Image by dougwoods via Flickr
So far in my posts on lesson capture, I’ve looked at the reasons for capturing a whole lesson. Let’s be honest, this would seem to be the simplest way to start out on capturing lessons. However, using just a single camera fixed throughout a lesson would probably not make the most interesting video ever! I don’t think you could be too surprised if your learners switched off part way through or skipped through parts of your video or, maybe, didn’t even bother to watch it at all. Well, that’s their right I suppose, anyway, who’s to say that just by skipping through, selecting certain parts, the learners haven’t gained what they wanted or needed to know?
The simple fact is that by capturing a lesson from beginning to end and presenting it as just one video is unlikely to produce the most engaging or educationally valuable resource for learners. Of course, you could edit the video to make it shorter and emphasise only the most important parts but have you got the time and resources to do that effectively? Probably not, unless you have a dedicated team working on this for you.
So let me suggest an alternative, rather than capture a whole lesson, why not set out from the outset to produce a number of short videos each focusing upon a significant aspect of the subject/topic you are teaching? You may well not need to have a class or group of students present for each video, so you can be more flexible in scheduling when you shoot the videos. You can simply pretend you are teaching a class which, the audience, assumes is behind the camera and, therefore, out of shot. Combine your teaching with screen captures of your lesson presentations, videos, lesson notes, handouts etc and you have the beginnings of a short serious of learning resources.
So, in essence, what I am saying is, don’t always consider starting with a video of a whole actual lesson; aim at producing a number of short videos each with a significant focus. Be prepared to use an artificial lesson situation where time and other commitments allow, to capture not just your teaching but also any presentations, notes and other learning resources you may have to offer.
Producing short, focused resources has several advantages. You often hear teachers complaining that students today do not concentrate for long (I think teachers have always said that!), so the short resources fit more easily into their concentration span. Short resources generally require less bandwidth and storage, they are more easily delivered to cloud and mobile learning situations; they are therefore more flexible for learner use.