Educational Videos, Web Videos, and their Evolution

Remember when we were kids and the lights went out in the classroom? Classmates started to whisper. Someone pulled down the window shades. A movie or video was about to start. It was thrilling!

Today, it’s different, but not in a good way. From televisions to laptops to smartphones, you can’t get away from video. A video just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. In addition, educational videos are not substantially better than what you saw 30 years ago. A person talks to the camera. A graph is shown and explained. The video ends. Boring.

With all the advancements in online learning and the Internet becoming more common in the school setting – social media, research, and interactivity – you would expect more from video. But once it’s uploaded, it can be shared and that’s about it, right? Maybe not.

Mozilla Popcorn Maker is about to make video come to life. It constantly updates itself with other live data from around the Internet. It’s a gorgeous Frankenstein of online education. It’s “web native” and it’s easy to use. Let’s say you are teaching about a location (add a map) that was hit with a massive storm (add most recent pictures), and created a huge surge in Twitter comments (integrate a live feed) that started a localized fundraising effort (add a donation box), and saved families (show scans of thank you letters). The viewer who sees it today would see a video about the same topic but with different content surrounding the story than the person who saw it a week ago. The video evolves with time, interactions, and adjustments. The education stays the same. The elements that help you learn about it don’t.

How will this advance in web videos change online education? We’re not fully sure yet, but we do know that it has the potential to make a great impact. And it could make watching an educational video thrilling once again.

Written by: Travis Taggart
Travis is a regular contributor to the Ashford University blog.

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