Connecting with Students and Families Using Video

How many of you have seen the Rainbow Loom®? If you haven’t, it is a plastic toy used to weave small, colorful rubber bands into bracelets and charms.

My wife and I have three children – our oldest is nine. She is a loomer. She and her friends spend hours making bracelets, rings and shapes. I am amazed by their designs.

(Just for clarification, in no way am I endorsing or advertising for Rainbow Loom®; I am using it as an example.) 

A few months ago, I asked her where she gets all of her ideas and she simply answered, “YouTube.”

Search for Rainbow Loom® on YouTube and you will get 553,000 results. Many of the videos have more than a million views. The tutorials provide step-by-step methods for making anything with the toy.

Without knowing it, my fourth grader is using videos and social media as a way to learn and follow instructions. Most importantly, it is for something positive and meaningful.

Just as my daughter finds videos useful for her hobby, we find videos useful in my district. Like many school districts around the country, we have worked hard to harness the power of video. Our department has gone from receiving requests from our schools for flyers and brochures, to requests to produce videos and slide shows.

On a regular basis we share videos with our staff and community from our superintendent, about school safety, student attendance and other events.

Recently, we have been working with some of our schools to promote behavioral expectations. We have found this to be a meaningful and lighthearted method to reach our students. Much like my daughter, many of these digital natives prefer and expect to receive the information this way.

I hope you enjoy the video below produced by our department. Because YouTube is blocked on our student computers, we use SchoolTube to post most videos. We uploaded this video recently and have not shared it with families yet, so there are not very many views. Just so you know, these are our students, teachers and bus drivers – there are no paid actors in this video.

2 Replies to “Connecting with Students and Families Using Video”

  1. Doug, did your district by a stock music library for your videos? If so, do you have any recommendations for good stock music vendors for school videos? I’d love to work more music/SFX into our district’s videos (you can only use a recording of the marching band playing the school song so many times!) but haven’t wanted to run into any copyright infringement issues or dip too far into our communication budget for audio tracks. Thanks!

  2. Nice work with the video teaching expectations — we’ve had great luck with similar behavior videos at our high school. And you are so right about the use of video among young students. Talk to any Minecraft fanatics in an elementary school, and they will rattle off all their favorite YouTube channels where they go to learn how to build and navigate their virtual worlds. It’s not uncommon to find my eight year old with a laptop, iPad and iPod all set up and running in one place — a multi-screen learning experience. He’s doing Minecraft on the laptop, watching YouTube on the iPad and using Facetime on the iPod to help a buddy figure something out. Blows my mind!

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