Student Video Creation and Digital Portfolios with Tony Vincent (Ep 11)

October 7, 2019 / By

In this episode, Tony talks about how video creation can be fun and easy for students. He shares how his students used video creation as a digital portfolio to highlight their learning throughout the year. He also shares how video creation can lead to deeper learning, increasing critical thinking and communication. You can find Tony Vincent on Twitter @TonyVincent.

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Transcript

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

So welcome to the Deeper Learning with WeVideo podcast and this is Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and I have a very special guest on today. Like to welcome Tony Vincent. Tony, welcome.

Tony Vincent:

It’s good to be here.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yeah. Good to have you here. So Tony, I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while and I’m always impressed. You always have the most amazing and graphics and animated videos and you have a million Twitter followers. So, obviously teachers love what you are putting out. So, congratulations on just all the awesome share outs. But Tony is or has been a classroom teacher, he’s taught fifth grade, he’s been a technology coach and he also owns his own business. He’s a consultant and his website is learninginhand.com. So Tony, let’s talk about these amazing videos that you are pushing out on Twitter that I watch. And I think you call them Classy Videos. Can you talk to me a little bit about your Classy Videos?

Tony Vincent:

Yeah, well, I’ve always been into video making, I remember even as a kid back then it was camcorders and you put video cassettes in there and I’ve been just fascinated with video ever since I was a kid. In fact, it was really hard decision when I was young as do I go to teacher’s college or do I try to be Steven Spielberg? So, luckily being a teacher allowed me to also be a director and producer and star in my own movies if I wanted to. Which when I started teaching fifth grade originally in 1998, iMovie was not out yet. So we used something called Avid, but I found I liked making videos for my students and I made one specifically for parents. And then once iMovie came out and we had more cameras, I had my students making their own movies.

Tony Vincent:

And I just admit to love the way they light up when they’re making a movie. And I really like that they take it so seriously, like the whole planning process when they know they’re writing and the purpose for their writing and their planning is because it’s going to be turned into a video that we’re going to show to the rest of the fifth grade and we’re going to have a popcorn party when we do it and then it’ll be on the website. It really takes their level of work just to the next level because they’ll have an audience and they’re making something they care about.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Absolutely. So I can definitely sense the passion you have for video creation. And I know your students must just have a blast when they are involved in the process. A lot of teachers I think are really interested in trying this in their classrooms, but I think what happens is the beginning of the steward school year starts and they have all kinds of district initiatives they have then make sure they embed. They have all the curricular standards, they have benchmarks, they have assessments.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

You just came out of the classroom last year after being out of classroom, you jump back in. So, you obviously know this world very well. What would you say to teachers who know they have to ensure that these learning targets and the curricular standards have to be embedded throughout the year and maybe they’re a little bit fearful of the time it takes or making sure that they’re able to maybe quote unquote cover every other content they need to cover. What would you say to those teachers?

Tony Vincent:

Well, I understand the struggle, I went back to the classroom this last school year and I think one thing I would go back and do differently is each of my students had Chromebooks, was to introduce WeVideo to them earlier in the year, I waited about halfway through the school year and my students picked it up so fast because I was waiting like, “Oh, well,” there’s just “Oh, we got to do this first before we start making videos. Oh, well let’s wait until this test is over or maybe this next unit.” And then when I did it, I gave them a 20 minute overview. They just came up to the front of the room.

Tony Vincent:

I showed them real fast how to make a video and then I had one that related to our literature story we were reading that week that they made themselves and they didn’t need much intervention from me. They went back to their Chromebooks and they were so excited to start making these videos. It was a food chain kind of thing and then to show it to each other and then they just built in from there. And so I really didn’t … Again, if I go back I would start much earlier in the school year and whatever it takes find those curriculum connections and bring them in and teach the curriculum or have students teach curriculum to each other through video.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

