Open Thinkering


A proposal to get more high-quality explanatory videos to learners.


Image BY-NC-SA Kaeru @ Flickr

I’ve got an idea. Educators need high-quality videos explaining key concepts and processes. There are some great providers of these out there (notably BrainPOP) but these cost $$$. On the flip side, there’s graphic artists, illustrators and animators who are starting out and need examples to add to their portfolio.

The quality of visuals in a video makes a great deal of difference to its overall impact. An example of this is the Shift Happens video, originally created by Karl Fisch. You can view the changes and improvements it has been through on this wiki. Whilst v1.0 was powerful, you’d have to agree that v4.0 has a lot more impact! 🙂

My idea, then, is this:

  1. Educator comes up with idea for short explanatory video (e.g. how Google and other search engines work)
  2. Educator (with help of their Twitter/Facebook/whatever network) comes up with storyboard for idea including a script.*
  3. Storyboard and script are put in a central repository under a Creative Commons BY-SA license.
  4. Graphic designer comes along and chooses one they believe they can produce to a high quality and cost-effectively.
  5. Graphic designer produces video and shares on video-sharing site (e.g. YouTube). They are free to monetize this through Google Adsense and the like.
  6. Repository updated showing video has been created.

The great thing about this model is that everyone would win.

So… is this a good idea?

I’m up for creating the repository (with help from others) if enough people think it’s a goer. 😀

* Details of graphics required for this wouldn’t be as important as the script itself.

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5 thoughts on “A proposal to get more high-quality explanatory videos to learners.

  1. Sounds like a good idea Doug, the unknown is if there is a ‘market’ for the graphic designers to do their part. You’ll need to get the idea beyond the EdTech echo-chamber to find out :)

  2. Whether it works or not depends on attaining mass. The repository would need to work with not conflict with other such repositories, and not sure if there is enough money in it for the graphics/media people.

  3. Sounds like a cool idea. TeacherTube is already up and running as a repository of education related video but as Roger says mass is the key.
    The UK has a massive LOR that also has tons of video but most of it not so watchable.

    How do we attain a tipping point while still embracing diversity. That’s the question I struggle with. The best sites allow you to post (words, or video) to numerous online places at once. Once this becomes the norm, as it probably will, what will the impact be.

    I mean it’s great when you want to push but what does that do to the pull? It’s the pull that needs to be attended to in order to attract designers, isn’t it.

  4. Thanks for the link, Doug. I’d love to change the .com link to our very own version but I won’t mention it ;-)

    Yes, we cost £ but producing high quality animation is costly (scripting, storyboarding, pro audio recording, teacher input, animation, QA, project management overhead etc etc). It’s a complex beast that takes talented teams to do well.

    But your 6 step idea is very intriguing. I’ve shown it to the team and it’s sparked a discussion about how we source ideas (crowd sourced scripts? Love it) and how it could work in the context of commercial development too. Clearly we can do Steps 4 and 5 using our animators and characters, but the beauty is that it originated via a crowd of educators.

    Yes, it’s a very intriguing idea.

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