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Working with Video: Creating a Tutorial

(This unit was created by Ben Cooperman for a Grade 6 MYP Technology class.)


Simple videos have an important role to play in education. In a very short clip, we can transport viewers to a variety of locations, draw their attention to the big picture or focus in on specific details. We can simplify explanations by slowing things down or compress time by jumping forward to different moments. They can be posted online and easily downloaded. They can be viewed at any time on a variety of devices and shared around the world. And using a handful of new technologies, this can be done easily with just a laptop computer and a digital camera.

Situation Specific

You are to design and create a short software tutorial video that will run 2-3 minutes in length. You must tailor your video for a specific audience within the HKA community. You can use any software you like and you can include original footage or anything you find in the public domain although in most cases, you will likely be using screen recordings. You will use the design cycle to guide your process and you will document the stages on a new project page on your personal website. Your video will be added to an HKA media library and will be available for free download. It will be finished to a high quality.

Phase 1: Inquiring and Analysing

During the Researching and analysing phase, we will explore a number of tools and techniques for making videos, we will look at the wide variety of software tutorials videos that are already available online and we will consider the needs of our specific target audience.

What's Out There?

We analysed a range of existing products, in this case, short software tutorial videos, to help us understand what sort of content should go into our videos and which techniques we found to be effective. We wrote reviews of a couple of the videos we found and we created a concept map showing the variety of videos that are out there. Post your concept map, list of video 'do's and don't's' and reviews in this section. Be sure to add any explanations that might be needed for your readers to be able to understand what they are seeing.

example of a video review

This video is part of a series that teaches basic programming using a language called Processing.  This instalment introduces the idea of variables, using them to create a simple animation where a horizontal white line moves up and down on a black background.  He explains what he is going to teach us right at the very start.  He goes through the steps in the process very slowly and clearly and types out the program in real time so that we can work our way along with him.  It makes it very easy to pause the video if needed and continue when you have caught up.  Each time he introduces a new concept, he shows what is going to happen in a drawing tool.  Then he goes back to the program to show us the code needed to make it happen.  The one thing that I think he could do to improve the video is to actually show what the final product will look like right at the beginning instead of just explaining it.  That woud give an even clearer indication of the direction we are headed.


We explored a wide range of ideas for what sort of tutorial video we could make. At this point in the process, every idea, no matter how crazy or difficult it may appear, was still a possibility. We want to try to come up with 10-15 different ideas to get us started thinking about what the community might need. We want to get all of our ideas out, so we don't worry about evaluating them yet. We will narrow down the list in the next step. Most people used a concept map to show all of the different ideas but others chose some sort of list or chart. Whichever method you used, post your brainstorm in this section with a brief (1 sentence) introduction so the reader can make sense of it.


At this point, we narrowed our list from 10-15 down to the 3 or 4 most viable ideas. We wrote them down, briefly outlining WHAT the video will be about, WHO the video will be for and WHY this video ought to be made. We did this for each of our ideas. Then, in groups, we discussed each idea one by one and got feedback from our peers. We listed the PROS and CONS for each idea, and listed any SUGGESTIONS people had for how an idea could be improved. In this section, post your 3 ideas, along with your outlines and feedback.

Final Idea and Justification

At the end of the 'Possibilities' section, be sure to explain which idea you decided to work on and give some justification for why you chose it over the others.

Design Brief

Here, you will rewrite your idea as clearly as possible, once again, explaining WHAT you will make, WHO you will make it for and WHY you feel it needs to be made. Your idea may have changed since your discussion with your group and you may have incorporated some of their suggestions to make it better.

Guiding Questions

The next phase of the Design Cycle is 'Designing'. Before we are able to start that process, we need to make our list of Design Specifications to guide us along. And to do that, we will come up with a list of questions. These will include, "How long will the video be?" and "How will this video be shared with the target audience?" What other questions do you think need to be answered before you are ready to start your storyboard and writing your script? This is where you will put them. Try to come up with 5-8 questions that you feel will help guide you through the rest of the process.

*Assessment Rubric

Below is the rubric that will be used to assess the quality of your work. The words in bold should guide you as you consider your work against the assessment levels.

