Teaching Show and Tell: Creating Videos with Animation and Images to Make Abstract Ideas Stick

AHA Session 324
Sunday, January 8, 2017: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Governor's Square 14 (Sheraton Denver Downtown, Plaza Building Concourse Level)
Lizzie Redkey, Western Governors University
The Audience

Session Abstract

Students struggle with abstract ideas, especially in online learning environments where one-on-one interaction with students is difficult. Increasingly accessible online tools and green screens allow any educator to create animated, personalized videos, an effective and underutilized way of making complex content more intelligible and engaging.

As history departments do more and more with less and less, we need to engage and retain our students with what resources--financial, physical and human--we have available in order to fulfil our missions and to compete in the educational marketplace.  One underutilized tool in this resource toolbox is using faculty produced videos, which are far easier, less expensive, and more versatile than many assume.  This panel will explain the learning benefits of the videos and demonstrate techniques for faculty to produce and to use their own videos in both in-person and online learning environments.

These videos can be used as part of class prep “reading”, they can be integrated into online platforms, and they can also serve as an online resource toolbox for struggling students to use outside of class.  In competency-based online programs, they are a particularly effective way of helping and engaging students who are all working at their own pace to more fully understand content than through text alone.  Since the move to online education has already happened, we must now move within online education, improving the experience and outcomes for our online students. We must continue to innovate beyond text, PowerPoints, and discussion boards for students trying to gain complex historical understanding.

We also see this application as a fruitful avenue for marketing history to a skeptical public.  In the increasingly bottom-line-oriented marketplace for majors, our arguments for a history major are quite abstract, and using videos such as these, produced by actual historians, can concretely show prospective students and their parents the full benefits of a history major.

Dr. Redkey’s presentation will focus on how and why to create videos which include the moving image of the historian, and how to edit those into a seamless presentation.  Dr. Mays will discuss the how and why of choosing or creating both still and moving images to be included with the historian's image, including some potential pitfalls particular to historical content.  Finally, Dr. Carney will discuss the pedagogical and collaborative implications from an instructional design perspective. This panel is intended for all educators.

While creating such videos may seem daunting for faculty with no video training, the technology available today makes it eminently accessible, and with a little up-front time investment, it opens up vast new possibilities to reach students who might otherwise become frustrated and give up.  As we in the liberal arts are forced to work on skeleton budgets with fewer and fewer full-time faculty members, videos that use animation and green-screens to illustrate content and personalize the learning experience can be a powerful tool to engage more students and spark a love and understanding of history that can stick with them for a lifetime.

See more of: AHA Sessions