By Terry Freedman
Does video blogging need to be complicated? What I am about to say will probably antagonise the purist, but the equipment need not be incredibly expensive or specialised.
For example, many still digital cameras have a video mode which is perfectly adequate for video blogging – especially if you are prepared to spend time editing the results (using, for example, Microsoft Movie Maker).
Students can, in fact, use their mobile (cell) phones, although this does raise issues about the digital divide. In fact, movie-making on mobile phones has become a cult pursuit in itself, with the grainy image lending a film-noire quality to the result. A recent article18 on the internet reported on the first film festival of such movies, held in Portugal. See http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/spotlight-on-mobile-phone- movies/2006/01/31/1138590489119.html for details.
There has also been a competition for movies made with a mobile phone – see http://www.cellflixfestival.org/main.html for details.
The important thing about all this is that with a bit of imagination and creativity, students should be able to make video blogs without having to use state-of-of- the-art equipment to do so. My own forays into the world of vide blogging (http://www.dailymotion.com/terryfreedman) were made with a digital still camera and recorded onto an SD card. They were edited with Movie Maker and Audacity.
Having said all that, I personally think there is less to think about with podcasting. Or, to put it another way, I think it’s easier to get reasonable results with less aggravation.
So, how might video blogs be used in schools? Here are some ideas, but this is not meant to be a definitive list!
Record lessons for students (and parents!) to access in their own time.
Record discussions (“talking heads”) either as a course resource or as part of a student’s e-portfolio.
Enable students to do a presentation about themselves rather than only sticking to PowerPoint!
Create a short introduction to your school, or the course you run, for potential students to access, and to let parents know what they can expect their children to be doing – get student contributions too!
Enable students to submit work in the form of a video.
Find and use videos as part of project research materials.
Use foreign language video blogs to improve linguistic skills.
Use digital videos to get an insight into another country's culture, or another person’s daily lifestyle.
18 http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/spotlight-on-mobile-phone- movies/2006/01/31/1138590489119.html