If the recent developments in the teaching industry are a sign of things to come, one must gear oneself for an era of virtual classes. Educators and students alike have been waking up to the potential of online teaching. Of course, online teaching has been there for a long time, but it could never get out of the shadow of institutionalized teaching in a physical setting. It was the preserve of the home-schooled, differently-abled, or for communities where a physical, educational setup was unfeasible. Not so anymore.
The onset of Covid-19 marks an epoch in the teaching space. The reality is too glaring to be ignored. We do not need teaching to be relegated to classrooms. The brick-and-mortar classrooms, vilified rightly or wrongly in Pink Floyd’s iconic “Another Brick in The Wall”, have had their day. The new classroom is more dynamic, more fluid, metaphorically. Even if it is flatter, but only literally. Yes, the new classroom is the pixel-populated screen.
Welcome to Learning 2.0.
Classes on Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the norm de rigueur. Entire classrooms have, within a matter of weeks, shifted to the virtual space, and students and educators have accepted it as a fish takes to water. Sharing login credentials for online classes is the new equivalent of scanning the class schedule tucked to the soft board. While virtual teaching is great, it does throw up a major challenge that takes the buzz out of it. It tends to be boring and lifeless at times.
Many students complain of not being able to follow what the teacher says during online sessions. The list of complaints is long – poor audio quality, poor video quality, connectivity issues, the plain absurdity of staring into a screen in one’s PJs, cross talks by other attendees, or the dreaded screen freeze. These issues are a buzzkill. Unfortunately, online teaching is unfairly acquiring the tag of being ineffective. Parents and educators alike feel that students lack attention as they do not have a ‘person’ to guide them like in a physical class. Wouldn’t it be great if a student could attend a session without the fear of missing out if he or she had to make an urgent bathroom run? Or maybe not have to ask the teacher to repeat umpteen times just because the Bluetooth or the 3.5 mm microphone jack decided to stop working? Or perhaps take the class at a more convenient time, now and then?
The answer to all the issues lies in a specific category of online teaching is Video Presentation. Video Presentations offer slick and effective ways to arrest the learners’ attention. They offer the desired flexibility to take notes at one’s own pace, and they do away with the bounds of attendance slots. While there is a spurt in online teaching, there is also a growth in teaching through content videos on a range of subjects and topics that students are increasingly looking to. Videos offer an engaging medium that plain online teaching doesn’t.
A video presentation is more effective because of its sheer versatility. Popular websites like InVideo reveal the tools at the disposal of an educator to be effective. An effective video tutorial uses some or all of the following – graphics, background music score, recorded content by the presenter, video clips, visual metaphors, the list is endless. For instance, telling students of the economics of the fallouts of the lockdown in countries is one thing. But a video with aerial shots of desolate streets and shuttered stores, interspersed with grainy black-and-white videos of daily wagers queuing up for a frugal meal by a charitable organization, all set to a haunting background score is another. The first style is only informative, whereas the second is rousing.
Video crafting is an art; however, it is not limited to only the professionals or the technologically savvy ones. Anyone who desires to make effective videos has access to some remarkable material online. Websites like InVideo offer solutions for novices and experienced video content creators. They offer helpful tools like an Intro Maker. This tool helps video creators to choose from one of the many templates on offer and grab those crucial first few seconds of the viewers’ attention.
The power of videos can not be stressed enough. Why is it that most of us remember scenes from movies, even the ones seen long ago, better than the lesson taught in the class just last week? It is because videos incorporate all the desirable features of all other mediums – text, audio, moving images – and make a pretty bouquet out of them for you.
For a student, video-based learning offers the option of revisiting a challenging concept without repeated requests to the teacher and facing embarrassment in the company of classmates. For a teacher, video content is a fantastic platform to try out multiple visualizations for how he wants his message to appear. The flexibility to download a video, share it online and offline, free from the problems of internet speed, truly makes it universal and mass-oriented.
Moreover, the creator can choose from many contemporary styles to appeal to the audience. There are video templates that resemble an Instagram Story or a post, a Facebook Story or YouTube landscapes. There are even nifty tools such as YouTube video editing software to make videos crisper. These tools can help a video creator strike a chord with the audience.
The educators of tomorrow are embracing the video-based pedagogy today. Impressively made educational videos are the light that promises to guide the student and the teacher communities around the world out of the uncertainty brought about by the current pandemic. The availability of quality video creating and editing tools is ensuring that no matter how long it takes, educators have the support to be the beacons they always have been in society.