Category Archives: video

Hairdressing Video

If you are learning about hairdressing, reading about it is okay, but doesn’t really show how to do things even with nice colour pictures. Video is a much better way to reflect on a process, to prepare for a process or learn about a new process.

Worcester College of Tech and Hairdressing Training have placed a series of short, useful videos on different hair cutting techniques on YouTube.

See more videos.

Hairdressing Training is run by Mimas (http://www.mimas.ac.uk). It provides you with a range of resources to help with your teaching. These include a suite of web resources with photographic step by step guides combined with lessons and handy tips and techniques, suiting a variety of learning styles. Hairdressing Training is also available via mobile devices.

100 ways to use a VLE – #70 Hosting video

Though there are video sites out there on the web that will host video. Sometimes you may not want the video to be public out on the web. In that case hosting video on the VLE may be an ideal solution.

If the video is of a presentation on a tricky subject, or contains licensed content that you can place on the VLE, but are not allowed to freely distribute, or has the students in and some don’t want to be publicly online; then place the video on the VLE may be a better option than uploading to Vimeo or YouTube.

Video can be useful to enhance and enrich learning, one lecturer I know films his quiz questions, as the learners find this more engaging than reading them on paper, it also allows him to ask questions about practical stuff more easily than trying to explain a process on paper. Recording debates and discussions, allows learners to reflect and review them at a time and place to suit the learner, rather than just relying on notes and memory. Video analysis of sporting techniques ensures that learners can improve their technique through the video as well as verbal feedback.

By placing the video on the VLE, you can place it in the context of learning, enabling learners to clarify how the video works in respect of the rest of the course or topic.

For ease of access, by placing the video on the VLE, the learners will be able to click and download the video.

Generally though it isn’t perfect, the server may not be configured to deliver or stream video, likewise there may also be storage issues, as video files are generally much larger than text or Word documents.

This is fine if the learners click to download the video inside the college on the fast network connection, but less fine if the students are at home on a slow broadband connection, or more likely on a mobile device.

The key here is to encode the raw video file so that the resulting file is small in size, but not so compressed to be unviewable (very important if there is text in the video).

There is also the question of what type of file format you should upload. Should it be WMV, as everyone runs Windows? What about learners on a Mac, well they should be able to cope with extra software. However WMV is less useful for those on mobile devices or using non-traditional computers like the iPad or a gaming console like the PS3.

Similarly, if you using a Mac to edit the video, h.264 MP4 files are excellent quality for small file formats. However you do need to be careful about file formats so that it will play on most phones, the iPhone, the iPad, PSP, etc… If you are running Windows, after many years of “ignoring” h.264 it looks like that Windows PCs (well newest ones) are able to play h.264 video files.

One option you may want to consider is placing a few formats on the VLE, so giving learners choice on which to download.

From experience, videos should not be too long or too big. In terms of file size try to keep under 50MB, with 100MB being a real maximum, and less than 10MB is better for mobile devices (even on WiFi). In terms of time, I wouldn’t put any video longer than 10 minutes on the VLE. Anything longer, I would put on DVD so that it can be watched on the TV over a computer or mobile device. As with any guidance or advice, there will always be exceptions.

Hosting video on the VLE is sometimes the only option, but with the right amount of compression, it will result in an engaging and enhanced learning experience and not a frustrating annoyance.

Photo source.

Flip’ping Pilots

There were many interesting and informative papers and presentations at EdTech 2010.

One that caught my eye, was a paper on the use of Flip cameras brought to the fore the issue of technical barriers to the successful implementation of a new technology. Even despite these barriers, enthusiasm and perseverance paid off. The project demonstrated the importance of effective communication between all stakeholders.

After the presentation I was discussing cameras with some of the other delegates, I had my Kodak Zi8 and a Sanyo Xacti with me and we were looking at the merits of these compared to the Flip. One of the delegates did say that she was interested in running a pilot in her institution.

Here’s a question how many Flip projects and pilots need to be run before we can accept that there is value in using these “cheap” cameras to enhance and enrich learning? How many duplicate lessons need to be learnt? How many learners need to experience the use of video before it is accepted that this does contribute to the learning experience? I can accept that every institution is different, but how different are they? We are in fact much more similar than we think.

