Messing Around with Videolicious

A while back, a friend, colleague and eCoach, Mark McElroy, introduced the whole staff to the Videolicious app at a staff PD day.  Videolicious is simple enough, you can create a 1 minute video, quick and easy.  In fact their slogan reads “Make great videos! Just talk and tap”, and it not only lives up to its hype, it’s also free.  Mark shared the app by making a video on the spot, with us and himself as the main ‘performers’.  When he showed us the finished product a few minutes later, there were ‘ooh’s and ‘aw’s from a pleased crowd. After reading ‘Messing Around’ from ‘Living and Learning with New Media’, I will tell of my journey messing around with Videolicious, and how my perception on teaching how to use media has changed.

I’ve always been one to mess around with technology and I got excited about Videolicious, I downloaded it immediately.  I couldn’t wait to make my first video.  But of what?  I could think of many ways my students could use it (for a science reflection, retelling a story, telling about their just right book, or just a daily diary about school), but I couldn’t think of way for me to use it.  And if I couldn’t use it, then how could I teach it?  So I messed around with it.  I opened the app, and made my first video. I tried putting music on the background.  I practiced using my device’s camera.  I noticed some bugs, for instance, the app tended to crash when being used for a long time. I realized quickly that 1 minute could be really long if you don’t have a plan for what you’re creating, but really short if you want to show more content. So, my students would have to ‘learn’ to use their device’s camera, have a clear plan of what their video would include and they might not be able to save their work.  Good to know.

I told a group of EAL students, who are usually shy about speaking in front of the class, that they could use this tool to present their ideas for a project.  I showed them a sample video (I wasn’t ready to take the risk Mark took with making the video on the spot) and they ‘ooh’ed and ‘aw’ed as well.  I was going to tell them to mess around with it, explore it, but I didn’t need to.  They tinkered and explored on their own, shared with their peers the things they were learning about the app, and then couldn’t wait to get started with their assignment.  Brilliant.

By allowing myself and my students to tinker, explore, and well ‘mess around’ with this tool, I created a learning environment different than the one I’m used to, one where I’m ‘less helpful‘, more like a coach, a guide, rather than a centric source of information.  I realized that if I had given a lesson on how to use Videolicious, the learning wouldn’t have been as effective.  There is power in this type of exploration.

Before I post this reflection, I will mess around and take a risk, like Mark did, and include a Videolicious I made just now🙂

Weapons of Mass Collaboration..?

That’s the first time I hear this term.  And I love it.  I’m currently on holiday, on a remote little island in the Philippines, sitting by the ocean, feeling the breeze, hearing the waves, and using a collaboration tool where readers from different parts of the globe will (hopefully) read this post.  This is a perfect example of how learning, sharing & collaboration has evolved in the past few years.  We are indeed in the Collaboration Age.

As I reflect on Will Richardson’s ‘World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others’, I think of the role I’m partaking in this age of collaboration.  As an educator, it’s imperative that I  not only think about it, but that I adapt to it.  How can I become a better ‘connector’ for my students? How can I “model my own editorial skills” while still stick to ‘what should be taught’?  It is all about willingness to share, as Will points out, but it’s seen so rarely.  How can I start? And how can I serve as a model to others?

I’ll start with this:  I will take risks and allow myself to make mistakes.  I will share with others what I’ve experienced, and hope my experiences guide others to achieve their goals.  I will think of my peers and students as collaborators to my learning.  I will use these ‘weapons’ in my favor and see where it takes me.