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Oct 4, 2022

How to Use Video for Students of All Ages

Screencastify Squad

It's safe to say that videos are shaping education as we know it. And more and more teachers are using videos to teach course materials and bring the classroom to their students. But the most effective videos are the ones you record yourself.

In this episode of the EdTech Heroes podcast, our host Nef Dukes welcomes Sarah Moon, Elementary Instructional Coach and Interventionist at Durham Public Schools. They chat about the benefits of using videos in education, why customization is vital, and how to create a genuine connection with your students.


👋 Name: Sarah Moon

💻 What she does: Elementary instructional coach and interventionist at Durham Public Schools.

🏫 Company: Durham Public Schools and Modern Classrooms Project

✍️ Noteworthy: She's a mentor at Modern Classrooms Project.

📱 Where to find Sarah: LinkedIn | Twitter

Key insights 

Instructional videos are a handy way to "clone yourself." One of the perks of using videos in education is the ability to "clone yourself." You get a chance to be at multiple locations at the same time. You also make education more accessible.

Sarah explains, "I think what we can do with instructional videos is — we frequently say at MCP — you clone yourself. Because at the end of the day, it is you making that video. It's you connecting with that kiddo, and you also knowing how your kiddos need to learn through that video.

If you know that you have a class that — using your seventh grade civics example — is going to need some reading support, tailoring that video using that, using tools, using tools such as Screencastify to go ahead and do that but really using that video to clone yourself for those big ticket things."

Kids don't want perfect; they want you. When deciding between professional online videos and custom videos, you should always go for your own material. Why? Because students want you.

Sarah says, "At the end of the day, kids don't want perfect; they want you. And so, being able to use that video in the corner — you have probably noticed if you're watching the video version of this that I talk with my hands a lot — being able to talk with my hands still within a video instruction, being able to draw right on the screen."

Videos are personal. Videos are a great way to bring the classroom to your students. It allows you to create a genuine connection with them without being with them one-on-one.

Sarah explains, "I think with the video, and with being able to record your own voice, it becomes a conversation. It becomes that small group table lesson versus, 'Oh, we are recording, and it is very prim and proper, and I have video recording software.' I'm able to record myself teaching, which can be so powerful because it's me teaching. It's that relationship that I already have with my students, but they can have it in the classroom.

They can have it on the playground. They can have it during specials. They can have it at home. They can have it wherever they have that video connection."

Episode highlights 

Connect with your students 👏

"When we think about the traditional method — and when I say traditional method, I mean teacher up at the board, teaching lecturing style — it's very difficult to have those true one-on-one, small group moments just because you're so caught up in everything else, and you're having to be on the stage, or you're having to lead everything.

And so, I think when you bring in self-paced, mastery-based, blended instruction, then you're really able to not only make sure that students have that access, but also you as a teacher are able to have those moments."

Customization is key 🔑

"As teachers, we understand where our kiddos need to go. We understand from data: What do they need to learn? How am I going to do that? I think often some of our more veteran teachers can sometimes be like, 'Ooh, okay, I've been doing what I've been doing,' which I totally get because y'all have earned it 'cause you've been in the classroom longer than I've been alive, some of y'all.

But then, thinking about that, y'all are superstars. You know how to teach kids, and so then, utilizing that strength in video form. And I think it's really just that customization."

Know your audience 🙋

"Whether it's traditional or whether it's blended [teaching], you need to know your audience, and as much as we can customize for them, we should."

Screencastify is a great intro to video education 🎬

"It's a big tool that we typically recommend to implementers, especially those that are at the beginning stages of exploring screen recording and everything. And most of that is just because Screencastify is really user-friendly. It's really easy to pick up. It's easy to explore. It's very affordable whether you do the free version, which is very nice, or you decide to go pro. And so, it's just really a good first step for a lot of people."

Highly quotable 

[07:09] "We were moving and grooving, doing everything as we needed with Modern Classroom for about two or three weeks, and I realized all of my students were engaged, and they were working. And I could literally take a moment to bask in it and know at that moment that every single one of my students was actively learning something that they needed to learn, and that was huge. And I had never really had that moment before."

[11:52] "I think video instruction goes back to that overall theme of access, really allowing students to access your instruction at different times that work for them. But it's also super helpful once review time comes around because I have this huge bank of videos that we can use for different reviews instead of me trying to think about how to do 20 different pathways for a review."

[34:28] "I think that can be really powerful too — being able to reflect on your own practice in a way that we're never able to. When you're teaching up at the board, you're not able to see yourself in real time and think through everything 'cause you also have a million other things on your mind. So I also think it can be a powerful way to build your teaching practice — being able to see it, reflect on it, and move forward."

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