Friday, October 17, 2008

Job Interviews - Video Quizzes for Support

I've added some activities to the website around job interviews, in the context of travel and tourism, which I hope will be more generally interesting. This is only part of a larger project to create learning materials for support using video as the focus. Those materials are primarily for the college Moodle site; they have been written to run using a Flash player which allows better resolution and has a working slider bar.

This project has taken a lot of my time in the past few months. The idea was to create differentiated quizzes with video; video because it attracts and keeps the attention in class and quizzes because they are easy to make and so can easily be made at differing levels to aid differentiation. I wanted to demonstrate that differentiated learning materials was a good route to go for support. Many of the learners in the target classes have difficulty with both spoken and written English. The idea was to use the same videos with a range of quizzes at different levels. Learners not being supported can do a task with the video while those being supported can do different activities which will help them do the task eventually.

I was not prepared for the range of problems this would produce. Here are just some:
  • Videos already available on YouTube or some of the specialist videos for teaching sites were either not suitable or so tied up in copyright to make adaptation impossible
  • Shooting our own videos was a major undertaking. After writing scripts we had a shooting day with a semi-professional crew and serious amateur actors. I did not realise how active I would have to be as producer/director and so a lot of mistakes (going off script) have come through and we are stuck with them.
  • Putting video into quizzes was difficult but I got there in the end. I needed a lot of help from the support groups for Hot Potatoes and Hot Potatoes on Moodle. I grappled with file formats and free conversion programs. I learned a lot and it took a long time.
  • There is then the problem of getting things working on college servers where the staff have their own ideas about how things should run and may not have been happy with the solutions I found.
If I were to do it again I might well go down the road of using students as actors, shooting very short scripts and using my digital camera to film. The results would be very different and not so generally useful, but it would be less of an investment in time.

As always I find it a delight to work with Hot Potatoes. I enjoy finding new ways to get different sorts of learning materials out of the basic software and extensions.

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