If only a single small pilot has been run in the country, then yes there is probably sensible to run a pilot. But when we are talking about Flip cameras, hundreds of institutions have run pilots and projects involving these cameras, and other similar cameras. Papers have been written, presentations given, case studies disseminated.

Southwark College: The impact of low-cost video cameras across the curriculum

Gateshead College: Successful staff coaching through video footage analysis

West Kent College: Dance and IT capture evidence using pocket video camcorders

The Production of Generative ‘fly on the wall’ Mini Documentaries Capturing a Physiotherapy Students’ Personal Experience of their First Practice Placements

ESOL Students Interview Staff

Flip Cameras arrive at Wisewood

Basic guide to using the Flip Digital Recorder

Move industry into the classroom and the classroom into industry Flip It

Web Video & Healthcare Case Studies & Best Practices

How many pilots do we need? Or is it more a question that we need to run a pilot at our institution before we think about “rolling” it out across all curriculum areas. I am also aware of successful pilots in one curriculum area which have been followed by virtually identical pilots in a second curriculum area… Why? Well the learners are different! Really! How different, they have two heads or something? That actually raises a question on any pilot, well successful pilots have resulted in a roll out across the whole institution?

We do see institutions that use tools such as Powerpoint across the institution, similarly we see some institutions have embedded the use of the VLE. However was this via projects and pilots? Or was it something different?

Do pilots actually help institutions move forward in using learning technologies or are they causing problems rather than solutions?

If we don’t learn from pilots that others do, is there any point in talking about pilots?

So is there a use for the pilot? I believe that we can use the lessons learned above to change how we use pilots in institutions and use them for staff development to improve the use of learning technologies.

Though it would appear from talking to delegates at EdTech and elsewhere that most institutions do not have consistent use of the VLE or other tools. This is down to many reasons, some are fear and apprehension.

However prejudice, lack of training, lack of understanding, lack of knowledge play their part too. Some staff perceive that some tools or technologies are “not suitable” for their learners. Some staff don’t have the skills to fully utilise the tools. Many staff have a lack of understanding about the capabilities and potential of technologies. Others have trouble transferring activities from say face to face to the internet.

Whenever I run training sessions at the college or as a MoLeNET mentor I often talk about a range of learning activities, new gadgets, tools and services; and I know for many this is overwhelming. I will usually tell the participants that they should take “just one thing” away with them and embed that into their practice and make a difference to their learners.

This brings us back to the pilot!

Generally in a lot of institutions pilots are run by the e-learning team or an enthusiastic individual. They try one pilot after another…

This doesn’t always get the holistic results they intended, very much seen as a get the project done, then move onto the next new technology… “…did I say I was going to get my iPad this week?”

Why not get all staff to run a pilot, everyone runs a pilot of some kind, evaluate the results, embed into their teaching and then start another pilot…

There is plenty of ideas, guidance and case studies on the web and from other institutions, so support is much simpler than it was say ten years ago.

Staff don’t need to be restricted to the pilots, but for many staff it will be a way of using a wider variety of learning technologies than they were before.

So next time you suggest a pilot, think is this necessary, is this going to work? Maybe we should get everyone to pilot something.

Photo source.

What is Wikipedia?

Common Craft have made another one of their really nice videos, this one on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Explained By Common Craft.

Clean and tidy

One of the annoyances of using YouTube in the classroom is the “untidy” YouTube interface. It has got better recently, but one annoyance remains, the comments.

For some reason many people who comment on YouTube videos seem to have to use profanities or make weird or rude comments.

As a result when you are showing a YouTube video in a classroom or at a conference, people get distracted by the comments and miss the video.

I did mention QuietTube in a post last week, I was recommended by Ellen to have a look at SafeShareTV.

Not only does SafeShareTV remove distracting and offensive elements around YouTube videos, but it also allows you to crop videos before sharing them.

A neat little idea to sending YouTube links by e-mail, or posting links in the VLE.

It helps avoid some of the distractions that the main YouTube sites offer and is in some ways better and easier than trying to embed the YouTube video.

Another way of showing your videos in the classroom is to use the channel and find the videos that way rather than using the direct URL.

As you can see you also avoid the unecessary comments and distractions, but stil not as clean as SafeShare.