Making a video about a scientific experiment rather than writing up a presentation poster leads to better learning and clearer understanding of the concepts underpinning the experiment according to science educators in Australia. Writing in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, the researchers explain how preparation and rehearsals for video production also helped with learning.
Geoff Hilton of the School of Education, at the University of Queensland in Brisbane asked two groups of year 7 students (one class with 21 students, one with 22) of mixed ability and mixed gender to complete a science investigation. One group was asked to record their findings in a written format to produce a science poster as the final part of the work. The second group was asked to produce a video instead. Hilton found that the completion of these two types of task once the science experiment was completed, elicited from the students a number of different behaviors that influenced their learning,
While many educators the world over are exploring the cutting edge of technology, much work remains to be done to explore how such rapidly developing digital technologies might improve education and so learning. Digital video might enhance learning, particularly by allowing students to capture the active, experimental, and visual nature of science. But, this notion beggars the question as to whether video would improve learning when compared with more conventional approaches.
The students were asked to carry out an experiment with a balance beam. Each group then used their poster and video productions to explain to year 5 students the concepts they had learned. The students in both groups were recorded on video while they were carrying out the experiments and while preparing their final productions. They were also all interviewed before and after each stage of the experiments.
A heightened awareness of the target audience, the Year 5 students, was one of the most important aspects of the improved learning for the video producers, says Hilton. He suggests that enhanced learning occurred partly because of the rehearsal element of making the videos. The poster makers, he points out, made very limited reference to the target audience.
"Educational technological innovations such as in-class video production, combined with appropriate teacher pedagogy, can enhance students' science learning," concludes Hilton.
"Rehearsing for an audience: students learning science through video production" in Int. J. Innovation and Learning, 2011, 9, 311-324