Student Generated Digital Video
I've got about 170 gigabytes of video that I've gathered this year, and you can see the improvement, and you know they’ve increased an entire level. You know that's a two year growth in one year. (Years 2/3 and 3/4 Teachers, St Pius X School)
The use of student-generated video production has been reported to have several valuable learning outcomes. Schuck and Kearney (2004) summarise the learning outcomes as:
- Domain specific conceptual and skill development: Concepts and skills relating to specific Key Learning Areas such as science, mathematics, creative arts etc.)
- Movie making skill development and related language development: Storyboarding, film techniques, editing, publishing etc. and use of associated jargon
- Literacy skills: Including media, visual cultural and critical literacies
- Communication and presentation skills: Oral, written, reading, listening, visual. Acting skills. Interviewing skills
- Organisational and teamwork skills: Organizing and planning skills; managing, leadership, negotiation and social skills
- Higher-order thinking skills: Problem-solving, reasoning, planning, analysing, creating and questioning skills.
- Metacognitive skills: Becoming aware of how one learns, reflection on own learning.
- Affective skills: Enhancement of self-esteem; risk-taking; value of subject, appreciation of films; care of equipment, responsibility. (Schuck & Kearney, 2004, p. 82)
The teachers at St Pius X School stressed that it was important to see beyond the technology to focus on the learning. For them, the most important aspect of using technology was to give students an authentic context in which to develop understanding or skills, including cognitive skills.
One teacher commented that teaching students how to do transitions in a movie is “not important.” Instead it is more important to understand the students, understand what kind of thinking skills are involved in creating video productions, and guiding them in their inquiry or reflection. For instance, it is less important that a student created a television advertisement with lots of transitions and edits than the fact that “they're thinking about how to communicate with other people” and “sequencing a narrative” not to mention making judgements about the “content that you want ” (Years 2/3 and 3/4 Teachers, St Pius X School).
This seems in contrast with the observation of Schuck and Kearney (2004) who reported that in their study of five Australian schools the technology could often distract students from conceptual development of domain specific areas. Although the teachers in the current study felt that they were focussed on underlying skills and reported improved student learning outcomes it is probably worth noting Schuck and Kearney’s warning.
The teachers at St Pius X School reported that the use of video as a reflection tool has improved their students skills across a range of areas including communication skills
they’ve reflected now non stop for the whole year on their oral presentations, and it is just a natural for them, that if they're going to present something, they will video beforehand and I've got about 170 gigabytes of video that I've gathered this year, and you can see the improvement, and you know they’ve increased an entire level. You know that's a two year growth in one year. (Years 2/3 and 3/4 Teachers, St Pius X School)
Moreover, the teachers encouraged students to record their own reflections as well as conversations with other students. This not only resulted in the students engaging in meta-cognitive skills but also provided the teachers with rich data in understanding the individual student’s thinking, not to mention records for assessment. For instance one teacher used audio recordings (instead of video) of individuals and pairs of students reflecting about their work.
they will verbalise what they're thinking, so you're getting to see that sort of process. The process in their head, and you're getting to know them more and see what they're doing, and then because of that they're more confident in saying 'I can't do this' or 'I wonder if we did this.' So they're problem solving as well. So you're seeing all those outcomes come out. Not just 'oh I can do an iMovie.' They're problem solving. They're doing their thinking and their process of getting where they are, reflecting on how they did it and then they implement the changes, and I think that's the big – I think that ICT has enhanced that in a huge way. (Years 2/3 and 3/4 Teachers, St Pius X School)
Observation and analysis
In this study, Video can be used to record their findings such as in mathematics, it is also a useful medium for students to “present what they really know rather than what they can write” (Year 2/3 Teacher, St Pius X School)
Communication and performance
It provides students with another way in which to convey what they know.
It's not always just one student in front of the camera, it can be two or three and sometimes you actually capture a complex conversation where they're offering feedback to each other." (Year 2/3 Teacher, St Pius X School)
Video production was reported to have had an observable impact on Literacy skills which was reflected in higher scores in their assessment.
Some of the students couldn’t sequence a narrative correctly. They would have events out of order, they would have characters come in and out at the wrong time. I needed to address that and I think the most appropriate way would be for them to animate their story. I’ve seen real improvement in students that had that difficulty and one student in particular I was overwhelmed with just how much they had improved and it also allowed them once they had the story in order they started including adjectives and adverbs into their story which was something that I hadn’t even thought would be a goal for this year. The work that they completed I was really proud of and it came down to them using the technology to put their events in order and it was just the perfect form for them to understand how the story flowed. (Year 2/3 Teacher, St Pius X School)