• Dave Foord
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Creating an instructional video

This is the 6th entry in a series on ‘putting the fun back into fundamental learning’.

One of the best ways to learn something, is to try to explain it to someone else, which we often do in the classroom by getting students to explain a concept to the person sat next to them, or stand up in front of the group and do a presentation, but this can become a bit samey for the learners, and they are always presenting back to people at the same levels as themselves.

One option is to ask them to create an explanatory video – the beauty of this, is that you can then give them a different target audience (e.g. younger people, people outside of the subject area etc) making them think not just about the material and information but how it is communicated.

In terms of what technologies to use, learners could use their own mobile phones and the camera facility within, or you could provide them with cameras if you have access to that resource, or you can use the screencasting ideas mentioned in an earlier post (which then doesn’t require a camera at all).

However if you do have access to a camera, and possibly a few tripods, then asking the learners to create an instructional video for their subject area in the style of the ‘Commoncraft Plain English‘ videos, could be a very interesting learning activity, an example of such a video being:-

Obviously these are very polished, well planned out resources that must take hours to produce, so we are not looking for the same level of quality as these, but the idea that we break down a topic into into key elements, and communicate them in a way that is easy for other to understand.

The real beauty of this idea though, is it requires very little planning time from the tutor, the tutor does not need to have any high level technical skills, it promotes higher order thinking skills, and good Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) and it should be fun for the learners to do.

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Access Apps – CommonCraft style

Access Apps appeared on the scene about a year ago, and I hav used it in may training sessions since then, and think it is a superb tool. The people that developed this (The 2 Scottish RSCs) have put togther a video in the style of CommonCraft videos, explaining the principles of this software.

The suite of software has now been expanded to include LearnerApps (for mainstream learners), TeachApps for teaching and support staff and an option to create your own package called MyApps. These different suites are now packaged as Eduapps

Google Docs ‘In Plain English’

Many people will know that I am a big fan of Google Docs and use them a lot in my work (and non-work) life, because they are easy to set up, are great for any form of collaboration, and used properly can save huge amounts of time. However there are a lot of people out there who still don’t get the concept, and more importantly don’t understand the problem of having lots of different copies of the same files.

So to try and explain the principle, here is a video produced by  CommonCraft .