Another wonderful sound-bite from Sir Ken Robinson:
” A great gardener, a great farmer, depends upon plants growing under their care, otherwise they’re out of business. But the irony is that every farmer and gardener knows you cannot make a plant grow. You cannot do that – you don’t stick the roots on, paint the petals, attach the leaves, you know. The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. Great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions of growth are, and bad ones don’t. With bad teaching all this potential of students shrivels in the face of it. With great teaching all this stuff starts to flourish and flower. And that, to me, is the great gift of teaching: to recognise that growth is possible, at any time.”
For a few years now I’ve been spouting the same lines when it comes to planning a video for an distance learning course or MOOC: “preferably no more than 4 minutes, definitely no more than 6.” Anything more than 6 and we’d consider splitting it at a natural point in the subject, or working with the individual and their content and seeing where a natural break can be made, or other ways to shorten the video.
This has been supported by experience (from distance learning courses I’ve supported at both Bournemouth and Leicester University’s) and the MOOCs I’ve supported and developed while at Warwick, as well as articles like this.
As with everything, there is enough evidence to be found to support and to disprove it.
Yes, I agree that if you have a ‘teaching’ resource, where the academic/teacher is speaking to camera then there is an optimum length that someone will sit and be ‘talked at’, and this is where I see the 6 minute limit coming into play. These kinds of resources are often loaded to a VLE or a MOOC and as part of a set of resources for the topic or week’s subject area.
But there are other approaches to video content where I don’t see this working. What about case studies or mini-documentaries? What about a conversation, when a short 4 minute clip just isn’t enough to get in to the details? Do you still stick to the short-is-best message? In order for these to work you will often need to make it longer so the content and ‘message’ of the case study can be put across.
Let’s not forget, the video is nothing on it’s own. It must always be put into context for the student – why are you presenting the video for them to watch, what do you expect them to think about when they watch it, is there something they need to question as a result of the video (and/or linking it to other resources to build their wider knowledge about the subject area), can they critique the resource and present their findings back to the group, etc.? Continue reading →
Back in June 2012 we were all sharing this great video – Digital story of the Nativity. Using the different forms of social media and social sharing the story of the nativity was brought (amusingly) up to date with things like online purchasing, messenger systems, etc.
Now someone has used the same approach and premise of social media activity and Facebook share/likes on the history of Rock n’ Roll. Using soundbites from 64 songs, 84 guitarists, 44 drummers, and 348 rockstars, this is a wonderful video. Checkout the link below for the full track listing (as if you couldn’t list them all anyway!)
What this so brilliantly brings together is the relationship(s) between bands, their music, and what they listen to/like in a world of connection. Enjoy!
At the end of 2015 I met up with Lesley Price, just a catch up to chat about retirement (unfortunately not mine), keeping busy, moving house, and The Really Useful #EdTechBook. Lesley also had something else to show me.
Whilst waiting for food to arrive Lesley plopped (only word for it) a blue lunchbox on the table and said … “try this out”. Um, OK?
Connecting to the Capsule Wi-Fi, then typing an IP address to my phone’s browser, I was suddenly connected to a learning management system complete with a choice of courses / content, interactions, videos, etc. This box had it all and, if we’d told people on tables around us, we could have all accessed and learned something new together. Right there and then! Continue reading →
Well, I do. I have had some amazingly productive and informative ones over the years. Sometimes they’re held in offices, sometimes in dedicated meeting rooms, sometimes over a cuppa in the campus cafe, and occasionally over lunch off-site. But what makes a ‘good’ meeting? For me a ‘good’ meeting is:
Needed – sometimes emails or phone calls aren’t enough to gauge progress, cover what’s needed, etc.
Short – not too short that you end up needing another one to cover what you missed (see later) but not too long that you end up going off topic and wasting time.
Purpose – everyone present knows the meaning and reason for the meeting, and sticks to the agenda and gets on with it, in the time allocated.
Equal – no one dominates the discussion or agenda unnecessarily.
Prepared – Everyone present should be there, no unnecessary invitees, and everyone is prepared for it.
Closed – clearly defined actions, if they’re needed, on who does what from here, and by when. if further follow up is needed then this is agreed in advance and timescales set.
I recently attended an event, as part of the team filming it for colleagues, surrounding supply chains (how stuff gets to us). The speakers, Miriam Gilbert and Keith Freegard, spoke wonderfully about the need to do more to include a more circular (recycling) methodology to our manufacturing and processing industries.
