use frequently with my students is Voki. Voki is a speaking avatar program that allows users to choose an avatar, make it unique by adding clothes and finding hairstyles and accessories, and add a voice through three methods: microphone, telephone, or a text-to-speech device. Certainly, the avatar design is what draws students in, but one of the most powerful aspects of this tool is that it gives students a platform for expressing themselves. Students can comment on a topic important to them or simply share what they’ve learned. Voki is also excellent for formative assessment. Though I didn’t realize this tool’s power at first, students who are often uncomfortable talking in class or who are physically unable to talk get the opportunity to engage in classroom discussions. The avatar does the talking for them through the text-to-speech option. There are many other ways to use Voki in the classroom; for instance, I’ve had students comment on politics or create advertisements for a product they were trying to promote. Teachers can also use Voki. For example, I have used the Voki Presenter option to teach elementary-aged students how to spell word family sounds. It’s a versatile tool, and many of the options are free to students and teachers.

As a veteran teacher, I know that when students are engaged, they love learning. By providing instructional approaches for developing student expression that go beyond the traditional multiparagraph essay (which typically is not read by anyone other than the classroom teacher), digital media has the potential to be a powerful approach to education. Not only does video production allow students to communicate with a broad audience, but it also provides them with an easy means to become civically engaged citizens.

kara clayton headshotKara Clayton is the media studies teacher at Thurston High School in Redford, MI.

This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).


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