• Nicky

Teaching With Videos

This is not an unusual request.

Another message pings into my inbox: “Hi Nichola, can you tell me what you use to make your videos as I want to start creating some for my students.”

Flipped learning is becoming more popular, many teachers are venturing into teaching with videos to support their students learning and I get lots of emails and messages asking about how I create my videos, what microphone I use, which software I recommend etc. So I thought I’d give you a rundown of how I create my videos.

This is by no means the only way to create videos and I don’t even claim it is the best way but it is my method and the equipment and software I use which works well for me.

Planning my videos

Believe it or not I don’t just sit in front of a camera and say the first thing that comes into my head; I carefully plan it out. My videos are quite chatty so goodness knows what they would be like if I was just allowed to ramble on without a strict plan in place.

The first thing I do is write any notes that will be downloaded by the audience to accompany the video as this helps me know the detail I want to cover in the video and formalise the running order. It also gives me a chance to play about with the language and think of the best way to put my message across in the simplest way possible.

I also create any PowerPoint presentations including animations and rehearse what I am likely to say. I create the graphics that will be used as part of the video and do a “dry-run” of using the software. Even though I think I know it really well, I can still be surprised by something.

I find it essential to practise any programming I will be doing. This involves creating and testing the code and once I know it’s working correctly, I print it out. As the coding is recorded without me being on camera, I can use the printout as a reference guide without the viewer knowing I am looking away from the camera as I enter it.

I then plan my script. I don’t feel comfortable reading from a formal word-by-word script as I like to look at the camera when I am on-screen and I don’t have the memory to remember things exactly so my script just contains bullet points.

Because I have already written the detail in the notes I know the phraseology that I will probably use and have already planned any examples and metaphors so I can ad-lib from the bullet point list with a certain amount of confidence.

The bullet points for a 15 minute video usually fits onto a single A4 page.

Once I have everything prepared, I record the live sections of the video.

Recording live sections

When I refer to live sections I mean the bits of the video where I appear on camera, directly talking to the audience. I often see educational videos which contain only a screen recording of a PowerPoint presentation but didn’t realise somebody is talking for a few moments until the first bullet point pops up by which time I have missed the first few seconds of their important message. When you see somebody talking on the screen it acts as a prompt to the viewer to switch on their audio.

I have many messages from teachers telling me that their students are more receptive to listening to somebody talking when they can see them rather than having a PowerPoint presentation shown accompanied with a faceless audio track. I feel that having the presenter on screen for at least part of the video makes the message easier to digest.

Personally, I find it dull when somebody is talking but all I am looking at is quite a few seconds of “empty screen” before the next section of text appears. It may be just me but my mind tends to wander and I can get distracted by something else in which case I am not really listening to the person and it is only when I look back at the screen I realise they've moved on.

If somebody is on screen talking to me I find it captures my attention more, I remain looking at the screen for longer and am therefore less likely to miss the next important point they are making. It may be uncomfortable, putting yourself on screen, but I feel the benefits outweigh the embarrassment.

So how do you set up for the glamorous world of appearing on screen? Most of my videos are recorded in my home office and once I set up the equipment my desk is a cluttered, tangled mess …