Video seems to be a bit like magic dust to the teachers and school administrators we’ve talked to at the Connect 2014 conference in Niagara Falls.
The show, billed as “Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference”, has attracted over 1500 educators from across Canada and the US. While I know nothing can compete with the Falls itself for sheer shock and awe, our new video technology options for teaching, learning and coaching are attracting lots of second and third looks.

Connect 2014 -

Connect 2014 –

Here is what I find interesting.
Everyone instantly understands the value of using video. And what surprises me even more is how many teachers are already using video in their classrooms right now. In fact, this conference is one of the only ones I know of where students are showing video lessons they have created.
As a company, we’re embracing the use of video throughout the teaching and learning process. Our new software module for flipped classrooms, which is 100% free, has caught the attention of many teachers and administrators here.
If you’re not familiar with the “flipped classroom” model, it’s pretty simple. Teachers record their lessons, keeping them to about 8-10 minutes in length. Students watch these lessons at home, often with their parents. Of course they can watch the video multiple times and review previous lessons.
Then during class time, students do their “homework” with their teacher, where they can get one-on-one help to complete assignments and where the teacher can ensure each student understands concepts being taught.
We’ve talked to teachers from across Ontario who are doing this now, with great results. We’ve heard some excellent ideas for creating the videos and the benefits to working with students on “homework” rather than lesson delivery.
It seems the ways to present content and make it engaging are as varied as the teachers themselves. But one thing they’ve confirmed for me – their students love this approach and the teacher we talked to here are seeing increased engagement and achievement.
One thing Paul Shuster, Media-X VP of Training and Development, and I have discussed, rather heatedly in fact, is what makes a good video for the flipped classroom? Should it be highly entertaining, maybe even slapstick? Is animation necessary? Should you see the teacher, or only hear his/her voice? Is the most important ingredient engagement or information? Or both?

Paul at Connect 2014 in Niagara Falls

Paul at Connect 2014 in Niagara Falls

Ultimately, what does good teaching look like in a 10 minute video lesson?
From teachers we talked to, and the videos we’ve seen for flipped classrooms, there seems to be no one right answer. It can be as individual as the teacher, and is greatly influenced by grade level, subject, style of the teacher, and even timing within the semester. If this is the first video of a new year, it might be quite different than videos created for the end of the school year.
On thing seems evident – using video for teaching and learning is something many teachers are already embracing, and many more would like to try.
We’ll be talking a lot more about flipped classrooms, using video for teaching and learning, and related topics in MXBlog. Stay tuned, and let us know what you think! 

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