The Power of Video

More and more of what I engage with online comes in the form of video. As a simple example, most of the new music I am discovering comes from YouTube, not iTunes. That is a shift for me. Last year a third of our faculty here at PSU reported using YouTube as a teaching tool in our classrooms. I talk about that when I give presentations and usually say that these faculty are using YouTube much like they did films a few years ago. The difference? They have access to nearly everything at any moment. And what they have access to has the power to teach, the power to connect, and the power to enlighten. Is it too much to say that vast communities of practice are now easily able to spin up because of a YouTube video?

I watched the TED Talk from Chris Anderson I embedded below and felt as though much of what I am thinking about as it relates to video was really well stated. As you might expect from the TED Curator, he feels the open nature of online video is providing a critical spark in the ability to connect and change the World. At first I thought it was a bit overstated, but watching all 18 minutes of the video made me feel otherwise. The closing example is worth watching in and of itself.

“What Gutenberg did for writing, online video can do for face to face communication” — Chris Anderson

It is exciting for me to see the rise of personal and professional video online that can build new forms of educational experiences. I remember being an undergraduate at WVU back in the early 1990’s when I discovered QuickTime … at that time QT video was amazing, but also amazingly small and of terrible quality. My first video project was something I cooked up on the side after a killer lecture by my favorite teacher, Phil Comer, gave. I used QT and Apple’s Open Doc technology to capture pieces of lectures and embed them in text-based class notes that I could share on the Psych lab Macs. Dr. Comer had this one great lecture he did on this notion of what he called “the eclectic solid.” It was all about the need to be able to see issues through the lens of multiple perspectives. This solid had different psychological perspectives printed on all the sides. He would toss it in the air, catch it, and whatever was facing up was the lens we had to look at the issue through. If it lands on “cognitive” and we all had to dissect the issue from that perspective … same for “behavioral” and so on. It was so visually powerful that you could never get it by reading notes. By integrating the video of him tossing it in the air with the text of the notes I felt like I nailed something new and exciting. That was the first mash-up I created to support learning.

“Video is high bandwidth for a reason.” — Chris Anderson

Fast forward to today and I don’t need any overwhelming set of skills or technology to make far more compelling learning materials quickly and easily. With something as simple as my phone I can record, edit, and share a story that can connect me to communities on a global basis. When I contribute it in the open, the World can see and engage with it. This is one of the reasons why we’ve decided to add Kaltura video editing to the Blogs at Penn State. We’ve always thought of Blogs at PSU toolset as a simple platform to create, share, and engage in multiple forms … and now it is a platform for text, images, audio, and video.


Watching the video by Chris Anderson reminded me of my own first engagement with video and text mash-ups for learning. With our new toolset rolling out I wonder how some other crazy undergraduate will use it to change and challenge the status quo. I wonder how much more interesting I could have made my own eclectic solid presentation had I had these tools? The bigger thing is that I could have instantly shared it with the world and introduced them to Phil Comer’s brilliant mind and teaching. I bet he would have gotten a boat load of views.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.