Using Video in Teaching and Learning – making videos accessible to students
This is the fourth installment in a series on using videos in teaching and learning. You can find links to earlier posts here.
Once you start making videos in your studio, you will need a way to share them with students. How you do this will depend on a number of factors, including how large the file is and the privacy settings you wish to impose on the video.
Small to medium sized files
If you created the video on a phone or tablet, the files are usually small enough to email directly to your student. Larger files can be sent via file sharing services such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Evernote. Save the video in the appropriate folder on your computer or device, then select it and follow the steps in your particular drive to share with your student's email address. You can normally specify whether the person can view only or edit the file once they access it.
There are also web services such as 'We Transfer' (www.wetransfer.com) which enable you to share files up to 2 GB in size for free.
You could also allow time at the end of the lesson to copy the file/s onto a USB drive, but this is probably the least practical option. Remembering to stop a few minutes early to allow time might be a challenge, and it has the potential to eat into the next student's lesson time if you don't allow quite enough time.
For files larger than 2 GB (and HD quality videos often are, especially if the video is of a whole hour's lesson) or for videos you plan to show to a number of students, the easiest solution may be to upload them to an online service provider. The best known of these is YouTube.
The advantages of YouTube are that it is widely known and recognised and most of your students or their parents will already be familiar with how to view videos. It is also free. If you are happy for your videos to be public and findable via YouTube and other search engines, then this is the way to go. If, however, you wish to control who views your videos, YouTube does have some options, but they are not straight forward.
The easier of the two options is to make the video 'unlisted.' This means that the video will not appear in search engines, but anyone with the link can access the video, so you don't have complete control of who sees the video.
If you make the video 'private' in the settings options, only the people whose email addresses you add will be able to see the video. Technically any email address is supposed to work, but the reality appears to be that only people with Google accounts can reliably view the videos. Even then I have had problems with some people not being able to access the videos I have given them permission to view.
Another difficulty with YouTube private videos is that the rules change from time to time, making it even more challenging to be sure your students can actually access the videos. The FAQTube channel on YouTube has a helpful video explaining the quirks of private YouTube videos: www.faqtube.tv/private-youtube-video.
Vimeo is another video hosting platform which is not as well known as YouTube, but is becoming more popular. It has several different levels of membership. You only need a free account in order to view videos (so a free account would be more than adequate for your students) and to upload up to 500MB of videos per week.