Thursday, February 13, 2014

Increasing students engagement using video technology - Media Cast

Media Cast
A loaded Treasure Trove

I’ve been playing in the big box of media content called MediaCast. If I put aside my just- Google-it goggles, I found that using some patience and very basic search skills (think: digging for treasure), there are some really good video resources. It’s truly like a jumbled warehouse of media (18,848 items!). I could wander for days looking at all the cool stuff. It’s loosely organized by topic, with a search bar that allows me to look for media by title (if I know it) or a keyword in the description. I can also narrow down my search using the filters on the left side - publisher, copyright date, grade level. I suggest starting with a keyword search before using the filters.

Last week, one of the providers for MediaCast, CCC!, uploaded a bunch of new material. The flyer is here. Check out all those new titles! We’ve got access now to a BBC series of Shakespeare theatre, as well as animated version of several Shakespeare plays (pages 1 and 9 of the flyer).

I am particularly interested in videos from the National Science Foundation and Inventions that Shook the World (pages 2 & 4). It was easiest to find those videos by using the title search. Many librarians have talked about using augmented reality in their libraries. The National Science Foundation has a short video about augmented reality in the operating room and combat zone. Amazing stuff! Here is a link directly to that video.

In the Inventions that Shook the World series, the flyer has the inventions organized by decade. MediaCast has it organized strictly by title of the invention. I’m partial to my Prius, so I watched The Hybrid Car video. I hadn’t realized that an American man invented the hybrid engine in the 1970’s, and that the US government wasn’t interested in pursuing the technology!

Related to these series is page 5, Greatest Human Achievements. Search for these videos using the titles in the bottom half of the page, not by the inventor names. These videos are perfect for Grades 4-12 STEM, and they are short and sweet.

Drive Thru History looks like a lot of fun as Dave Stotts drives through historic locations around the globe (page 3). Again, use the titles listed as your search term.

For students who are thinking of their future, there are two pages (pages 6 & 7) of titles for career choices called Major Decision. The copyright date is 2011, so most of the information is quite current.

What I really liked, while I was wandering through the new material, was the My Favorites feature of MediaCast. I didn’t have time to watch everything that interested me, so I clicked on a title and added it to My Favorites. When I have a moment, I’ll check out the videos and then manipulate them to fit my needs. I can snip the videos into segments that pertain to a teaching unit. Then I can add captions to those parts of the video that students need to pay attention to, to clarify something, or ask a question for the students to think about during that segment. I have been creating unique URLs for these segments, which I can then embed in emails, websites, or presentations.

I suspect MediaCast is a little-used wealth of media. I encourage you to take some time to browse what we have at our beck and call. Let me know what gem you’ve uncovered!

by Rae Ciciora