Creating Video Tutorials for your Class Part 1

Welcome back, in the last post, I referred to video tutorials as an incredible asset to your classroom and some of they benefits you would see from using them. I have taught with and without them and, I can truly say that this is worth your time.

Why should you consider making video tutorials:
If you were to ask educators what they consider the most time consuming and frustrating part of their classroom, I believe they would overwhelmingly say that it is the lecturing. The preparation and gathering of the facts, the creation of a delivery method (whiteboard, powerpoint, demonstration, etc), blank stares from students, repetition and hopes of retention, wear and tear on your voice and mind from repeating yourself 3-6 times a day, and the list continues. When I have surveyed teachers as to why they continue to lecture, they say it is the best way to deliver a large amount of content.

This is true, there is no faster way to deliver content. However, studies as well as my own classroom experience continually show that lecturing is one of the most difficult ways for students to learn content. Why is lecturing such a pervasive practice? Consider that up until the last few hundred years, content was very expensive or scarce. Either you had access to a book (which required the ability to read) or you heard a lecture from someone who knew what they were talking about. This practice has continued in all levels of education around the world even though the environment has changed.  Content (books/Internet) is so pervasive now that the time has come to rethink why and how we lecture.

With so little time in the school year do we really want to spend 50-75%  of our time doing that which the Internet or textbooks can do already? But I can hear the concerns, that there is so much poor or erroneous material out there and that there is no replacement for a discussion between teacher and students to go more in depth or clear up misconceptions. I agree 100% with both of these points and I believe video tutorials is not a replacement for the teacher in the classroom but a method of freeing up the educator to personalize and encourage more in depth understanding.

However, there is in my opinion, a right way and a wrong way to implement them into your classroom. This post will talk about how to create the tutorial and the next will describe my suggestions for how to use them.

How to create video tutorials:
Creating educational video tutorials has been around for as long as the medium has existed. Yet in the last couple of years, the cost of doing so has become practically free. Inspired by Patrick Yurick, Karl Fisch, and Don Herbert I began to create Video Tutorials for my classroom.

What you need:
You have two options for creating the video and it depends on how and what kind of content you are delivering. 

Screen Capture:
  1. Create a Powerpoint presentation with the content that you are going to deliver. I would encourage you to add animations that allow you to control when the content appears on the screen.
  2. Start Camstudio
  3. Start the presentation so it takes up the whole screen.
  4. Push F8 (the keyboard shortcut to start recording with Camstudio)
  5. Begin narrating through your presentation as if you were lecturing to your students, clicking through the presentation.
  6. If you need to start over, push F10 to cancel and start over from step 3.
  7. If you need to pause push F8 and again to unpause.
  8. When you are done push F9.
  9. Camstudio will then ask you to save, then it will take some time to process, and finally show you a preview. If you are happy with this then congratulations you have just completed your first video tutorial!