The educational video gives students a chance to become teachers. We all know that the best way to truly understand a topic is to teach it to someone else. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task for a student to do, as it involves a live performance in front of a classroom of peers. Video allows students to teach without stage fright. It has the added advantage of allowing them to provide whatever props may be needed and to stage their presentation il the most effective location.
Educational videos can be used at any level and for any subject. They can demonstrate a process or explore a topic. The length and scope of tn. video can be as short as a minute and as simple as how to draw a circle or as long and complex as a feature length report on World War II.
Students will often work much harder on a video project than they will on other assignments. As a typical example, I once assisted a pair of students who produced a video called "Hair Styles of the 20th Century" for a high school history class, as they had chosen to do a video project over the research paper option for this assignment. It turned out to be a well researched piece that related hairstyles to the specific political and social events of their contemporary periods. They videotaped pictures of hat styles and used voice-over for the names of the styles, relating them to the historic and political events of the time period in which they were fashionable. They even went so far as to style other classmates' hair and had them parade on a catwalk. In the end, the students admitted to having worked harder than normal on the project and felt they had learned a great deal. In this case, the teacher allowed the students to explore history using video, through a perspective that interested the students, making the subject of history much more personal and memorable.
The possibilities are endless. When choosing this genre, however, be careful to impress upon the students the importance of the content over visual effect. It should also be stressed that even though they are not writing a paper, proper use of grammar, format, vocabulary, and correct citation format are expected of them. The intent of this video genre is to teach. Special effects and music scores should complement the content matter not distract from it. It is important to develop an assessment rubric to reinforce the relative value of each element of the video.