In today’s media saturated world, teachers face more challenges than ever in trying to capture and retain the attention of their students. In their efforts to convey important information, they may find themselves competing not only with distractions in the classroom environment but also with the constant presence of connected devices and shortened attention spans of a generation reared on YouTube.
Rather than perpetually fighting the tide, tech-savvy instructors are learning to embrace new forms of media in order to enhance and improve upon traditional models of classroom teaching. As an example, some professors are starting to incorporate video into their classroom discussions in order to improve student engagement. Worthwhile content can be found on YouTube and other online sources and easily integrated into a PowerPoint presentation to create a more dynamic and engaging lecture.
In schools where video equipment is installed, it’s also very easy for instructors to make their own videos and post them for use in or out of the classroom. Here are a few simple tips for ensuring that your videos are compelling to your target audience:
- Let go of your stage fright. Remember that it’s not really about you – you are playing a role. Don’t worry about the camera, just deliver your content in the best way possible, as you would if you were teaching one on one.
- Come through loud and clear. Make sure that the microphone is on and the sound is working properly. It may seem basic, but problems with the sound will ruin the viewing experience and in many cases, can be easily corrected at the time of recording. Record a short test video, play it back, and make sure that you can hear your words clearly. Also, if you’re recording a lecture and a student or participant asks a question, be sure to repeat it. This helps with comprehension generally and ensures that future consumers of the video don’t experience unexpected gaps in audio coverage.
- Get right to the point. Recent research shows that in 2015, the average attention span has shrunk to 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Show and tell your students in the first 5-10 seconds exactly why they should keep watching the video and what they will derive from it. In terms of retention, 3 short videos are better than one long one, so keep your video short and focused for optimal impact.
- Make it visual. Research data indicates that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and images are processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text. Whether embedded into a PowerPoint slide or animated like a video, images appeal to the viewer on an emotional level and help to convey the importance of the message. Whether you are standing in front of a whiteboard drawing a diagram or using images pulled from the Web, images will help to make your content memorable.
- Ham it up a little. It’s okay to be entertaining, even if your real mission is to inform and educate. Infuse some energy and personality into your video and don’t be afraid to take some risks, if you think it will help to get your point across. Delivering the information is just half the battle – in order for learning to be effective, students also have to remember what they were taught. Incorporating video into the classroom makes for a more dynamic and engaging learning experience, and has been proven to help students retain information by up to 60%
Video can be a fantastic tool for the classroom and can also help to capture lectures for students to review after class.
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