The Rise of Video Creation and Consumption in the Classroom

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By Alan D. Greenberg

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – or Will It?

It was 1971 when Gil Scott-Heron performed the electrifying The Revolution Will Not be Televised – an angry anthem addressing social change, black power, and resistance to commercial media.  Most of us were kids or not born yet when Scott-Heron first released the song, but that soulful tune about radical change is still worth a listen today.

But while the song still entertains, we may have to take a second look at its underlying message. As we sit here in 2016, it seems possible that the revolution actually will be televised.  Scott-Heron’s political message targeted the negative impact of the most pervasive screen technology of the day (television). But while he had a bone to pick on some political fronts, the world perhaps was not ready to acknowledge the power of the screen to foster positive change.  At least not yet.

Today, Scott-Heron could walk into a classroom and recognize that video is making revolution possible.

Asked to write this month about what’s going on in lecture capture, my first thought went to the ubiquity of screens in the classroom – not just the screen on the wall, but the screen in the hands of learners.  These screens are ubiquitous. I see them in the hands of the kids walking into my daughter’s middle school. I see them on college and university campuses.  And they have entered the workplace with a momentum unlike anything seen since the cubicle!

According to a recent survey conducted for educational publisher / technology provider Pearson, the vast majority of college students believe that tablets will transform the way college students learn in the future (81 percent).  More than one in three (36 percent) of students would like to use mobile technologies more often than they do now.  And interesting to note: usage of smartphones is still outpacing the usage of tablets.  A total of 83 percent of college students regularly use a smartphone, which are used almost as much as laptops (89 percent).  One more thing to note: while most (54 percent) of college students typically use a single mobile device during an average school day, nearly four in ten (37 percent) use two or more devices.

Why care?  I’ll tell you why: the explosion of screens in the hands of learners means an explosion of content for those screens.  And where’s all that content going to come from?  The students themselves!

In a Wainhouse Research survey conducted in the fall of 2015, a total of 304 educators and administrators weighed in on the benefits of collaborative educational technologies and streaming video.  We asked whether or not learners should have access to what we call “Learner-Generated Video (LGV) tools” – methods of creating and sharing content – and a resounding eight out of ten respondents (79%) believe that learners should have such tools for their classwork.  Why?  Because collaboration and collaborative learning and team-based, project-based, problem-based learning are the new modes of teaching and learning.  Get students to learn together, work together, team together.

Learner Generated Video - Graph

Figure 1 Wainhouse Research Fall 2015 Survey:
Learner-Generated Video Trends

Already many universities are teaching visual literacy – how to interpret visual content – just like schools have always taught us verbal literacy: reading and writing.  But beyond interpreting comes creating. Bringing visual content into the classroom is part of that creation process.  Visual content can range from recordings of a student practicing Spanish or English as a second language to a science class breaking into research groups, from a history class enacting a scene from the past to a civil engineering class filming a major construction.  Trust me, it’s happening more and more every day.

And it’s a transition that is here to stay.  It’s starting in K-12 and primary / secondary education – these folks are especially keen on flipping the classroom (record your lecture prior, then discuss it in class) and problem-based learning.  A total of 81% of K-12 respondents agree that learners should have LGV tools.  An only slightly smaller number of college-level educators (74%) agree that learners need these tools.

The utility of lecture capture began with a top-down “hey student, we will record the prof’s lecture so you can review it afterwards as a better approach to learning.”  The philosophy was that students in business or medical schools might want to work on skills and review concepts.  While that remains a significant rationale and cost-justification for lecture capture, the fact is we’re approaching a bottom-up revolution, where lecture capture is only one of the applications for video in the classroom.   Students are consuming and creating video content relentlessly – which is why the revolution really will turn out to be televised.

Alan D. Greenberg is a Senior Analyst and Partner with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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