Video killed the radio star

In this age of vlogs and Youtube, I am definitely a little bit behind on being comfortable with the video camera. But I had a humble breakthrough the other day when I forced myself to record what was basically a monologue; the footage ended up being only about 5 minutes long, but I got my first taste of executing and filming a (tiny) video. More important— I cringed and wanted to faint every time hearing my voice played back to me, but then realized that I was still alive afterwards and that life goes on. What I am trying to say with a melodramatic flair is: I supposed I crossed an important mental hurdle of some sort.

Despite my inexperience of being a filmed subject on video camera, video was the medium that got me to start thinking about education technology in the first place. While at a public policy think tank in Hong Kong, I came across the work of John Liu, who filmed the environmental video, Lessons of the Loess Plateau. It was a transformative experience that really got me to think about how persuasion and storytelling worked; as someone who had written and fallen asleep in front of a lot of papers, I felt drawn and somewhat inexplicably liberated.

Fast forward to this year and the high hopes for edtech everywhere. When you take many of the ‘promising technologies’ apart, video is at the center of it all (or a cynic could say, they amounted to little less than recorded videos). This includes, of course, the MOOC’s like Khan Academy & Coursera, but also platforms like Educreations, Knowmia, and ShowMe. I am still curious to see how it all plays out. For the MOOC’s, I wonder if teaching can find a new model beyond recorded video explanations; for all of the platforms, I wonder how the proliferation of generated content means for effective content discovery and curation.

But anyway, I started this post mainly because I wanted to talk about edtech that I have really enjoyed which utilize videos: the Teaching Channel, and the Odyssey Initiative. I have been thinking a lot about how to understand more of what educators are doing on the ground, to not abstractly conclude a judgment for current education institutions but understand that is is made up of a variety individuals, many of them are striving to do great things. I am deeply appreciative for projects that go out and do the legwork for us to collect the individual into a grander movement, and that allow me to see this creativity firsthand.

So now, I have a new new years resolution— which is to use my camera a bit more. Lots of great things happening around us.


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