In this blog post, SchoolTube offers 10 Best Practices for Creating Quality Teaching Videos. Driven by near-ubiquitous access to video recording devices/apps and fueled by education initiatives such as Flipped Learning and Project-Based learning, the need to create teaching videos is exploding. As such, if you are a teacher, school principal or district administrator, the need to personally create a video is likely in your future.
To document best practices for creating quality teaching and education videos we interviewed Dena Leggett, Ph.D. Advanced Chemistry teacher at Franklin, TN High School. Dena uses the Flipped Learning process to teach Honors and AP Chemistry and has personally created over 400 videos, so she knows a thing or two about best practices for creating teaching and education videos. Here are Dena’s best education video production best practices.
- Create the lesson/lecture in Word, Google Doc, PowerPoint, etc., as the main visual element of the video and to also serve as the transcription. This will be shown on screen during the video along with your recorded voice.
- Create your videos in a quiet, well-lit location. If you will be showing your face, it is helpful to point a desk light towards you and avoid bright backlighting (sitting in front of a bright window).
- Use quality equipment. Most Windows and MAC laptops and notebooks have the built-in features necessary for recording a video and sound. Good sound quality is a must, so either clip-on or self-standing microphone, for best sound quality. There are many low-cost options available.
- Use a screen recording application like Screencast O’Matic (free & pro version available) to record your voice, image, and screen. These systems can capture your entire screen or just an area of your screen. They will also capture the motion of your cursor which you should use to call attention to important areas of the lesson plan. Note: It’s also possible to create videos using PowerPoint by adding narration and saving the file in MP4 format. This is fine for basic videos but lacks the annotation and live movement of a screen capture.)
- As your skills increase, use an “inking” or annotation application to add notes, underline, highlight, draw, write, diagrams, work problems, etc. Dena uses InkToGo ($20) but there are many others such as Presentation Pro ($20), Presentation Marker ($29.95) and Annotate Pro ($19.95). These marking applications allow you to call attention to areas of the lesson, during the live recording or during the editing process to increase engagement and retention.
- Speak with enthusiasm, and if possible, allow your image to appear on the screen. Your students will be more engaged and retain more.
- After the main video is produced, go back and edit to include images, tables, callouts, to add depth and interest to the production. The recording and inking tools discussed above allow for this level of editing.
- Don’t strive for perfection. You will get better overtime.
- Listen to your students – they will have great feedback. Use it to improve your videos.
- Keep education videos to one subject or segment. Subject level videos should be 2-3 minutes in length and the overall viewing time per lessons depend on the age and class level. Older and higher performing students can accommodate longer lengths. Dena keeps total video viewing length at 10-15 minutes for her Honors classes and 20-30 minutes for her AP classes. This means her students are watching several short videos per night, totaling 10-30 minutes in duration.
Dena, also importantly advises to not expect student mastery from a video. She uses her videos as a foundation for further learning in the classroom and finds that her classroom time is more engaging and fun as a result. Dena employs the Flipped Learning process, but her best practices for creating teaching videos will make any education video better and more engaging. Have fun!