Using YouTube Playlists in the Flipped Classroom

The Problem

I play a lot of YouTube videos in my class. Luckily, for me I teach film and not math. It is not hard to relate the videos I am playing back to the curriculum. Still I don’t want people to get the wrong impression.  It was this concern that brought me to create YouTube playlists.  A few years ago, I found myself always searching for the correct video to show my class.  I try not to play videos I haven’t previewed before.  Sometimes it would take a second or two to find the right video.   During this time, my students would ask to watch other videos they saw on the screen. I hated not showing them the videos, that would have probably worked.  When searching for behind the scenes examples to show my class, the results would show videos from newer more popular films. Although, I would like to show them the newer examples it was in my best interest not to show them a video that may or may not illustrate the concept I was trying to teach them. This searching took time away from class.

When students are absent they are supposed to check Google Classroom for the daily agenda to see what was covered that day.  Sometimes they are sick, other times they are on a field trip, or out due to testing.  Creating a playlist of videos related to the subject we covered  helps the student to catch up. They may not need to watch everything the class watched to get the concept or they may need watch more because I may have pointed out things to look for in a particular video

The Solution

I discovered that I can create a playlists in YouTube and save them for future use.  I start by finding the videos that are most important. I put the most important videos first in the playlist. I play these first. If the students understand, you can move to the next topic. If not the class can watch more. This gives me the opportunity to include more videos then are needed.  If class is running a little short I have extra material to fill the time.

I  save time, by only showing parts of the videos. One of my favorite video series to use includes an opening and commercials at the end. I just show the students the core of the video. If you have seen the video before it is easy to find these sections.

I try to keep updating my playlists.  I am always finding new videos to use.  You can do this by looking at the suggested videos on the side of the screen.  There are always new videos to find and discover.

Preparation

In the description, I include which standards that are being addressed.  I watch the videos carefully for everything.   I made the mistake of not realizing how boring a tutorial was once. It made perfect sense to me, but it made the students tune out.  Now  I show this video in small parts.  There are some places where you might want to pause the video to explain something or call attention to some details.
For teachers, who are interested in flipping the classroom. You can record videos to put into a playlist.  You can copy existing playlists and modify then to fit your classroom.  Here is some of the playlists I have created.
Examples

School spirit songs

Safety on Set

iPhone Tips in the classroom

Copyright

Georgia Film Careers Playlist

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.


The New Way to Teach Camera Composition: the scavenger hunt revisited

By: C. Holcomb

Photo by C. Bundy

I am not sure if I invented it or saw it somewhere, but I have been teaching camera composition the same way for at least the last twelve years. I know a few others teachers that have a similar lesson to teach camera composition.  The students take still photos for a scavenger hunt, then label the photos, and then create a powerpoint. The technology has evolved to a point where this project is getting easier and the pictures are better quality.
To start this assignment, I show the students a short powerpoint on different shots and provide them with different examples. I explain to the students that everyone has a slightly different definition on shot composition. It important for them to understand this because you can find some resources that explain composition slightly different. This might confuse a student who doesn’t pay careful attention. I rely on my professional experience and my textbooks to define what I require on this assignment.
In the past, I had the students take pictures with the still camera or sometimes with a video camera capable of stills. This project would take a while because I only had a few cameras and I would send the students out two at time to take pictures. Thanks to cell phones most of students do not need to use the school cameras to complete this project. So, a few years ago, I changed this from a partner project to an individual project.

Another benefit of using cell phones is that the students are no longer limited by their location. Most of the pictures were taken in locations just outside my classroom, but now students no longer need to be at school to take the pictures. The results of having a larger location base was that I had students turn in some really good looking pictures. Gone are the days of student taking pictures with a cinder block backdrop and florescent lighting (boring).

Photo by K Cochran

 

The next advantage is, I have been able to decrease the time needed to complete this project.  Not only can the student upload the photos quickly to the computers, but they can also do their entire project on their phone. I no longer require the students to use powerpoint, and now I ask them to use Google Slides. They can work on their project on their phone, on a computer at home, or at school by logging into a Google Account. This semester I will give the students the option to turn in their project in as a Google Photo Album.
In the past, when they they did this assignment, they only took a few photos and many of them were incorrect. They felt rushed to take the pictures because someone was waiting to get the camera, and they had a limited amount of storage space. To overcome this, they had to delete the photos that were left on the card. My assignment only requires fifteen photos to make sure the students have a good grasp on camera composition, but I recommend taking much more than that.

Today, I had one student take only twenty photos, another take ninety-six and one take over two hundred. Now, they can afford to take more pictures until they get the picture they want. I am challenging students to show me something I haven’t seen before by using angles and lighting to their advantage. I have also made this a contest by telling them I would use the best ones in an article I was posting online. The downfall is not every student has a phone.

I know it is hard to believe. I still have a few who have broken their phone, or they refuse to clear up space on it. Others supposedly get grounded from their phone, or run the battery down before class. I started my lesson this year by explaining how to use Google Photos and letting them know it had unlimited storage. Still, I had to pull out some old still cameras to let them use for the projects. A benefit of this is, students working on their own device are finishing their project faster. The last two semesters I have had some talented students finish the assignment in one day!

Photo by C. Gill

Next year, I plan on adding lighting to this assignment. I want the students to experiment with lighting. The students will take photos that are backlit, overexposed, and underexposed. If the student can master this assignment we can make great looking projects all year long! One time, the students caught me experimenting, with lighting, while they were working on their projects, and they began taking their own lighting pictures.
Another thing I am experimenting with, is having the students do this project in a completely different format. When I first started, we were using video cameras with tape. Back then to have the students do this assignment as a video, would take way too long.  It would a lot quicker these days.  I have one student who is doing drawings on a computer. I would like to see someone, who is interested in animation, doing this as one.

 

Students drawing the shots on a computer.

Here is a list of the pictures I have been using for the assignment:

 

  1. XCU of an object
  2. XCU of a person
  3. MS of someone wearing a green or gold shirt
  4. MS of someone near the vending machines/ someone in the stands
  5. LS of someone walking (lead room)
  6. MCU of someone in front the media center/ someone near the gym entrance/ football gates
  7. MCU of someone in the cafeteria/ MCU of someone cheering
  8. XLS of a group of students
  9.  2 shot   
  10. a shot with a canted angle
  11. CU shot of someone in profile
  12. a shot that shows great depth of field
  13. a shot that shows shallow depth of field
  14. a eagle eye shot
  15. a low angle shot

I hope this helps and email me if you have any suggestions holcomb.ca@gmail.com.  If you would like to see how I define the shots above, you can download this short ebook to your favorite reader.

Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.