That’s awesome Tony. This summer I released a book called WeVideo Every Day and the intention was to help give teachers practical tips so they can use video creation every day. And it doesn’t have to be a huge scale end of project type event. The purpose is really to help show teachers that you can use video creation every single day. You can use it as an exit ticket or you can use it as a storybook report or a lab report and really taking those every day student work or tasks that we normally have students do and make it more motivational or make it more exciting by having them do video creation. So it’s great to see you seamlessly do that in your classroom.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. Oh, can I tell you at the end of the year, one of my favorite things, I’ve always made like an end of the year video for my class, but this was years ago when we didn’t have Chromebooks. So it was up to me to make this video. Well the end of the year sneaks up so fast and I had … I’ve looked now in my photo library I have over 3000 photos and videos that I took throughout the school year. So I had a lot of pieces of media and my intention was “All right, I’m going to bring in the best and put it into a video. Oh, I don’t have time for that. I got to finish report cards at the end of the year. I’ve got all this stuff to do. I can’t make this video.”

Tony Vincent:

And then it occurred to me, “Wait a second, why don’t I just throw all this media into file sharing for my students and they can each make their own end of year video.” So, that’s what they did, they pulled in the clips so they got to focus more on them, bring in video of things that they cared about and then they save that to their Google drive at the end of the year. And they had the skills to make some pretty amazing videos. And it turned out to be a neat reflection activity too because they’re like, “Oh yeah, I remember that or what were we doing here?” And it was a fun time the last couple of days where we were putting those videos together.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

That’s amazing. Yeah. I think it would be much more exciting than the traditional have students to get their 3-ring binder out and choose their favorite works and have to go through the nightmare of going through all of their papers and files and things they’ve written in and try to put those things together, but to create a video really I guess a digital portfolio of their year, it seems a lot more meaningful.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. It was a fun celebration of the year and reminding us of so many things that happened and, yeah. And it saved me time because I didn’t have to do it on my own time. The students did it and they were happy to.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

That’s fantastic. You know, it reminds me, I’m working with a university right now and they are using WeVideo with their student teachers. So whenever they go into the classrooms, they can use it with their students. But the university liked it so much, they are thinking of changing their thesis program instead of using a thesis or a poster they are thinking of having students create a video. So it’s really interesting to see not only what’s happening in K-12, but what’s happening in post-secondary as universities are also saying that, “Hey, college students love making videos too” and it’s much more exciting than having to defend a dissertation or write a thesis. So I’ll be interested to see how this evolves over time.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

So, when thinking about … I knew as a technology advocate and when you were a technology coach, your goal was to work with teachers to help technology really help students learn deeper. And so that’s also one of my goals and mission that WeVideo is to really drive deeper learning and help make learning more meaningful. What would you say would be or how do you think that video creation drives critical thinking? Or how do you think video creation drives communication and creativity? Because that’s really when we think about the skills that students need at the end of their K-12 career, it doesn’t matter if they memorize a date of a war or the parts of a cell. But what really matters is that they’re able to be able to actively listen and have empathy and communicate effectively. So how would you say that video creation helps promote those skills in students?

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. Creating video is really all about communication from the pre-planning to the execution and sharing it. The students are communicating. And one of the things they often communicate kind of alluded to earlier is that they’re maybe teaching each other or teaching people outside the room something or maybe it’s a call to action. At the end of fifth grade, I met an international baccalaureate school so my students did their exhibition where they really pick a topic that they’re interested in, research it and find a way to take action on that topic. And one group in their action could be anything.

Tony Vincent:

So it doesn’t have to be video, but we had done enough work with the video that several groups had a video component to their exhibition. But one in particular they went to the humane society, which was in walking distance to our school and they took a bunch of video and heard stories from these animals and they really wanted to do something about animal abuse because they found that animal abuse is a big problem. So they ended up making a video about these animals and they use that as another piece of their research, where they found that in Iowa, where we live, that animal abuse is a misdemeanor and in most states that’s a felony and they wanted to change that.

