I am currently developing blended learning courses with English as a Foreign Language teachers at a technical college. One of the challenges that we face is incorporating rich media such as videos and animations. Rich media can result in vibrant demonstrations, simulations and presentations.
Issues with Embedding Media into a Digitally Hosted Course
Creating or locating the media itself is obvious and could fill five blog posts. Beyond acquiring the media are concerns that these learning objects adhere to the institution’s fair use and copyright guidelines. As well, the learning object and its intended learning event must map to one or more of the course’s learning objectives. Issues of placement on a digital platform such as layout, colour scheme, skins, support features, and accompanying activities are a few of the elements that we negotiate when adding media to a course page.
Once the video is embedded on a digital page, I suggest adding interactive and self-assessment activities to transform the activity from a passive event into an active one.
Transforming a Video into a Learning Event
My recent experience of mentoring instructors through Stage 4 of the LearnIT2Teach project provides a good illustration of learning object transformation. Instructors embed a YouTube or TeacherTube video into a Hot Potato activity. This technique is quite effective as it allows the students to view and control the video playback while interacting with the questions. This single screen solution works. Another example of transforming a video to an active learning event is the website, ESLVideo.com . At this site, instructors can point to a video at another location, such as Vimeo.
After watching the video, instructors add relevant questions using an intuitive online widget. The teacher invites their students to take the quiz to test what they have learned.
Another means of creating these kinds of learning events is specialized software, such as Adobe Captivate or TechSmith’s Camtasia. Unfortunately, the cost of these packages, as well as the associated learning curve and the attention to detail required to produce interactive videos and animations put these tools out of the reach of the average language instructor.
EDpuzzle Can Make the Task Easier
A few weeks ago, my challenge was to create scores of media rich, self-assessment learning objects and embed them into a series of courses. Happily, our team located a perfect solution: EDpuzzle. This web-based resource solves many of our issues in terms of function and production.
Built-in Remedial Teaching
In terms of function, the student experience of EDpuzzle is straightforward and requires almost no orientation. EDpuzzle presents a linked video from YouTube, Khan Academy, The Story of Stuff or any other video host, within a wrapper that includes a playback bar. The playback bar identifies where the questions will appear along a timeline. Students simply click on the play icon and start watching the video. At a specified point during the playback, a question or comment will appear to prompt students. The comment feature prompts students to read the text and click to continue the video viewing. When presented with a multiple choice or open ended question, students consider their options and submit a response. If the answer is correct, the video continues along the timeline. If the response is not correct, the student can continue, or they can replay the section of video and try the question again.
Features to Love
For the teacher-developer on the production end, EDpuzzle provides additional features to enhance the learning experience. Audio comments can be inserted to provide introductions, instructions or additional information. As well, EDpuzzle allows a developer the option of stripping the existing audio track associated with a video. The developer can then insert their own voiceover that may enrich the lesson by tailoring the audio to the specific student group.
EDpuzzle’s duplication feature is also quite powerful. Imagine that you have students with different linguistic, cognitive or experience abilities. An EDpuzzle learning object can be duplicated to compensate for these variations. In a LINC centre, the same video can be quickly recycled and tailored to the different LINC levels.
Finally, to reduce the length of long videos, EDpuzzle has a simple crop tool. This tool allows you to change the start and end points of a video, targeting information that is relevant to your learners.
EDpuzzle is already helping us to create engaging, self-assessment learning objects. These learning objects can quickly be re-purposed for different learners by instructors. Training teachers to use EDpuzzle is a twenty minute face-to-face event or a ten minute online experience. I hope that it is useful for you and your team as you utilize the potential offered by rich media.
Do you think EDpuzzle would be a helpful teaching and learning tool in your classroom?
Resources referenced in this post:
Adobe Captivate http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html
Hot Potatoes https://hotpot.uvic.ca
LINC – Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2013/2013-10-18.asp
TechSmith Camtasia https://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html
The Story of Stuff http://storyofstuff.org