Two Modules Enter, One Module Leaves!

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Photo Credit: http://images.memes.com/meme/601383

Following this week’s class, I felt much more comfortable in my understanding of what a online module is and how to best create my own.  The only remaining question was to decide which was the best type of module to emulate.  My personal favourite was the Video Blog (Vlog) method.  Vlog’s focus is a combination of video of the broadcaster and pictures/videos to help aid in understanding.

To further my understanding and comfort level with these Video Blogs, I decided to watch two different Vlog’s, focusing on the same content to decide which elements of each I preferred.  As well, I will ultimately decide which Video Blog is the “winner”.  I believe this exercise will help me create the best Video Blog that I can for my own module.

The Contestants:

Contestant number one is Hank Green, who is primarily in charge of the Crash Course videos on YouTube.  He currently has over 5 Million Subscribers and his videos cover a wide variety of subject areas.

Contestant number two is Wisecrack, a Youtube channel with over 1.5 Million Subscribers and videos covering numerous subjects.

The Course Content:

For today’s competition (comparison), I will examine the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Both Crash Course and Wisecrack have created a video explaining the key concepts of the novel.

Video #1: Crash Course

Positives:

  • While Hank does tend to talk very quickly (allowing him to pass along a ton of knowledge in a short amount of time), he includes close captions at the bottom of the screen in case you would rather read instead of listen.
  • The video is more than just a camera shot of Hank’s face, it also includes a number of different visual aids to help guide your understanding
  • An underrated feature is the use of different camera angles.  While it is still just Hank talking to the camera, the different angles allows it to feel fresh.
  • When discussing the plot summary, Hank uses a creative cartoon to play while he is speaking, to allow for visual stimulation instead of just listening.

Negatives:

  • While Hank does attempt to integrate humor into his videos, the jokes tend to fall flat with high school students.
  • This can only be seen as a partial negative, but it does need to be addressed.  The Crash Course videos can get very in-depth, very quickly.  Depending on the grade level you are using the videos for, a lot of the information may go above their heads.

Video #2: Wisecrack

Positives:

  • This particular video is hosted by Sparky Sweets, and the first thing I notice is the relaxed atmosphere and clothing worn by the host.  This allows the students to feel more relaxed when watching.
  • The best aspect of the Wisecrack videos is the humor they contain.  The summaries and explanations are quite funny, which in turn will lead to your students being more engaged.
  • Despite the language and the informal nature of the video, the content presented is still very deep and engrossing.  As well, the constant humor will lead to your students being more active listeners and viewers.

Negatives:

  • The language used (while certainly less informal and intimidating) could also be seen as inappropriate.  Therefore, it is best to think about the maturity level of your class before playing these videos.
  • Similarly to Crash Course, the Wisecrack videos also use animated videos during plot summaries, however these videos are much worse in quality compared to Crash Course.

And the Winner is:

This turned out to be a tougher decision than I imagined.  I had assumed that the Crash Course videos would win decisively, but after watching both of them several times I am having a difficult time making a decision.

In a shocking upset, I declare Wisecrack to be the winner of this contest.  Their emphasis on humor will lead to the students being more engaged and therefore learning more as well.  This is in no way a sleight to Crash Courses, as they certainly produce enlightening videos in a (somewhat) entertaining way.  If you would like to read a more in-depth review of Crash Courses, feel free to check out Kelsie’s Blog.

In the meantime, I would love to hear in the comments which video blogs you prefer to use with your students.

Thanks!

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Two Modules Enter, One Module Leaves!

    1. *I’d must seek advice from you here. Which is1278&n#;t some thing I do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people feel. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

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  1. I think it’s important to note too that the humour may even challenge the students to synthesize the content better (omitting the swearing if not allowed in your classroom). Humour, in my opinion, is very intelligent and can spark engagement through the wit.

    Still a Crash Course fan – specifically John Green over Hank though! I find John a bit more entertaining and his humour is a bit geeky so it is funny for a smaller portion of the classroom population.

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  2. Given the right group of students, I think I would also choose Wisecrack. There are some groups that it would be opening a can of worms to introduce that language into the classroom but I think they would get more out of the second one. I will never fully give up on Crash Course though….not many others cover the social studies concepts like they do!

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