Eight Ways to Improve Student Created Videos

One of the most meaningful ways to get students creating and collaborating is to have them shooting and editing videos to show their learning. However, for a lot of teachers, student created videos can become frustrating because of what often times turns out to be a low quality video. Below are eight tips that teachers can use to support students during the video creation process that will yield much better videos, and as a result, more effectively show student mastery of a learning goal.   

  1. Focus on the Purpose

Far too often, students become so consumed with shooting the video that they lose focus of their purpose. Before setting students free make sure they think about the purpose of the video they are creating. Questions like, what is the purpose of shooting this video? Who is the intended audience? Where will people access the video? Getting students to think about these questions not only in the early stages of creation but throughout the process will yield a much better video in the end.  

  1. Content Before Creation

While students are busy shooting their film it can be very easy to lose sight of the most important part of the whole video, the content! Remind students throughout the process to keep their focus on the content and how it is being shown throughout the video creation process.

  1. Tell a Story

Have students approach video creation in the form of telling a story.  By telling a story the video will have a beginning, middle, and end. This will get students thinking more deeply about the video, their message, and the overall layout of their video, which leads to tip number four.

  1. Storyboard Before You Shoot Video

One of the biggest mistakes students often make is shooting the video way too soon. Provide students with time to plan their video and more importantly individual shots by storyboarding. Storyboarding will help students think more critically of the shots they are going to shoot and how their story is being told. Storyboards should include basic drawings of the scene, description, the type of shot, angle of the shot, and notes about the audio. One of the best storyboards I have seen was shared with me by Don Goble (@dgoble2001).  

  1. Write a Script

Another important part of the planning process is having students write out a script.  Like storyboarding, this will get students thinking more about not only what they are going to say, but how they are going to say it. This also provides a powerful way for students to do meaningful writing..  Although the end goal is to create a video, students will see the value in writing as they figure out the best way to share their content.

  1. Teach the Basic Shots

Although most teachers have not gone to film school and have little to no experience shooting video, they can still teach some of the basic shots and angles, which can take videos to another level. The first strategy to teach students is the rule of thirds. This is a simple strategy used in taking photographs and filmmaking that is all about how to position the shot. Check out this short video for more information. In addition to the rule of thirds, students need to be introduced to the basic shots and angles of filmmaking. The key is for students to transition between these shots as they tell their story.  Here are a couple of great resources that will help teach your students about the different shots and angles they should be using when making their videos.

Basic Camera Shots for Filmmaking

Shot Types

Camera Angles with Zach King

  1. Don’t Forget About the Audio

By far one of the most important parts to any video is the audio. Whether it is noise in the background while filming or the music/sound effects placed in the film later, students need to be aware of the audio that will be happening during each scene. A great shot will be lost if the audio component isn’t there to compliment it.

  1. Invest Time into Editing

No matter how much time you have put into planning and shooting the film, none of it will matter if students don’t invest time into the process of editing. This is the point where all the other steps during the process will come together. It is in the editing where the video will truly come to life.  

Video creation is a powerful strategy to get students actively engaged with the content they are learning.  However, far too often students are not given the support and guidance when it comes to the process. By introducing even a couple of these strategies students will be able to more effectively show their learning.

If you have any tips or resources to add please leave a comment.

Written by Jeffrey Bernadt (@jeffreybernadt)