Video Podcasts in Education

Kay, R. (2012) Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 820-831.

This article was constructed as a comprehensive review of research on video podcasts over the past decade to guide educational practice as well as provide a path for future studies. Robin Kay quickly recaps the history and growth of video podcasts in education, types of podcast categories, ties to previous literature/research reviews, discusses the benefits and challenges of using podcasts, and the methodological concerns. The author also highlights purposes for podcasts such as for viewing an entire lecture in a substitutional fashion instead of or after a face-to-face meeting, viewing podcasts that have been segmented or chunked to support classroom instruction, and viewing podcasts to practice targeted skills or specific problems. One pedagogical concern raised in the article related to the relatively passive manner in which most video podcasts are viewed.

With flipped learning gaining steadfast momentum in the educational community, Kay’s literature review serves as a great first read by a novice researcher in need of baseline knowledge of video podcasts for educational use. Data collected through student surveys in the research evaluated pointed to some key reasons for using video podcasts in education including preparing for class, taking better notes, improving learning, using as a self-check for understanding the content, for missing a lecture, etc. Additionally, the literature examination calls attention to the student attitudes toward video podcasts as predominately positive, enjoyable and motivating. As with any examination of studies, attention must be given to methodological concerns as well as pedagogical shortfalls. Those highlighted concerns help researchers unify, improve and extend the quality of future research in this area.

This article has significant impact in my district. There are many teachers realizing the benefits of flipping lessons such as seeding concepts before being taught, segmenting or chunking learning with short videos for tough concepts, and students using videos as test prep. These same teachers are also reframing how they teach to support flipped learning. The teachers now realize that they no longer need to stand and deliver that instruction, but instead utilize a workshop model approach to address the individual needs of each learner or small group of learners. The students seem to enjoy being in control of their learning, like knowing about the content in advance of the class as well as having video podcasts available to study before a test. Additionally, my district has spent the last three years preparing the technology infrastructure by reshaping and increasing district broadband services, installing more robust wireless, offering video repository locations and student BYOD. I do agree with the passiveness component that video podcasts can have, but recognize that there are web tools to leverage student interactivity, video segmenting and other unique ways to get the learner actively involved, i.e., Blendspace, personalized playlists, LessonPaths, ThingLink, Nearpod, Pear Deck, etc.

Capturing Videos on Classroom Teaching

Kleinknecht, M. Schneider, J. (2013). What do teachers think and feel when analyzing videos of themselves and other teachers teaching? Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 13-23.

Kleinknecht and Schneider present a detailed study about the specific effects of the types of videos on teachers’ cognitive, emotional and motivational processes while watching instructional videos. The researchers suggest that having classroom instructional footage allows the observers to draw multiple connections to their own practice and to achieve a deep level of engagement and involvement (p. 14). Furthermore, the analysis of classroom videos not only activates the cognitive processes, but it also impacts the teachers’ emotions and motivations. Through a quasi-experimental design, the authors conclude that teachers observing others’ teaching through video are better able to concentrate on critical situations and analyze sequences in greater depth versus viewing their own classroom videos (p. 21). Additionally, the study findings reveal that there is no significant difference with emotion and motivation regardless if a teacher is watching their own classroom video or watching another teacher’s instructional video.

I think research on this topic is very important to building capacity of teachers for professional purposes. As mentioned in the article, taking video of teachers teaching in their classrooms capture the essence of the teaching and learning process in an authentic manner and serves as an artifact that can be viewed by the teacher and his/her peers or the evaluating administrator one time or multiple times. According to Kleinknecht and Schneider, there are some limitations to their study, such as a small sample size that limited the generalizability of the results as well as limited video review conditions to a specific set of goals and instructions. Recognizing these limitations, the authors suggest that future video viewing processes should be tweaked to allow teachers control over how many times they view their videos and that it is important to prepare teachers for the analysis of observing their own teaching in individual settings to gain deeper cognition and the same level of reflection from watching others’ videos.

I recently participated in a national educational conference where a school superintendent talked about the teachers in her district videotaping their classroom lessons with the Swivl robotic platform to improve instructional practice and submit as proof for their teacher evaluation eportfolio. The superintendent felt that capturing and using video in a classroom setting is a powerful, authentic and safe way for teachers to reflect on their practice and motivated their teachers to try new ways to engage and instruct their students. I plan on sharing this approach with our district administrative team to consider implementing initially as an opt-in staff basis. Based on what I read and what was shared on this topic at my conference, I would probably extend this approach to include having the teacher find a trusted peer to share videos with for reflection and collaborative purposes, add in a Google Hangout component with an instructional coach to help facilitate deeper reflection and also offer any other needed supports to foster positive teacher growth.