Enhancing lectures with videos

View this video first: http://goanimate.com/go/movie/0QKnFxvbK2rM?utm_source=emailshare&uid=0Qs0mnIJYEEo

As you can see from this video, Betty wants to create videos to use in her classes to explain some topics. Why videos? Videos help enhance our understanding of a particular topic, it is a visual tool that helps us visualize concepts better. Using videos to enhance your class’s understanding of a complex topic is helpful, in that it helps students see the concept from a different perspective in a different format. Here are some tips to help you in your own video creation:

  • If recording audio through a microphone, place it 4-6 inches away from the mouth, but not directly in front of it, to reduce noise
  • To prevent noise from the mic, place a nylon stocking over a hanger and place it between you and the mic, this helps filter out some of the background noise
  • Videos should be 3-5 minutes long in general, but may be longer depending on the complexity of material.
  • Include ques in your videos to tell the audience directions. If your video is interactive and the audience needs to perform a task, say something like”you can pause the video and come back when you are ready”
  • Try not to include captions in a video, don’t make your audience read, listen, and watch – this makes it harder for your audience to follow.


Finally, use videos in providing feedback on student papers. Record a short video explaining how you graded their paper and show them what they need to improve on. This prevents the student from questioning your comments, and cuts down on  misunderstandings.

What Tools Do I Need to Create a Video?

There are many different screencasting tools you can use to create videos. Some of the popular ones are Camtasia Studio, Jing, CamStudio, Screencast-O-Matic (works with Mac), Wink. Some of these tools are free, some are not. Choose the best one that works for you.

You will also need to purchase a microphone, some decent ones are around $60-$125. You can also use a headset (USB) that plugs into your computer/laptop USB port. My favorite brand is Logitech, their products are good quality, but you may have to pay a little more. You can buy it from Amazon.com


When recording audio, you can use tools such as Audacity (free) to edit your recordings. Or if you purchase a copy of Camtasia Studio, there is a built-in audio editor. In addition, you can use a web-based tool to edit your audio by visiting: http://www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator

Do you have any questions? Ask me anything! Comment below!


Vision for Positive Learning Environment

Today, faculty educates diverse groups of students and creates a positive learning environment in order for students to be successful. A positive learning environment encourages cooperation and collaboration. “Successful school environment reflects clear expectations, high rates of student engagement, and academic success (Hester, Gable, & Manning, 2003, p. 135). In order for educators to promote a positive learning environment it is important to establish a learning culture where faculty and staff have a way of learning new topics, collaborating on curriculum, and helping to diagnose and solve problems.

The main objective of creating a learning culture is to allow faculty and staff to work with one another, share ideas, and knowledge and create an environment that promotes student learning, as well as “a commitment to high expectations, and social support for innovation, dialogue, and the search for new ideas”(Deal & Peterson, 2009, p. 10). University leaders are encouraged to consider how individuals learn by distinguishing an individuals’ level of knowledge. “People at different stages need to be exposed to qualitatively different types of information and experience” (Bennett, 1986, p. 189). Learning should take place in a group environment where faculty and staff share ideas and create relationships. This process of learning occurs via a dialogue.

How does your institution create a culture of learning?


Bennett, M. (1986). A developmental approach to training for intercultural sensitivity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10, 179-196.

Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (2009). Shaping school culture: Pitfalls, paradoxes, & promises (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hester,. P., Gable, R. A., & Manning, M. L. (2003). A positive learning environment approach to middle school instruction. Childhood Education, 79, 130-136. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/210388864?accountid=27965


An Action Plan for Higher Education

Secretary Spellings’ Prepared Remarks at the National Press Club: An Action Plan for Higher Education

“Where we once were leaders, now other nations educate more of their young adults to more advanced levels than we do!”

Click here to read the article


What are your thoughts, do you agree with the Secretary?


The Digital Divide? It’s at Your Local School, Too

As technology advances, schools struggle to keep up, especially in the poor neighborhoods, where schools cannot afford laptops, projectors, etc. How do we embrace the new digital age and not leave brick and mortar schools behind?

Click here to read more

Step 1: Diagnose a problem (Problem? I don’t have any problems!)

So here is the first step in the Action Research Paradigm Protocol (ARPP).

By diagnosing a problem, you are basically analyzing the situation. Diagnosis is accomplished by gathering and evaluating additional data that will help you better understand the different facets of the issue. Some key questions to ask when analyzing the situation:

  1. What information is needed to understand the issue?
  2. What are others individuals point of view?
  3. What are the assumptions about the situation?
  4. Who is the owner of the issue?
  5. What assumptions am I making about the situation?

I am going to use an example of how the ARPP can be used in constructing a building for a corporation that is running out of office space. We’ll call the company XYZ Corporation – they are very creative over there and were able to come up with this unique name – HA!

XYZ Corporation is running out of office space due to an additional number of employees that joined the company in the past five years. <– You just stated the problem!!!!!!!!!!

Cool huh?

What types of problems that you see in your own classroom/school that you feel should be addressed?

Reading outside of the classroom

On Twitter, there was a conversation that was started regarding students and reading OUTSIDE of the classroom. What are your thoughts? How do you think activities outside of school effect students? What about in higher education?

Post your thoughts below!




Secret revealed: 10 Steps to conquering problems in your classroom/school

Ok, so maybe it’s not a big secret, but I wanted you to be the one to find out first, or second, ok maybe thousand….who cares, the point is, you are here and you are eager to find out how YOU can learn to solve problems at your school. Whether you are a teacher, a principal, or the dean, you considered a leader in what you do, or at least SHOULD be considered as one. By becoming an action researcher, you will be able to solve your school’s (or classroom) issues with ease. I bet there are some things in your classroom that you’re dying to make better, especially for your students. Well, today is your lucky day, and tomorrow, and the day after, and a month from now….how ever long it takes to learn the process. All you have to do is follow 10 steps. OK, just a word of warning, here comes the “stuffy” explanation of the process, but I assure you, it will be quick.

I introduce you to the Action Research Paradigm Protocol (ARPP)………pay attention, it’s not AARP, health insurance for seniors, it’s A-R-P-P. To give you a better idea of what I mean, here is a diagram:


The Action Research Paradigm Protocol (ARPP) helps an individual to carry out action research by following specific steps in three main areas, a) planning for research and problem solving, implementing actions and measuring results, and evaluating and reflecting on results of actions.

I know, I know, it sounds/looks a bit intimidating, but don’t worry, we’ll take it one step at a time. For now, study the diagram and familiarize yourself with it, soon enough you will become best friends!

When you are ready, head on over and read about Step 1 here