Posted by: Ellie Kutz | December 16, 2011

Multimedia at UMass Boston: Video Recording

Video recording is playing a larger role in many of our classes. Video recording devices such as flip videos and smart phones are readily available.  And that availability makes it easy for faculty to integrate video production into coursework in various ways across disciplines. Yu Wu in the department of Modern Languages records skits prepared and presented by Chinese 101 students and asks them to watch and comment on each others presentations. Bill Hagar of the Biology department records his students’ prepared debates about current controversies in science, to be posted to the class wiki for their review.

As a teacher educator in the College of Education and Human Development, Mary Brady has been asking the student teachers she supervises to videotape their own lessons for several reasons. One is that, as the college goes through national and state accreditation reviews, there needs to be evidence that shows student learning outcomes. Another is that it helps to support good practice by teachers—as they review their own videotapes, student teachers can observe, for example, their own patterns of interaction with students: whether they allow enough time for students’ responses to their questions or whether they call on some students more than others. An unanticipated outcome that Mary has found is that student teachers become more comfortable giving each other positive and corrective feedback in a professional way. Learning to both accept and offer such feedback will be important to their future roles as educators.
As she has moved, with her students, into the world of videotaping, Mary has been assisted by media specialist Jessica Downa from the Digital Learning Studio. Jessica has videotaped lessons in school settings as models for what student teachers themselves might do, she has developed materials related to planning a video and preparing a storyboard for capturing key elements, producing a video (recording and editing), and exporting the video to a class wiki, Youtube, or another site. Students learn about lighting, framing, how to set context with a wide shot and when to zoom in to capture a particular classroom interaction. Her materials, available at, also address issues such as copyright and permissions and offer resources such as royalty free music and images.
Lesson planning and video planning end up informing each other in Mary Brady’s classes. Once students have created a lesson plan, they need to identify the standards for which they want to capture video evidence. In planning for their videos, they often clarify their goals with the lesson and how they’ll meet them. To get comfortable with the recording process and with being on camera, students practice recording mock lessons with each other. Then they do some recording in the school classroom, so that the children, in turn, will feel comfortable being recorded, sharing these trial videos with the children and talking about what they’d like to show about the class (such as “how good a job you are all doing working in groups”).
After particular lessons are videotaped, the videos are reviewed by the student teachers, their cooperating teachers and their university supervisor, offering an occasion for a detailed analysis of how the lesson has worked and how it might be improved—working with the actual evidence of the lesson vs. more fleeting recollections from the teacher or observer.
Beyond its immediate instructional purposes, the video will become part of the teaching eportfolio that each of our prospective teachers must produce. Students edit the raw footage of their videos into more polished final versions that will show clearly the teaching moves that they want to document as part of their teaching repertoire and compress the videos for use on the eportfolio platform.

Interestingly, the videotaping process is altering both the ways in which UMass/Boston student teachers are reflecting on, documenting, and understanding their teaching and the ways in which their young learners are perceiving the workings of their classrooms as they too view the videos and consider how they can contribute to showing how teaching and learning go on there.


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