Developing tutorials as a department

one of the most exciting innovations we’re looking at as a department next year is beginning the process of using video tutorials in our teaching. (NB. The videos are clearly media-centred, but what I hope people will find useful are some general thoughts on how you might begin this process in your own department).

(What we used)

  1. Scripts
  2. A moderate amount of time
  3. A decent camera on a tripod
  4. Editing software (Imovie)
  5. Our youtube channel to upload and share finished videos

First tutorials

Our rationale for doing this was clear – as a Media department it seemed a crime that we had no videos of their teachers’ attempts to do the same things we ask our students to do all the time (and its a fair question in general I think: how often do we actually do and experience for ourselves the things we make students do every day?!). We hoped that on the simplest level, just having a clear, engaging visual representation of key things in our subject would really appeal to students. Also, it should provide variety and enable independance – easy for students to watch these again in their own time and to provide variety in teacher-led talk & explanation.

My first attempt was….ok. I worked mostly alone, with the help of one colleague for the main part – a scripted conversation with myself (watch it and you’ll see what I mean) to show the basics of using a green screen. A key thing I had wanted to do was to make the tutorials just a shade of laughable (remembering Jim Smith’s RING <RELEVANT, INTERESTING, NAUGHTY & a GIGGLE principle) so that students might be even more likely to engage with the material. I am not entirely sure how well it worked here, so you will have ot judge for yourself.

Conclusion: When making these tutorials it is better working as a group wherever possible – better ideas=better results.


Main tutorial: Camera shots, angle & movements (see here)

This was the first thing we did as a department (3 people involved in total) and it was much more successful that my lone first attempt. First we picked the best camera possible to film it (d’uh!), but what also worked really well was that in the planning stage we thought really carefully about the mechanics of the video and how it would communicate genuine learning and subject specific vocabulary to our students (the aim of it was to get them familiar with the various ways in which you can describe film)

What we settled on doing was using the ‘camera within a camera’ idea to really show off the mechanics behind the short film’s construction (see screenshot below). So, I was the hapless teacher with the coursework, while my other colleague filmed me who was in turn filmed by the other person in the department! This meant that we were not only showing our students what the different shots the camera was taking but also the way in which my colleague had stood/moved/sat(!) to achieve that shot. Have a look for yourself and see if you think we’ve pulled it off

Final thought: Keeping tutorials short seems to be the key. We have noticed that students want to be able to access the information quickly and not have to trawl through information that is not relevant to them. So, say for a program like photoshop, we have been making lots of mini-tutorials that don’t last more than 2 minutes – generally they are only showing one or two processes at the most.

Will be reporting back soon to see how they are affecting the teaching & learning of our students.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s