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The State of Education Video 2013

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In the last few annual Sourcebooks I have charted the growth of educational online video through statistics -- such as how many schools are on iTunes and YouTube -- and developments on the vendor side, particularly with lecture capture and video platforms. Without a doubt, the past year saw continued growth on these fronts. But I'd argue that the most significant and disruptive trends in 2012 happened on the ground, in both the traditional and virtual classrooms. These trends will only continue driving the development of educational video online in 2013.

I corresponded with educators and instructional technology professionals working in K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities to discuss what they're experiencing and what they see on the horizon. There was commonality in the trends they identified as important and advancing. Supporting mobile video delivery and creation is an ascendant priority across the board. Increasingly, teachers and professors want to "flip the classroom," taking charge of their own content creation, but on their own schedule. Finally, massive open online courses (MOOCs) suddenly and quickly have become a truly disruptive force in higher education; video is an integral element of this movement.

Mobile Drives Learning Everywhere

2011 was the year that mobile support became broadly available to schools, as most major lecture capture and video management platforms added the capability to their products. This past year, then, was when students and faculty alike became even more mobile with smartphones and tablets and therefore started to expect that their content would work on these devices.

The need to deliver video to mobile is not confined to higher education. Matthew Farber is a social studies teacher at Valleyview Middle School in Denville, N.J., and he teaches instructional technology at New Jersey City University. He has seen the rise of the BYOD, or "bring your own device," movement, where smartphones and tablets are getting used in the classroom, not just after the school day. One of his classes participated in a district-sponsored initiative that provided iPads for students to use in small groups during class. Farber says he imagines that the "demand to deliver content to mobile devices would certainly increase."

According to Roxana Hadad, director of math, science, and technology, and Cole Pierce, videographer and education specialist, the Chicago Teachers' Center at Northeastern Illinois University produces instructional videos for use by K-12 teachers in professional development, as well as videos that teachers may integrate into their own lessons. The CTC has equipped its professional development staff with iPads to use in the field to stream video content in workshops for K-12 teachers.

According to Hadad and Pierce, "[A]s a society we are beginning to realize that sequestering the acts of teaching and learning within the school day and the classroom doesn't make much sense." They observe that "mobile devices and online learning are allowing us to make that happen more easily."

At Columbus State Community College, multimedia video web developer Joel Nelson says that mobile delivery was the biggest growth area for online video there. The instructional technologies department is experiencing demand for mobile delivery from students as well as from faculty who want to make sure their course materials are mobile-accessible. For this next year Nelson says a priority is "making sure that we repurpose legacy content so that it is available on mobile platforms as well."

Not unexpectedly, college students are using their mobile devices to create video, not just consume. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, assistant director for academic technology Brian McNurlen is seeing a rise in students generating and submitting HD video created on smartphones. They're uploading that content both to campus servers and social media.

Video Flips the Classroom

Farber says the "flipped classroom" is an idea that "has shown the most growth this year ... at least in terms of buzz." He explains that "in this setting, students view teacher-created lessons from home and then do the ‘homework' in class the following day." This allows the teacher to maximize class time for more student interaction.

Larry Bouthillier, director for distance learning at the New England Institute of Technology, says that flipped-classroom content has become the biggest use of online video at his school. These videos include "tutorials and condensed lessons on specific topics and case studies that connect students to real-world industry situations." He says faculty increasingly are wanting to create their own instructional content and that this enterprise is "growing quite organically." In fact, a side effect has been that "more faculty are creating video to flip the classroom for classes that aren't online," which has prompted NEIT to "scale up services rather quickly to meet demand."

Education 2013

Students in the GEAR UP Summer Film Institute at the Chicago Teachers’ Center at Northeastern Illinois University learn to use video to communicate their own ideas.

Nelson is also seeing "growing acceptance of the flipped classroom model" at Columbus State Community College. "It seems like they [faculty] are gaining that comfort level with video across the board," he says. Nelson concludes, "[T]his can only help continued innovation."

In order to flip the classroom, faculty require the resources to create video content. McNurlen says, "[F]aculty seem more interested in low-cost [resources] they can use in their office or at home because of the convenience factor." From his own observations he says, "I get the sense that whatever studio space is available on campus, it's getting used less." Instead, "they'd rather record video at their desktop." Bouthillier sees a similar need, noting that "faculty, students and administrators need self-service tools that are both easy and powerful."

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