This is the first page of the SchoolTube Science case
I'm Jim Morrison, Program Manager at SchoolTube.com.
All of us here at SchoolTube are pleased to have our work featured in NSF's Media & Informal Science Learning website, and hope this discussion will lead to useful feedback for us on it.
We are particularly interested in to how we can make it more useful to the science education community in general, and to the informal science education community in particular.
We are always glad to discuss potential collaborations/partnerships for us as we continue to develop our service.
I personally welcome the opportunity to work with Science educators. I have a B.S. in Chemistry and have participated in the Greater Saint Louis Science Fair as a parent (science projects with my sons are a favorite of mine) and as a judge.
Thank you for your interest in SchoolTube!
Jim--I was wondering what you'all consider to be the best way currently for informal science education organizations like zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, parks, and the like to participate in SchoolTube, and what plans there might be to encourage their participation (to the extent you can share those publicly)? Are there informal science education groups you can point us to that are already doing a great job of leveraging what you have to offer or is this more or less still a new opportunity you're hoping such groups will take advantage of? Also, I know some of these groups (like Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry) have done user-generated on-site video projects that they've housed and provided access to through their own websites (e.g. MSI let kids shoot movie scenes in which they played starring roles, then let them access their clips through the MSI site)--is there anything you'd like to say to such groups to encourage them to use SchoolTube to do this instead (or in addition)?
Jim--I'm impressed at how many of the students and teachers are not just submitting videos, but annotating them with titles, diagrams and the like. Because science is so hands-on, I would be interested to know if you have any plans to support more interactive forms of video on the site, e.g. where regions of a video playing can be clicked on, lead out to applications or sites (and back) or to other videos, creating branching experiences and the like. I assume users can do this now, provided they've got the knowledge to do so, but are you planning to inspire more of this kind of video by seeding the site with examples of it or providing lessons on how to do these kinds of video productions (maybe you already do?).
I also am very impressed with these student efforts and by the possibilities of SchoolTube.
As our case for discussion, let me unpack what I using these criteria:
a- what works and why;
b- what would make a video more effective.
We would also want to consider c- what essential components are missing and d- which components raise serious usability concerns -- however let me just focus on the first two issues.
As we view each video we need to pull apart our impression of how much learning, motivation, and excitement is apparent as having a primary effect only for the students who created the video versus our impression of how effective each video would serve as good instruction for others.
So we have two very separate classes based on the loci of effect:
1- Videos whose learning effect is limited to the creators are those showing that the creation of these videos provided a significant opportunity for learning by the team or student creator. Making a video as a way to learn a subject has been demonstrated again and again as effective for the creators. in my chapter in Video in the Learning Sciences, I group video along with computer models and scientific visualizations into a unique class of learning media.
2- Class two: Effective learning Media. Based on our impressions which videos are likely to be effective as instructional media?
For example the music video on phases of the moon impresses me as an effective learning project for the participants only; less effective as instruction for others.
So, let me suggest a simple new element to make the video effective as instruction for others: add a 'sing-along play-along verse'. During the sing along verse, students in age appropriate classrooms would hold flash lights and globes and move them in sync to the video and the words of the song which would scroll across the screen. I would claim this change would create a great learning moment and easily edited from the existing video. I will get to the question of how these improvements are supported in just a moment.
Next Video, Torque: If we consider the video called Torque created by Eric we have an example of a video that was an effective learning opportunity for Eric, personally, and is close to being useful instructional media. What Eric needs are changes in the size of his graphics and editing of his graphics to a clearer, slower narration of how the formula was solved in each example. If Eric used slow motion video in sections, that too would increase the instructional value; however, we should note that slow motion editing is a tool likely unavailable to him.
What I would like to suggest is that SchoolTube could provide features within the site that would support needed improvements in submitted student videos moving them from class one to class two: effective instructional media.
Here is a short list of ideas:
1- Have student videos go through a validation stage, exactly similar to professional work. Videos would be submitted and reviewed quickly and then published on pages which provide the right questions for students and teachers to comment and rate effectiveness. Next the submitter would write a summary of the changes they will make and ask for help or 'bids' to do the work, if they cannot. The bids might be payed for with points and recognition on the front pages of the site. (Functioning like Google Ads).
2- Final versions would be published and awarded points which would be cashed toward recognition awards being placed in spots of increasing honor. The awards would be totaled for the creator, school and district.
Validating the instructional effectiveness, or at least the impression of effectiveness, must be a standard part of what we teach the new generation of digitally literate students and teachers. Said another way, media creators should always go through a market testing phase before calling their project complete. Transforming static learning into engaging media is not a process that is governed by a prioi principles of design, as I have shown in my research, rather each media creation must be tested within the target audience to provide valid information to both the research community and the user community.
Jim, I hope my suggestions are helpful.
Jim--A member of our community who wanted to remain anonymous had a question that they were interested in sharing with you and the group, which was whether you have any safeguards in place to insure that what is portrayed as science in the videos that get uploaded is, in fact, valid science (and not, for example, "junk science" of the sort that increasingly floats around the Net). I know for myself that every video is moderated for appropriateness to insure a safe experience for students, but is there any overarching fact-checking that goes on as well to insure the content is accurate? Are users encouraged to find and report inaccuracies and have videos been pulled on this basis?
In respones to Tomcoty.
We really encourage groups like museums, zoos and science centers to upload content to SchoolTube. As the onlu moderated video sharing site for students & teachers we can offer them a safe and secure home for thier content.
That being said, this is still a felatvely new opportunity in informal science educati
on. As video creation technology beocem simpler and more widely available, we hope to see more use of SchooLTube in the science learnig arena.
In response to the excellent post by Zaritsky:
Thank you for your good ideas regarding possible enhancements to the SchoolTube service. In the initial design of SchoolTube we were primarily a video sharing service. We have made some additions to the services we offer and are looking at adding more. I think you are exactly right, the primarily learning opportunity offered by SchoolTube right now is for video creators and their having a safe place to upload their content and that learning by viewing is a secondary opportunity (that could be enhanced). I have forwarded you suggestion to our product development team, I am sure they will be the subject of much discussion!
In response to Tomcoty about fact checking in science videos:
The large number of videos uploaded to SchoolTube precludes our being able to do this. We encourage our moderators to review the video - they may deny it for a reason such as you stated - an inaccurate portrayal of a science concept would certainly be grounds for denial. We believe most videos created by students are done under the guidance of a teacher - or at their request for a project. As such it would be the teacher's responsibility to assure "good science" is being shown in the video.