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October 31, 2016

Capacity and the Desire to Learn: The Impact of Videos in Teaching

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

While at the 2016 edition of the AQPC’s Annual Symposium (Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale), I attended a workshop entitled Capacity and the Desire to Learn: The Impact of Videos in Teaching (Capacité et volonté d’apprendre : l’effet des vidéos dans l’enseignement), which was led by Jean-Raphaël Carrier, a Physics teacher at the Institut maritime du Québec.

As part of the workshop, Jean-Raphaël Carrier, a teacher who is new to the college network, shared his personal experience regarding the use of videos with his students. This sharing was meant to be both inspiring and unpretentious. What follows is a brief summary of the workshop.

The Video as a Demonstration Tool

Videos can be used to show demonstrations that would be too difficult or too expensive to run in class. Videos can also complement what happens in class.

For example, Jean-Raphaël Carrier used a video from Physics Girl to explain what happens during certain collisions. After demonstrating 2 stacked balls falling, Jean-Raphaël Carrier can show them a more impressive effect by suggesting that they watch a video that was filmed outdoors at home. And the video makes a link between the demonstration and supernovas, which goes well beyond the scope of Jean-Raphaël Carrier’s course, but will probably pique the curiosity of certain students (the others can simply stop watching the video instead of watching it all the way to the end).

A video entitled Stacked Ball Drop, from the Physics Girl YouTube channel.Légende

The use of videos can save you time. On one hand, it allows you to avoid unsuccessful demonstrations. It also allows you to explain a concept and ask students to watch the videos at home (or you can present them in class, obviously!).

Videos as a Tool for Problem Solving

Video can also be used to provide examples of problem solving for students.

Jean-Raphaël Carrier films his slides while recording his voice to show students how to solve Physics problems.

Teachers from other disciplines sometimes film themselves solving problems on paper or on a blackboard. Caroline Cormier, a Chemistry teacher from Cégep André-Laurendeau who also attended the AQPC workshop has her own YouTube channel which contains several videos of this type. Here is one where we see her solving an exercise from the Organic Chemistry course textbook that she co-authored.

Example of a video with the solution for an exercise from a textbook used in an Organic Chemistry course (in French).Légende

The benefits of providing filmed examples are that the students can:

  • Pace their own learning by using the ‘pause’ button, as needed; and
  • Watch the video as many times as they please.

The Video as a Tool for Summarizing

Jean-Raphaël Carrier points out that you can also use video to introduce a concept that will be studied later on in the course (as a sort of introduction to the subject outside of the classroom), or to present concepts that won’t actually be covered in class (such as the example of supernovas that was mentioned above).

Jean-Raphaël Carrier’s Experience

Jean-Raphaël Carrier’s students enjoyed his use of videos and let him know about it. In his opinion, when a teacher creates their own videos, the students notice the additional effort that their teacher invests in their work and students appreciate this more than the printed handouts that other teachers provide (course notes or answer keys).

When a teacher uses videos created by someone else, it helps students to realize that the concept that they are learning is relevant (since others are also interested in the topic!).

As a teacher in a French CEGEP, one of the potential obstacles to using videos that are on the Internet is that many of them are not necessarily in the language of instruction. Jean-Raphaël Carrier doesn’t see this as a problem though, as it provides his students with a chance to practice their second language.

For teachers, making your own videos obviously takes time. (Just the same, I’d like to specify that it isn’t necessary for our videos to be studio quality for them to achieve their educational objectives.) But Jean-Raphaël Carrier dreams of the day that all teachers make their videos available to the community, so that everyone can share and utilize a common bank of videos. Some have already begun – why can’t you and I?

About the author

Catherine Rhéaume

Catherine Rhéaume is an editor and writer for Eductive (previously Profweb) since 2013. She also teaches physics at Cégep Limoilou. Her work for Eductive fosters her interest for technopedagogy and encourages her to try innovative teaching practices.

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