Tony Vincent:

So they showed their video to people. They got them to sign a petition and sent it to a state legislature. And they actually got quite a few responses about that the legislature does want to make that change. The one thing is they have to worry about livestock, the livestock treated differently. But it’s things like that where they get to dive in and make a difference that their video message and their communication and creatively getting that to an audience or to incorporate into a call of action, I think it is a great way to practice these skills that they’ll hang onto forever.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yeah. I love that. I think there is also one of the powerful parts of creating and sharing videos is that it gives … As you just stated, it gives students opportunities to really make an impact or amplify their voice. And I think it’s growing up the projects that we did in school, I know for me, I didn’t feel like they had much of a purpose beyond the project itself. It might’ve been a foam project. It might’ve been fun creating a solar system, a mobile or creating a catapult, but I didn’t see how I was able to put my own creativity and really I wasn’t able to feel like my work was making impact. And so I think it’s wonderful that we have this platform now that students can not only share their opinions but feel like they are being heard through the process, which sounds the latest project you described. It’s exactly what happened.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. Kids are never too young to make a difference in their world. So, if we can connect to our schoolwork with really having meaningful change is a big winner. They don’t even care about the grade. They care about making a difference.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Absolutely. So you’re so masterful just from the content that you’ve shared on Twitter, you’re so good at and integrating lots of technology tools. What would you say? … So, we’ve talked a lot about WeVideo and video creation. Would you say there are other technology tools that work well with WeVideo that either you’ve used to integrate and that make the experience more meaningful for students?

Tony Vincent:

Oh yeah. My students say they love WeVideo, but I think their favorite app by far is Google slides.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Oh, yeah.

Tony Vincent:

They just love to design inside of it. And so I really took my fifth graders this last school year through a year long way of learning design. Just bit by bit every week, I had a mini lesson for them, where by the end of the year, you could ask them, “Oh, can you make the water cycle on a Google slide?” They could do it from scratch, they could make the clouds. They could even draw a little cow as from shapes. They got really good at this stuff.

Tony Vincent:

So when it came to making videos, they really wanted to bring what they’ve created in Google slides into WeVideo. So oftentimes that meant just downloading as an image and bringing it in as maybe like a card that’s on the screen, a graphic that’s on the screen that they cut to or that they do a voiceover for. But that allowed them to really to do some mock-ups and models and titles and use fonts and really fine tune what they put into their video.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yes. It’s so great to see students using other technology tools. That’s really an efficient kind of competent tutorial process. You know, many times we ask or empower our students to build a storyboard. For example, before they create a video because you have to have a plan, you have to have a sequence as you know part of being a good storyteller, we have to be able to sell stories in a compelling ways. And so to be able to use Google slides to maybe create a storyboard or to augment the video, it sounds like it made the video much stronger.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. And then to take that a little bit further now since we had Chromebooks we didn’t really have access to PowerPoint or Keynote. But I really love adding these kinds of animations that you can create in those slideshow programs. So in PowerPoint has this Morph transition, which is a hidden gem-

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yeah.

Tony Vincent:

… but with Morph you set up one slide and then you duplicate it and you just move a few things around, you can resize it, you can move them to different parts of the slide. And then when you apply the Morph transition, it just smoothly moves everything into its new place and to its new size. So that has a lot of possibilities with showing, recreating science experiments or a cool way to make a title graphic for the beginning of your video.

Tony Vincent:

So I really wish that Google slides had something like more foreign Keynote they call it Magic Move but it opens up a lot of possibilities and both Keynote and PowerPoint will export as a video. Your slide show so you include the Magic Moves in there for whatever you’ve animated and then bring that into WeVideo. And then it can be your title or you can add music to it, you can do a voiceover and explain more about this animation through video editing.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

That’s fantastic. You know, I came across your Ellie Loves Science, YouTube video. It sounds like some of the things you’ve mentioned, some of the tools you mentioned they were used in that video. Can you tell us a little bit about that video?

