Short Videos: Student Teaching of Critical Academic Concepts

Yesterday as part of a group of administrators and trustees from Westminster meeting in Cupertino, CA with representatives from Apple, Inc., I thought of an idea I would like to pursue.
The idea in short is to get a list, garnered from students and faculty, of the critical concepts in the high school academic curriculum and then ask students on a purely volunteer basis to come up with inventive ways of teaching the concepts through brief online videos (3- 5 minutes). If you know of a school that has already created a similar program, I would love to hear about it.
The criteria for success would include:
  • educational soundness, i.e…that the concept is taught accurately.
  • creative and memorable presentation.
  • succinctness.
This approach would strive to accomplish a number of goals:
  • provide a supplement to classroom teaching and learning.
  • create a useful study resource for students.
  • deepen the learning of the students creating the content because the act of teaching inevitably solidifies the understanding of the teacher.
  • involve students teaching students
  • create an online video library accessible by the Westminster community to aid in student learning.
  • create an additional resource for teachers to use in class.
  • reveal a more whimsical side of learning and remembering.
  • make it possible for younger students to benefit from the experience of older students.
Students would volunteer to do this work…it would not be part of a course, and it would not receive academic credit. The motivation would be intrinsic and philanthropic.  That said, it might be fun to have a panel a couple of times a year create awards and prizes for the best additions. When I say “awards” I am not thinking of another silver bowl sort of prize, but rather something more light-hearted. Categories for awards might be: most insightful, funniest, most memorable, most likely to go viral, etc.
We would host the videos in a searchable format online. Over time we could possibly create quite a resource for learning, certainly for our school community and also perhaps for a far larger audience as well.
As we think about things such as digital portfolios and solidifying our use of and creation of digital media, this idea could be a tool to empower us to learn more from each other. Such an effort would also push us toward some of the most powerful learning–that which is done out of the pure motivation to find new understanding and to share it.
[Those of you who read “Ross All Over The Map” in the fall may remember that I had some success writing blog entries on plane flights.  This is another in that vein. On the flight to Atlanta from San Francisco, I  listened to “Tennessee Pusher” by Old Crow Medicine Show and “Mix Tape” by The Felice Brothers as I wrote.]

9 thoughts on “Short Videos: Student Teaching of Critical Academic Concepts

  1. glichtman April 19, 2012 / 10:37 am

    I love this idea, Ross. It goes directly to heart of students and teachers becoming creators of knowledge, rather than just consumers. It also speaks to what students care about, rather than what we want them to care about. My sense has always been that those two pools are more closely unified than what some might suspect, if we just give bright students the platform to explore.

    • J Ross Peters April 23, 2012 / 7:09 am

      Thanks for this, Grant. I think you are right about the “two pools” being more closely linked that many might guess.

  2. skacr0w April 19, 2012 / 7:12 pm

    We do a few things like this down in Palm Springs. Check out Go to Mulitimedia > Student Created Academic Movies. Jessica is a teacher at one of our middle schools and does training in our district to do just what you are looking for! She’s amazing, and her student’s do wonderful learning!

      • J Ross Peters April 23, 2012 / 7:11 am

        Thank you for this and for pointing toward these two links. I am particularly excited to check out the link to the festival.

    • J Ross Peters April 23, 2012 / 7:15 am

      Thanks for this, Bill. I enjoyed the video and see the possibilities you refer to. I would love to see how your students would create their own metaphors or respond to yours.

      • bllbrwn423 April 23, 2012 / 8:41 pm

        I’ll let you know, as things develop, Ross. Incidentally, I worked for a while at Nichols School in Buffalo.

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