Video projects provide a great opportunity for students to work together to create something all team members can be proud of. But for any good project to come together, students need to have a plan and need to have roles within the group. This is true whether students are making an animated video made with Canva, a book trailer video made with Adobe Express, a green screen video made with WeVideo, or just about any other type of video project beyond a basic Flipgrid response video.
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive, step-by-step guide to planning group video projects. Instead, my hope is that it gives you some ideas for developing your own planning guide for your students based on their ages, skills, and interests.
Roles in the Group Project
It’s important to recognize that all of our students have different interests, strengths, and personalities. Some love to be on camera and love to hear their own voices. Others don’t want any part of being on camera and hate hearing their own voices played back to them (here’s an explanation of why that’s common). That’s okay because there can be a role that plays to the strengths and interests of every person in the group.
Here are some of the roles that I’ve given to or had students choose when working on group video projects.
- Script writer
- Voiceover artist
- On-camera performer
- Materials gatherer
Some of these roles can be and probably should be done by all group members. In my U.S. History classes if students were working in groups to make videos about an element of the American Revolution, all of the students would be involved in planning, researching, and script writing.
The first planning step that students should take is to make sure they have a clear understanding of the purpose for the video project. To that end, I have students work together to write a few sentences defining the purpose of their videos. Here are some questions to guide that process.
- Should people learn something from your video? If so, please state what they should learn from watching your video.
- Will your video prove that you understand a process or concept? If so, please name that process or concept.
- Is your video just for the entertainment of the audience? If so, explain how you want the audience to feel during and after watching your video.
Once the purpose of the video is established it’s time to write an outline of the main points of the video. This outline can be more or less detailed depending upon the students and the purpose of the video. At a minimum there should be a script for any speaking or narrating in the video.
Gather Media, Resources, and References
This is where the division of labor in a group video project really starts to appear. Some students can work on gathering b-roll video footage while others work to find or create images to use in the video. (Some of that process can be shortened if you’ve already created a classroom b-roll gallery). Other students may take on the roles of researchers to discover some “fun facts” or to simply fact-check information written in the script of the video.
Now that the outline is written and the materials have been gathered it’s time to make the first attempt at putting the video together. The goal here should be to get elements of the video (live action, still shots, narration, transitions) into the proper sequence. Depending upon the video creation tools that are used, this work can be done collaboratively and remotely. WeVideo, Adobe Express, and Canva all support remote collaboration on the assembly and editing of videos.
Not only should all group members watch the first draft of the video, the video should also be watched by another group of students. Have the groups give each other some brief feedback on each other’s work. This could include feedback on the speed of the action or transitions, feedback on music choices, and thoughts on the clarity of the video’s purpose.
Second Draft (or third or fourth) and Submission
This is, obviously, where the groups go back to implement some of the feedback from the peer review step.
There are lots of options for gathering video projects from your students. In a Google Workspace environment you may have students attach their videos to assignments in Google Classroom or submit them via Google Forms (depending upon file size). In a Microsoft environment you might have students submit the videos in Teams or Forms (again, depending on file size). Once you have the submissions you might want to upload them as private or unlisted videos on YouTube or Vimeo to share with parents or other community members.
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