And this got me thinking. What are we doing, if anything, about this with our learning? Can we show a similar approach, good or bad, in how we generate, connect, create, collaborate, communicate, curate? (sound familiar?)
But first … what is a circular economy? The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes it as “a global economic model that decouples economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources” and that it “provides new opportunities for innovation across fields such as product design, service and business models, food, farming, biological feedstocks and products.” In essence it’s the ability to re-use materials in the manufacturing of new ones. Nothing new, but the processes involved are often ground-breaking and at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. Continue reading →
From this year’s ALT conference I enjoyed (finally) meeting Wayne Barry, EdTechBook contributor, and chatting about his ALTC presentation.
Wayne’s presentation looked at a different way of interviewing candidates for Learning Technologist positions using standard questions and short presentations, but also the inclusion of a short role-play exercise. Each candidate is given advance notice that they will engage with an ‘academic’ who is interested in introducing elements of distance learning to their module. During the short exercise (many people took issue with the use of the term ‘role-play’) candidates will exhibit both knowledge of their discipline as well as the ability to listen, engage, problem solve, and debate with a member of the team taking the role of an academic.
So, how do you find out if someone will fit in to your office and team environment? Can you do this by just questions? Do competency based questions offer enough space for someone to fudge their way through the process, or rather offer the interviewers enough insight to see the tRuth behind the candidate?
This reminds me of this video, from Heineken: Job Interview. Slightly over the top, but you get the idea – by changing the process you find out many different things (hopefully good) about the candidates. Enjoy!
So, Steve Wheeler has updated the #blimage challenge to video now (a natural progression), and challenged a few people to reflect and write on what it means to them.
You can read my #blimage and #blideo posts here, and find out more about the challenge and how to get involved (hint: find an image, write about it as part of a learning journey or story or experience).
Here’s Steve’s challenge:
Apart from the shear volume of the herd (makes me think about “following the herd’ mentality) it’s the poor lost/stuck calf at the end of the video. Whilst struggling with confidence on jumping the fence, like he’s seen all his family do, he finally tries it, succeeds, and runs to catch up with the herd. Continue reading →
Earlier this year I was invited to contribute to a guide for teachers on the flipped classroom, concentrating on the inclusion, or rather availability, of video to increase student engagement (flipped classroom or not).
This is what I wrote:
“Believe it or not YouTube has only just turned 10 years old. Yes, that’s right. So much has changed in that time that it’s often easy to forget just what the rate of change has been. Video has always been something that could be used in classrooms or for teaching and learning, but it was often a bulky CRT television on a trolley, with a VHS player and a multitude of knotted cables that the teacher could never unravel to get it near the wall socket. Therefore, in my experience, my teachers often gave up and tried something else instead. Not only was the actual technology / hardware itself difficult to use, the materials we were shown would be old programmes, not always relevant or interesting, and more often than not of poor quality that only a few in the class would be able to see and hear it properly.
I like infographics and social media statistics, but this is the one that has always annoyed me. Liking Facebook (a global network) to the population of a single country is inaccurate.
However instead of saying “if Facebook was a country (population X) it’d be the largest” you said “if Facebook was a government of a country (with population X) it’d be the largest in the world” sounds far more accurate. It’s not about the position or the size of the population, for me it’s the appropriateness of the comparison to geographic countries or responsibilities to it’s ‘population’.
According to Wikipedia Facebook is marginally ahead of China in population, with China at 1.36 billion, and Facebook reportedly at 1.39 billion.
And this is really what it is – Facebook is not a country, it is a government, of sorts. It has ‘residents’ or ‘citizens’, they are real people (for the most part), they have communities and shared interests, passions, ‘likes’, they poll/vote, etc. and they do all this in the area their government is managing.
I’m sure Facebook probably knows more about it’s citizens than most governments do (it knows when we’re happy, sad, ill, socialising, etc.). What I’m not sure on, however, is how many other governments sell this data to other governments?
This reminds me of the opening track from the 22 year old Billy Idol album ‘Cyberpunk‘ where it says:
The future has imploded into the present.
With no nuclear war, the new battlefields are people’s minds and souls.
Mega corporations are the new government.
The computer generated info-domains are the new frontiers.
Though there is better living through science and chemistry, we are all becoming cyborgs.
The computer is the new cool tool, and though we say “all information should be free”.
It is not.
Information is power and currency in the virtual world we inhabit, so mistrust authority.
Is there a similarity in these words and where we find ourselves today as we freely give our data, our currency, to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google, SnapChat, Apple, etc.?