Creating content for your learners when you are teaching remotely helps make lessons personalised and brings variety to the way you teach. Not only can you break down a lesson into smaller chunks, you can also use screencast videos to explain sections of the lesson or textbook easily. In this guide, you will find ideas on what to create and how to do this. You can also pass these skills to your learners, so that they can submit assignments this way too.
Tips and tools for creating your own audiovisual content
- Select what you want to teach and break it down into smaller parts. If you’re starting a new topic, you can use a ‘flipped classroom’ approach. This means you teach key concepts by sharing information with your learners to review on their own, for example by creating a short audio or video file. Then you use a live online class or chat (e.g. via SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook) to discuss what they have learned and answer questions, instead of using this time to present the information for the first time.
- Try out different ways you can share audiovisual content to teach new concepts or language and review old content. There are three main types: audio, video (this can be with or without audio) and screencast videos, where you record the screen.
- Think about the best way to present the specific content you want to share. For example, if you are demonstrating a new concept, you can use a screencast video; if the students need to read a poem, you can create an audio file and have them read along; if you need to use a board to explain a concept, an instructional video is a good option.
- Keep it short and simple. It is always tempting to use fancy technology, but this takes time and will tire you out quickly. Remember that you will be sharing these files, so they need to be ‘light’ (low data) so that they are easier for your students to download.
Creating effective content – tips for technical quality
- Consider what equipment you need. Most good content can be made using a smartphone or laptop, but it’s a good idea to use an external microphone for audio and video content as it helps with clarity and blocks background noise.
- Where you record is very important. Find a quiet place which is away from street noise and traffic. It’s often surprising how loud it can be outside!
- Have a script or bullet points of what you want to share. Hesitations and pauses can be distracting, and it is a good idea to have a smooth text without unnecessary repetitions and things usually associated with speaking. Don’t speak too fast!
- If recording a video, find a way to ensure that the camera is steady. It’s best not to hold it as this can cause shaky videos, which are distracting for learners.
- And finally, if you’re recording a video, make sure the lighting is good and as bright as possible. Avoid having light behind you. Look straight into the camera while speaking.
Creating effective content – tips for academic quality
- Teach one thing at a time. Avoid overloading the content you create with too much information.
- Have clear aims and objectives. That will help your content stay focused and on track.
- Have a script ready and practise it a couple of times before recording. If possible, share it with a colleague and ask them to give you feedback.
- Keep the tone informal and personal. Your students need to feel as if you are talking to them, and that will help them listen and stay engaged.
- Give students something to do as a result of listening/watching. Have a follow-up task ready to ensure that the content is reflected on and learning takes place.
Tools for creating content
- Voice recorder: Available on most smartphones or as a free app, voice notes can be created easily and quickly. You can also edit audio clips to ensure the final file is as you would like.
- Google screencast: Another free download, screencast helps you record instructional videos showing your screen. Whether you add audio or have a silent video, this tool is excellent for content for a specific topic.
- YouTube: The creator studio features on YouTube will help your videos look more professional. You can also use the subtitle feature to ensure you cater to all learning needs. Make sure you check your subtitles for typos.
- OneNote: Perhaps the most accessible tool, this free app integrates writing, audio and video into a user-friendly single space. You can also share notes with your students and peers, thus adding an additional feature of collaboration.
- Explain Everything: With ready-made templates for instructional videos, this site is easy to use and helps your videos look professional and engaging.
Things to consider
- Child protection: If you’re asking your students to submit videos, please take all precautions necessary to protect their privacy. Find more information below.
- Spread it out: Don’t overwhelm students with too much content too frequently.
- Ask for feedback: It’s a good idea to learn from your students. As they are the ones ‘consuming’ the content you create, taking their feedback on board is very important and will make your teaching more effective.