Sacha Van Straten is Director of ICT & Communication at Varndean School, Brighton. We published his story on Facebook back in March 2013, and we like it so much we want to share it here as well. If you have any VideoScribe stories of your own, we'd love to hear them. Please get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. I discovered VideoScribe when I entered a national competition to win a purpose built classroom for our school. The requirements of the competition were to complete a 30 second entry video, showcasing the school and highlighting our need for the building. However, with a 7 day deadline, the pressure was on. I was also keen not to disturb the schedules of the students and teachers and therefore needed to quickly source video software to promote our cause. A Google search for 'video animation software' delivered VideoScribe from Sparkol, and I realised this could be the solution to my entry video quandary. I subscribed to VideoScribe’s free 7 day trial and began work straight away. Utilising the online tutorials I learnt how to morph and upload pictures with Sparkol’s expert coaching. I also discovered that I could design my own characters and fonts in an SVG format in Inkscape and upload these directly to VideoScribe. Although the camera angles were initially difficult to grasp, once mastered these added a fantastic element to the scribe video, enabling me to focus the audience’s attention on the key areas of our campaign.
As a teaching tool VideoScribe has huge potential. The ability for teachers to personalise scribes to showcase their subject, and explain difficult ideas using a medium that students relate to, is incredible.
Within two days I had a completed scribe video which showcased the school in an innovative way. In addition, VideoScribe was inexpensive, easy to use and provided the results within the timescale available- in fact it was completed ahead of deadline. VideoScribe is a useable interface that performs and functions from the start. Users can start creating great, professional looking animated videos quickly, but should they wish to add other dimensions, the Sparkol tutorials are available and ensure the user gets the most from VideoScribe. As a teaching tool VideoScribe has huge potential. The ability for teachers to personalise scribes to showcase their subject, and explain difficult ideas using a medium that students relate to, is incredible. Furthermore, the process of viewing a scribe is more engaging; students have to link what is being viewed on screen with what is being said in the audio track or in person by the teacher. The process of linking concept with context engages more of the brain. The way that information and concepts are revealed is in itself engrossing, viewers are keen to see how the scribe ends and how the questions are answered. The majority of any class today will be predominantly visual in their learning style– this is thought to be linked to the amount of visual stimulation through television, computers and other technology that very young children are exposed to. VideoScribes ability to grab the attention of a wide range of users is great. I imagine that VideoScribe could easily be used in primary schools, focussing on literacy and numeracy whilst in secondary schools it can be used to illustrate difficult concepts such as evolution, photosynthesis, mathematics and other challenging ideas. There is such a broad spectrum for its use! Furthermore the students can use it to promote their creativity and develop their subject knowledge. Teachers can then assess understanding and learning by viewing the students scribes in Sparkol’s free online storage. By utilising VideoScribe in education, teachers have the ability to engage and educate their students in a factual yet entertaining way, using a programme that not only can be edited easily but meets students in an area where they are very comfortable – video. Sacha Van Straten