Tony Vincent:

Yeah that video was an example that I use for my Classy Videos online workshop and that’s a workshop for teachers. And one of the weeks we tackle different kinds of animation tools, but one for sure is PowerPoint. So actually use this Ellie Loves Science video as an example and then we go back and look at the PowerPoint files and how I actually made it, but like the beginning … Ellie’s my daughter and she does love science and I think she’s four when we recorded this. So it’s super cute.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

It was super cute.

Tony Vincent:

So she has her lab coat on and everything. But at the beginning I found a clip art girl that looked kind of like Ellie and I have her up on the screen and then it says Ellie Loves Science but Ellie is moving around from place to place around the words and then she settles in one spot and then the video begins. So that was made in PowerPoint with just a few slides and the Magic Move. And it gives it a fun feeling that combined with the music that I added to it that you’re like, “Ah, I want to watch this look at this little bubbly Ellie cartoon” and then it cuts to, “Oh, the real Ellie.” And she’s also wearing a lab coat and she’s wearing her safety goggles. I wonder what she’s going to teach me.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yeah. All of the touches you put on the video create a sense of excitement. And I’m sure that’s what you teach your students as well as whenever you create a video, you have to create this hook, something that makes the audience or the listener want to watch the video. And I definitely saw that in action with this one.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. And the second part of that video it has … Well, Ellie does an experiment, she puts some oil in water and then sprinkle salt on it. And then you see these globs go to the bottom and you’re like, “Oh, okay there is globs well in the bottom” but then they start going back up. And that turns out to be a really interesting process like what’s happening. So to explain what happens, then we cut to an animation. So in PowerPoint we drew a cylinder with some water in it and then we could clearly show what was happening because in the regular video I could probably annotate the video and be fine, but going back into PowerPoint and recreating it and describing it makes sense for my audience.

Tony Vincent:

But I also wanted to show the teachers in my workshops that by doing this, if students make this then they have to really understand what’s happening too to take something they videoed and then go back and re-explain it through an animation process. Again using the Morph transition makes these … For me they’re just so fun to put together and the Morph makes it pretty easy to do that.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Yeah. So as our audience is listening right now and they are thinking about transitions and tools. What about those listeners, those teachers that are new to WeVideo or video creation and they want to get started, what bit of advice would you have for them?

Tony Vincent:

I think really the advice I shared earlier is trust students. If you just get the basic, show them the basics, how to bring in some videos and how to do some simple editing and with the essentials library in WeVideo they don’t even have to record anything for their first video. My first experiment for my students was to bring in some animals and what they eat. And so we found everything we needed right there in the essentials library. We didn’t have to go outside of WeVideo for it. And that made it a lot easier too, because they didn’t have to search for their own clips, which is not hard to do.

Tony Vincent:

But outside of WeVideo it’s just built in there. So start simple like that and something that you know that clearly connects to what you’re teaching so that your students get, “Oh, we use this for learning, I’m not just doing this for fun, this is reinforcing our learning.” And then as you move on, if it can give them a platform to inform others about something they care about then you’re really onto something.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Absolutely. I love that. The trusting of your students. I think that whenever we do that, we’re always so surprised about what they create and I think the more that we loosen up on the reins, the more they’re able to show who they are and the more proud of their work they are. And so I think it’s fantastic. And I definitely have seen evidence of you doing that in your classroom and the things that you’ve shared out. So thank you for being that kind of example for us.

Tony Vincent:

My pleasure. This is just so fun and we can connect it to awesome content and show it in a fun, creative way, it’s irresistible to me.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Definitely. Tony I’ve written down so many things already, so many great tools and tips just from our short conversation. So I know I’ve learned a lot. I know our listeners have learned a lot and if we want to continue to keep learning from you, how do we find you on social media?

Tony Vincent:

Well, my home base online is learninginhand.com and then there are little links up at the top, but on Twitter, I’m Tony Vincent and on Instagram, it’s learninginhand as the account.

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad:

Sounds good. So make sure and check him out. And Tony, thanks again for being on the podcast. It was such an honor and pleasure and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from you.

Tony Vincent:

Yeah. Thanks. This was fun.