Video projects and assessment
Using student-created video projects to assess learning is going mainstream, according to Eddie Bradley. Time to hop on board.
What’s already happening
Popular social media applications and video-sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok (Doyin in China) have made video creation accessible for all and are wildly popular with children and teenagers. As a result, many students are already skilled creators and are adept at expressing complex ideas in video form.
Furthermore, learning from video has become second nature to students around the world. 68% of teenagers say YouTube has helped them improve or gain skills that will help them prepare for the future.1
This follows the broader global media trend, moving away from written content to presentation in video form. Our challenge as teachers is to harness and develop students’ growing movie-making skills and creativity by integrating video creation into everyday school life.
Unleashing creativity across subjects
Creating video projects captures student imagination and brings learning to life. It promotes active learning and allows students autonomy for relating concepts, themes and theories to their own lives. The application of video creation projects to learning across subjects is limited only by our imagination as teachers and students.
Popular examples of video-based work include:
- Video diaries from students own experiences or the perspective of a fictional character or historical figure.
- Interviews (in person or virtually) with subject or topic experts
- Parody TV shows demonstrating chemical reactions in a cookery show or a biodiversity survey in the style of a travel vlog.
- News reports explaining the importance of historical events or impact of scientific theories
Finding an original take on concepts continually revisited in the curriculum can be equally refreshing for teachers as it is inspirational for students.
Where to start
Many teachers asking students to use video for the purposes of assessement are self-taught themsleves. But the use of video for teaching and assessment is no longer the preserve of media buffs. We all need to get on board this bus. Seek out colleagues who have made a start. Ask that they be given time to lead a workshop, or go further – when asked for suggestions for PD, request video-making to be provided as mainstream professional learning. Using and understanding video as a form of communication and assessment is increasingly important for everyone.
Less is more
A recent MOOC study (Massive Open Online Courses are free online courses) found the average engagement of students with media is 6 minutes2, regardless of the total video length. However, the old adage “less is more” is particulary applicable with video. The optimum length for a video project will vary with age, when in doubt, ask for shorter videos to be created. A well-planned and insightful video is a considerably more valuable and engaging learning experience than a rambling and disorganised 5-minute project.
Teacher modelling of what a successful project will look like and setting clear expectations is critical, but take time to build your confidence. Start small, gradually increasing the size and scope of tasks required. A successful strategy can be to ask a class to create a 1-minute video creation task on a specific topic. Then select and screen a sample of two or three student videos that completed the objectives successfully, but used different approaches. At the same time, challenge yourself at the same time to build the use of video into your teaching.
The important thing is to make a start.
Creating a supportive learning environment
Students may be apprehensive about appearing in videos. Create a supportive and inclusive environment and give them options to create varied video output based on their confidence and skill. For example, students can narrate the audio for simple animated powerpoints, or voice over their own explanations from a previously recorded video. Group less experienced or tech-savvy students with more confident buddies.
Always request permission to show student’s video projects to others and continually reassure students that they will have the final say if their work is shown to classmates. Invariably many students are initially reluctant to appear on screen in front of their peers. By creating a safe and supportive learning environment, students will grow confident and eager to share work they are proud of.
Substance over style – assessing video projects
Grading video projects may feel like a new and unfamiliar realm which requires an entirely new assessment framework. However, regardless of the output, the subject assessment objectives will remain consistent. The biggest challenge may be convincing students that an assessment conducted through video can be as rigorous as a traditional written test.
Start small, using formative and peer assessment on “micro” video projects, so students see the value of feedback and feel progression. Be open and transparent with assessment objectives and continually share success stories. A nice touch is to screen record and narrate teacher feedback to students.
it’s easy to be over-impressed by spectacular special effects or flashy Tarantino-esque editing. However, this may unfairly favour students with greater movie-making experience or access to expensive video editing software, but who may not have met the criteria set for the project.
Imperfection, participation and fun
Although a TikTok coordinated dance challenge may not be your idea of fun, the values of originality and authenticity embedded in “do it yourself” movie-making have inspired a generation. So let’s harness students enthusiasm for creating fun and innovative videos to drive learning outcomes!
Founder of Ed’s Business Essentials/ Using interactive online learning to raise achievement in CAIE Business exams
Website caiebusiness.com (Company Website)
- Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., Generation Z Media & Values study, n=1000 people age 13–17, May 2018.
- The Myth of the Six Minute Rule: Student Engagement with Online Videos Dr. Larry Lagerstrom, Stanford University