* I have removed the rubrics since we are currently participating in a pilot project for the IBO and we have been asked not to share them publicly until they have been published.  Parents can contact me directly for a copy of download them from Managebac.

Phase 2: Developing Ideas

In this phase, we will structure our tutorial through a few stages.  We will create a storyboard to help us come up with an appropriate sequence of information/events in the video.  Then we will move on to write the script.  Finally, we will examine any additional features or effects that we want to use to enhance the video and punctuate the message.

Design Specifications
You wrote a list of Guiding Questions to help prepare you to write your script and storyboard.  You probably included such questions as, "How long will the video be?" and "How will the final product be shared with the target audience?"  You will answer these questions as you move on. Write the answers to these questions in a section called 'Design Specification'.  List them as a series of bullet points.

A storyboard shows the sequence of events in your video.  Think of it as a graphic organizer to help you plan things out as you prepare to write your script.  There is a good Wikipedia entry that is worth a look if you are not familiar with the process.  There are many options for doing this.  You may want to try one of the many comic strip programs available to help you, such as Toondoo or Comic Life.  You may want to do this on paper and scan it into your computer later.  Fold a piece of paper in half, then half again.  Then fold it in half the other way so that you end up with 8 squares.  Now, try to imagine your video in 8 chunks.  For example, you will probably introduce your topic in the first part.  In the second part, you may show an finished example of what the viewer will learn to do in the video.  Then, you will probably break the lesson down into parts.  Finally, you may review the steps at the end.  This sort of structure will help you when you begin writing your script.

Now it is time to write out what you are going to say and do in the video.  It helps to have it written down so you can practice.  We have all seen tutorial videos where the person is clearly making it up as they go along--complete with "ums" and "uhs".  This takes away from what they are trying to teach us.  

Now that you have the script written, you can look at all the places where you can use effects such as background music, zoom, slow-motion and so on to enhance the quality and deliver the message more effectively.  Go back to your storyboard and start adding these in.  When you are making your movie, you will check both the script and storyboard regularly as you go through the process of creating each scene.

Phase 3: Creating the Solution

Process Journal
If you have done a good job investigating, designing and planning in the previous two phases of your project, this part should be fairly easy.  With any luck, everything will fall into place.  Of course, things don't always go according to plan.  In your process journal, you will document what you did at each step as though you were writing out a set of instructions (think about the projects that we looked at on the Instructables and Makezine websites.)  Include any suggestions you have for your readers and be sure to describe and fully justify any changes you made from your original plan from the Designing phase.

You will film and edit your video to a high quality.  Be sure upload your video to your webpage and have it available here.  You should save 2 versions of your video--one lower quality version that will go on your blog and be visible online, and a second version that is higher quality that we can make available on the school's Sharepoint server.

Phase 4: Evaluating

Now that you have finished making your video, you need to get people to watch it!  Be sure to encourage members of your target audience to see your video and to leave comments.  You are asked to provide a summary of the feedback that you get from members of your target audience.  You will use this feedback to help you improve it.  During the 'Evaluating' phase of this project, you will complete 4 tasks:

Reflect on the quality of your movie.  How well does it fulfill what you wrote in your Design Brief and Design Specifications?  (You MUST make specific reference to your Design Brief and Design Specifications in this section.)  Summarize and analyse the feedback that you got from your target audience.

Based on the feedback that you received and your experience making the movie, what will you change in your next version to improve it?  Be very specific here.  For example, "I will explain the steps more clearly," is not enough.  You must explain exactly what you will change and why.  JUSTIFY the changes that you plan to make according to experience and feedback.

My Video 2.0
If you choose, upload a revised edit of your video. (This is not required but will certainly help your grade by showing that you were able to make use of feedback.)

My Performance
Reflect on your performance throughout the phases of the Design Cycle.  What did you do well?  Why did those things go well for you?  How can you use this success to help you in the future?  What did you do poorly?  Why do you think those things did not go so well?  What can you do to improve in the future?  Again, be specific.  For example, "I will manage my time better," is not enough.  A better example might be, "I will take point form notes during class and keep them on colour-coded stickies on my desktop.  When I write my summaries later on, I will be able to use these notes to help me remember what I did."