Monday, March 14, 2011

Education Transformation Through Collaborative Videos

by Shelly Sanchez Terrell
Part 1 of the Education Transformation Through Collaborative Voices series

Social media is having an incredible impact on various aspects of our lives. Recently, CNN and the Huffington Post reported the impact of social media during the recent tragedies that have struck Japan. The underlying message was that social media has allowed people to communicate important messages through powerful real-time images and sharing their experiences. With Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube alone we have the ability to spread a message and impact an audience of millions worldwide. We have the ability to impact our world in a positive manner. Visuals are powerful as are stories shared through multimedia. In a series of posts, we will explore various ways to spread a message through various social networks in order to transform current education systems. This is also research for an upcoming Keynote that I will be giving for the Plymouth E-Learning Conference in April.

Why Try to Spread Your Message?

Education is one of those hot topics. Everyone has an opinion because everyone has experience with the education system. Powerful stories and messages are already being heard by millions regarding education. You have heard the ones spread by Oprah, Michelle Rhee, John Legend, and various presidents, prime ministers, and leaders worldwide. These are the most prominent messages that have impacted wide audiences. Waiting for Superman was a documentary heard by millions that basically shared powerful stories. The audience was motivated by these stories to act. Education policy was impacted by the stories shared in this documentary.

What is missing is the voices of educators who are already transforming the way their students learn. We live in educator communities where we witness the beauty of what our colleagues are accomplishing with their students, but outside this community lies the general public and people who decide education policy and they rarely hear about the amazing learning taking place. We need for the stories of educators impacting education in a positive way to go viral and drown out the other voices negatively impacting education policy and hindering transformation.

Collaborative Voices on Video

In 2005 YouTube was created and is still one of the best tools for spreading a message. Web Monitoring reports that in 2010 Youtube exceeded 2 billion views a day which is double the prime-time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined. Educators have a free powerful tool that attracts audiences worldwide to spread their messages about what they believe learning should look like.

Can an educator's video go viral or even be heard by large audiences? Yes! Scott Mcleod's and Karl Fisch's Shift Happens videos have been seen by over 20 million people worldwide. Their message about the importance of effective technology integration has impacted many schools worldwide.

So how do you spread your message through video?
  • Define your vision and determine your message
    • It must be succinct, clear, and powerful
  • Ask a group of educators to help you support your vision
    • Organize this through a Ning, Wiki, or Google Doc
  • Combine with a nice video/audio editor (I recommend Camtasia)
  • Add creative commons music
  • Have each contributor spread it like fire in presentations, through blogs and social networks, in e-mails to colleagues, or in the staff newsletter
  • Make it available for anyone to download and upload through a Creative Commons License
  • Upload in various video channels including Youtube, BlipTV, and Vimeo
Examples of Collaborative Videos

My We Connect Project with various versions seen in various countries

Daniel Pink's What's Your Sentence? video is seen by over 12,000 worldwide

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque' is seen by millions worldwide

My newest collaborative project to spread the word about our free online Reform Symposium e-conference to get a wider audience to hear more messages

What message will you attempt to spread to transform education?


  1. Great Blog! The power of video is incredible. My recent blog also discussed the importance of video within education . We love video because it communicates so much more than just still static words. Video allows you to include those body language clues we all use – “the smile, the twinkle of the eye, the raised eyebrow” (Grover 2007). It’s not always possible to communicate what excellent teaching is in words but by watching video clips a world of potential and innovation opens up.

    Video learning promotes collaboration, going beyond institutional, financial or geographical boundaries. Particularly for adult training and CPD activities videos provide a contextualised and personalised mechanism for feedback, offer experiential learning opportunities that directly relate to their teaching environment. This is more powerful than any role play or augmented reality session, seeing is believing; and seeing something that directly relates to you, your classroom and your students is profound when looking to enhance teaching practice.

    Thanks for sharing, lets’ get video into education!

  2. Thanks for the great ideas. I posted an argument for and against flipping the classroom by using video lessons - perhaps you will be interested in some of those ideas as well:


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