Love ’em or hate ’em, student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are here to stay. Parts <a href="https://www.teachingprofessor.com/free-article/its-time-to-discuss-student-evaluations-bias-with-our-students-seriously/" target="_blank"...
Millions of years of human evolution have molded our minds to learn through sight and sound, as written language is a relatively new means of human communication. When trying to figure out a process we often go to YouTube first to find a video tutorial on it.
The internet ushered in a world where video production is accessible to anyone, anywhere with a cell phone. Plus, free or cheap editing software makes it easy to produce digital storytelling videos that combine imagery with narration for a very powerful effect. I use them to introduce topics in my online courses, as well as have students do digital storytelling assignments when I want them to explore the human aspect of an issue. Expressing ourselves visually often leads us to insights that we would not have gained through writing, and it stretches our creativity
Adobe Premiere Rush is a newer addition to the video software market and is rapidly gaining favor with teachers and students. It comes in the common “freemium” model whereby a teacher or student can use the basic functions for free to make three videos, and if they like it and want to do more they can pay for a premium account. This makes it ideal for student assignments as it does not require a purchase to use, nor does the free version put a watermark on videos as many systems do.
Adobe is known for its Premiere Pro video editing system, used by professionals in the film industry. Premiere Rush is essentially a slimmed down and simplified version that makes it easy for a novice to make highly creative videos. In particular, it is optimized for editing on mobile devices, which is especially appealing to students who are used to making and sharing videos on the go. Plus, the Rush software itself records video on a smartphone and then automatically opens it for editing. This is convenient as it means the user does not need to switch between recording and editing apps and can be confident that the recording is optimized for editing.
The mobile focus makes Rush ideal for capturing interesting examples of class topics students and instructors run across in their daily travels. The user can record, edit, and post the video to a learning management system from their smartphone. They can chop off the beginning and ending of videos where they are starting and stopping the camera and add text or other elements. Finally, the system seems tailor-made for digital storytelling videos that use narration over images, as it is easy to import and arrange images, video, and audio, as well as quickly insert simple transitions, such as fades, that make the video less choppy and more engaging.
While some mobile devices and computers come with built-in editing software, such as iMovie for Macs and Windows Movie Maker for PCs, these are device-specific. By contrast, Adobe is device-agnostic, meaning that an instructor can provide information on how to use its software knowing that it will work on any hardware the student uses. Plus, it means that someone can shoot a video on one device and then send it to another device to edit. I especially like this feature as I prefer to shoot videos on my phone and edit them on my desktop.
Take a look at this short tutorial on how to create digital storytelling videos in Adobe Rush.
The Adobe for Education YouTube channel has more good tutorials on how to use Rush and will give both students and teachers ideas about what can be done with video. You can download Adobe Rush at either the Google Play or Apple Store.
While Adobe Rush is an excellent entry-level product for teachers and students to use for class projects, there are a range of video editing systems available that differ in terms of functionality, simplicity, and cost. These three factors are generally on a continuum from cheapest, simplest, and fewest features to costliest, most complex, and most feature rich. It is best to start on the simple end of the continuum and work your way up in complexity as you become more familiar with functions and want to do more. Here are some of the best systems on the market organized by user experience.
Adobe Video is one of three apps that come with a free Adobe Spark account, along with Post for image editing and Page for making webpages. Unlike Rush, Adobe Video provides a series of blank slides onto which the user places video, text, and images as well as narration or music. It’s really designed to make narrated slide presentations by uploading one image onto each slide and recording narration for that slide. Its simplicity makes it good for users with little or no video editing experience. The creator can download the result as a video file or share a link for watching it as one continuous presentation.
WeVideo is a browser-based system that is similar to Rush in appearance and functionality. The user uploads all of their content into a dashboard and then drags and drops it to a timeline. From there the user can adjust the image duration by grabbing and sliding the border between images with their mouse, making editing a snap. The free trial lasts for only a short period, and the results contain a watermark in the corner, but paid plans are not very expensive.
Once you gain some experience with video editing and want to do more, Camtasia is a good next step, and is the editing system that I use. It is made by TechSmith, a company that offers a variety of excellent software systems and is especially focused on educators. There are a wide range of elements that you can add to videos, such as image movement and transitions. There is also a huge number of free assets that you can use, such as interesting musical and visual intros that give your videos a professional look. I particularly like how the software allows you to record a screencast, which will automatically open in the editor when you are done. TechSmith also has an excellent support community and easy to follow video tutorials.
Movavi Video Editor Plus offers functionality similar to Camtasia’s. Its design is like that of WeVideo and Rush in its simplicity, and it offers a Quick Video Editor option that essentially eliminates many of the advanced features to enable quick, distraction-free editing.
Adobe Premiere Rush is an excellent entry level system for instructors just starting out with making videos and having students create videos for class assignments. As it is designed for today’s mobile user, you will find it an excellent addition to your teaching toolbox.