Today’s learners live in a video world. They are active consumers, producers and critics of video content. How do we leverage this fact to deepen interest and understanding in STEM?
Video-based instructional media provides an incremental improvement over text-based content but does little to build engagement and relevance. The real power of video lies in its potential for project-based learning.
By the time many students enter middle school, they are adept at filming, editing and publishing video content. Today’s smartphones and pocket cameras are all capable of producing high resolution video. Free editing applications are widely available for both computers and mobile devices. When we promote the use video to document learning, we elevate traditional tests, essays and PowerPoint presentations to a rich, relevant format.
Sun Cho and David Bang, students at the Dipaoli Middle School SmartLab in Reno, NV provided us with a great example. In producing the video animation below, Sun and David demonstrate clear mastery of a complex scientific concept, DNA transcription and translation. Moreover, the process of making the video reinforced these concepts and required a far deeper understanding than would be necessary for more traditional methods of assessment. The popularity and ease of sharing videos on social media like YouTube provides additional relevance and motivation for learning.
Video projects also satisfy Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize deeper understanding of science concepts over memorization of a wide range of facts. While video projects can be more time consuming than other methods of documentation and assessment, it’s a powerful tool to engage today’s learners in STEM.