What makes content a learning resource – 4

Video annotation

More and more online video is being used in K-12 classrooms. This may be the case because educators want to expand the exposure to content sources beyond the traditional textbook. It may be because some educators are exploring flipping their classrooms and are creating the videos themselves to replace presentations they would offer during class time. It may simply be because educators find interesting and informative YouTube resources they can make available to their students.

With the exception of educator created video which would likely be developed with an understanding of the target student audience and an understanding of specific curriculum goals, the video content to be assigned could very well be an example fitting more toward the content rather than instructional resource end of the continuum I have been describing. Certainly, educators could preface exposure to the video with guidelines and follow up with a discussion. However, the layering process I have been describing can be applied to video and allows more immediate and embedded techniques for influencing productive cognitive behaviors.

I am guessing that annotating video is a more challenging concept for most educators than annotating static multimedia. We all have at least observed and probably have participated in highlighting and annotating static content and using these additions as part of the process of review. I would be the first to admit that tools for the addition of prompts to video is less well developed. I assume that part of this lag can be attributed to technical challenges, but I also believe that there has simply been less interest in the educational use of video. Tools are available and will grow in sophistication as interest in making use of video grows.

The method of association between original and added content must differ with video. With static online multimedia, the learner scrolls through the content and added content scrolls along wherever inserted. With video, adding content on top of a constantly changing display that appears in the same location presents problems. The solution has been to use the timeline for the video to integrate the moving imagery and content that appears in an adjacent window. You use the timeline when you scrub through video to move ahead or back rather than allow the video to run in real time. Ideally, the content related to the video should pop up in the adjacent window shortly before one reaches the related point in the video and should either stop the video at an appropriate point or allow the user to turn on and off pausing the video at those points when additional information has been displayed. The online services I have reviewed have yet to achieve this level of sophistication and learners pretty much have to scroll through the adjacent content window to locate added content. This is not a problem with short videos, but it is limiting when working with longer presentations.

How can layering improve the experience of learning from video? I would suggest that most of the prompt categories I outline in Layering for Learning apply. For example, a comment at the beginning can establish context and activate existing knowledge. Comments can be interjected to bring attention to particularly important points. Questions can be added to check for understanding and when necessary encourage review. These are traditional design tactics that classroom educators can apply.

The next and final segment in this series will provide a couple of examples of existing services for layering.