By Ben Bruno

Did you attend the Technology Literacy Conference “TLC at the Beach” in Myrtle Beach, SC this spring? Share your new ideas with us! One theme that stood out to me in the list of presentations was video production for the classroom, whether as a project for students or as a tool for teachers. There are many websites, apps and devices that can be used to record video of various types. But before starting on a video project, you may want to review these guidelines, posted by Duren Thompson and Bill McNutt, from their session “Avoid the Talking Head! Tips for Creating Engaging Online Instructional Video”. Note the list of links in the resources section of their page for further reading on the subject.

For a simple activity you can try in your classroom, here’s an idea from Ben Bruno.

Giving and Receiving Directions (Part II)

In the last Tech Tip, we talked about using Google Maps while working with students on how to give directions. Another activity you can try involves printing maps from Google Maps and using student cell phones to record short videos of directions. Many people are not comfortable appearing on camera, but not to worry – only students’ hands will appear in these videos, allowing them to focus on their speaking skills.

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Print out a few maps to have ready for students to use. Ask students to pair up, making sure that at least one student in each pair has a phone that can record video. Assign each pair a starting location on the map. Ask them to make a video of directions from their starting location to your program’s site. Have students point out the route with their finger as they give oral directions. One student can record while the other gives directions. Encourage them to try multiple “takes” until they feel like they have given clear, concise directions. To give all students experience speaking, ask the the student pairs to switch roles and reverse the directions, or try a different starting location.

Afterwards, ask the students to exchange the videos to see if they can follow along with the other groups’ video directions.

Some tips:

  • Help students make sure there is enough light on the map when recording the video so it can be seen easily.
  • Ideally, have students record their videos in quiet areas so their oral directions can be heard clearly.
  • Share the videos on YouTube if the phone can upload it easily.
  • Have students try them out if it is nearby and you have time!
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