Education

Why video is the unlikely common denominator in ed-tech

Image Credit: TV image via Shutterstock

Dr. Michal Tsur is the cofounder and president of Kaltura.

Anyone who has attended an ed-tech conference is bound to hear one of the following terms and acronyms: flipped classroom, MOOC, BYOD, personalized or social learning — all pretty diverse area of the education tech space. Yet, the one common denominator each of these areas have is the presence of video.

That means video’s role in ed-tech is very important. Video has been penetrating the education market like no other technology and is slowly becoming one of the most popular activities on the Web. In 2012 alone, Internet users watched 4 billion videos per day. Between 2012 and 2017, mobile video will grow 75 percent per year, the highest growth rate predicted among any mobile app, including Facebook and Twitter.

When we consider these projections, it’s unsurprising that educational technology is also taking advantage of video in the classroom. Below are a few ed-tech trends that boast video as the central tenet:

The flipped classroom

The flipped classroom aims to turn the traditional educational model on its head – it inverts teaching methods by allowing students to access lectures and instruction online (using video), outside of class, leaving time for discussion and hands-on learning in the classroom.

At Clintondale High School near Detroit, teachers enlisted the flipped classroom model and uncovered great success – before the flip, 50 percent of freshmen failed English and 44 percent failed math. After allowing students to work at their own pace and access videos online first, just 19 percent of students failed English and 13 percent failed math.

As more and more classrooms embrace this nontraditional model, online video is emerging as a key factor in freeing up class time for more meaningful face-to-face and hands-on learning interactions during class hours.

The rise of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are being embraced by leading universities nationwide. Startups like Coursera (started by Stanford professors), edX (a partnership between Harvard and MIT) have paved the way for this phenomenon. Hundreds of Universities have joined the ranks of educational institutions offering video-based courses to students, with more universities considering MOOCs each day.

MOOCs are completely free, opening up learning to students of all income levels. They use Web-based learning environments to deliver educational materials in a paradigm free of geographic boundaries and time zones, allowing tens of thousands of students the opportunity to learn. MOOCs themselves employ the flipped classroom model to enhance learning, using video as a key tool for delivering educational content.

While it remains to be seen whether or not MOOCs will improve graduation rates, education is a $1 trillion market, leaving plenty of funding available for testing and creating sustainable business models.

BYODs: Putting computer labs out of use

Today, 65 percent of teachers say technology helps them demonstrate things they couldn’t show any other way. But not all schools are equipped with the devices they need to deliver – just 35 percent have tablets or e-readers and six in 10 have access to an interactive whiteboard.

Instead, students themselves are increasingly gaining access to the devices their schools lack. In 2012, 75 percent of ten year olds in the UK owned a mobile device, with the global average approaching 50 percent. Many schools are responding with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, which makes it easier to leverage devices students already have.

Research shows that students who are exposed to the integration of media-rich content like video, outperform non-exposed peers on tests, are more active in class discussions, and apply more varied approaches to problem solving, among other benefits. By 2017, streaming video will represent the majority of all mobile traffic – and if BYOD programs continue to be successful, much of this traffic could come from the classroom. BYOD programs are uniquely positioned to provide the boost classrooms need to help students access new media and engage them on devices they’re already familiar with.

Personalized and social learning

Online video is also a driving factor fueling the personalized and social learning paradigms being championed by many educational institutions today. According to the U.S. Department of Education, personalized learning allows instructors to adjust the pace (individualization) and adjust the approach (differentiation) of education to tailor to a student’s individual interests. Students can choose what they wish to learn, as well as when and how they learn it. Online video is a central tenet of personalized learning, as it affords students access to educational materials anytime, anywhere or anyplace – a key element of personalized learning. In fact, one in four students have already reported using online videos to help with homework questions.

Social learning is another trend aided by technologies like mobile devices, online video, and social media. In the 1970s, psychologist Albert Bandura established the theory of social learning, which holds that people can learn in a social context. While social media and social learning exist separately, social media – and videos viewed on these platforms – can be used to support the latter. Online social tools facilitate the exploration and discussion needed for education – in fact, 79 percent of teachers say digital tools encourage greater collaboration among students, and 50 percent already use social media for collaboration.

Within the next few years, we can expect to see continued experimentation in the realm of educational technology. As the use of Web-based, personalized learning and open courses heat up, video will continue to be the glue that ties our new learning methods together and facilitates them in the first place.

TV image via Shutterstock

Dr. Michal Tsur is the cofounder and president of Kaltura, a leading tech company that has created the world’s first open source video platform, transforming the way people work, learn and entertain with video.