Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wrestling with the video thing

Learning from YouTube In the past I've written quite a lot about video here, and generally been a big fan of informal instructional videos. In short, You Tube. Unfortunately, I've currently gone off video a bit, and I'm struggling with the concept of how it fits into most educational purposes beyond low level screen capture howtos like this. This is a shame, because I'm talking at a meeting next week and the main reason I was invited was because of what I've said about use of online video in the past. Oops.

A couple of days ago on Flipboard, I picked up this link which led me to Alexandra Juhasz's new "book", Learning from YouTube. Predisposed to like this concept, I had a look at the website, but sadly I found the experience profoundly disappointing (kudos to Alex for trying though). However, a comment by Andrei Ștefănucă on the Inside Higher Ed article gets to the heart of the problem I'm having with video right now:
"...videos aren't books because the book is an inner experience, we construct it in our imagination, while the video is just something that we observe".
And that's the problem. In essence, video externalizes "experience", reading internalizes it. Video simply isn't engaging enough. Even YouTube is becoming a sit-back medium which gets in the way of deep engagement.



  1. Is it instructional video that isn't engaging enough? Because video as drama, well acted and produced, is incredibly engaging.

    I don't like putting video in presentations as it completely alters the context, and both I and the audience lose control of the timeline. Maybe that's a key in the instructional field: a text is both internally engaging and allows the reader to keep control over the timeline for absorbing, re-reading, checking other things etc, in a way that video doesn't?

  2. But drama on video is not engaging in the same way as drama in the theatre. I find watching Shakespeare in television tedious, in the cinema slightly less so, but neither compares to being at The Globe. Your point about video in presentations is very well made - lets ban it! :-)

  3. Interesting - I'm moving in the opposite direction at the moment, from a very different starting point.

    Having recently been scoping out an informal
    online learning community (Minecraft) I've been softening my previous "video is rubbish" view (which was anyway always an exaggeration - and more about personal preference/prejudice than universal pedagogical principle). A quick video to show something in a game can get the point across way faster than text.

    If only it were more easily searchable and skimmable ...

    Some media are better at some things than others, it turns out.

    Maybe we'll meet in the middle on the not-actually-answerable question of whether 'video' in the abstract, general sense is any good. :-)

  4. Another reservation is that I'm seeing students ignoring inline video far more than they used to, rendering it dodgy as a major information conduit. Casual browsing on YouTube does not seem to be in decline though. is this the ultimate expression of informal learning - if it ain't viral it ain't worthwhile?