iTunesU Video Notes Feature: How I Love Thee

iTunesU Video Notes Feature: How I Love Thee

I have written a post or two about how I much I adore the iTunes U platform. I have written over eight courses in the iTunes Library. Often times I write from a broad lens perspective where I talk about how much I like using the platform with adult learners, high school students, and younger gifted and talented children. Today I am going to narrow the lens/perspective of my post and talk about how valuable the video notes feature of the course is.

Why Video Notes?
I am using this feature quite a bit in my Forensic Senior Elective Class. I have had many of the students in my class for most of their high school career and I know that most of them are strong visual learners. Using the video notes in the iTunes U platform is a natural extension of how they learn best. So when I am presenting a new concept I find stunning visual images about the topic and place them into iMovie. To use a recent example I wanted students to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. So I got pictures of several high interest crimes put them into iMovie and then exported them into video notes. The level of engagement when the students were taking video notes about these topics was outstanding. It was certainly a lot more exciting than putting up a power point and going through the slides. This process of video notes is less static and more engaging…

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How Do I Make Video Notes?
This is a bit of a process so I thought I would walk the reader through it. If you are using your own materials/visual images for the notes it is best to combine the videos in iMovie. Then I usually export the iMovie from my iPad to my You Tube Channel. Once I have done that I use Clip Grab to take the movie footage and put it on the desktop of my Mac Book Air. When you are uploading materials to iTunesU you must use the computer and not the iPad and it works best in Safari. So I go to the my materials section of the course and upload the video notes. If I just put the link from my You Tube Channel in the course my students would not be able to take the video notes. You have to upload an MP4 to have the video notes be functional in iTunesU.

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iTunes U Paradigm Shift – Passive to Active Note taking
In many classrooms, the teacher passes out the power point and the students dutifully take notes. This type of learning is too passive for me. When I set up the video notes for my students I will often ask them very open-ended questions that do not necessarily have a right answer. This will then evolve into a discussion. I can ask very broad questions such as how does this slide relate to our learning goal for the day. I can also ask questions in the video that will stir up classroom debate like: is it fair to give the death penalty to a mentally handicapped person? This way the learning does not stop and start every time I open my mouth but we all involved in the process of sharing our thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the course topics.


Using this feature of iTunes U has changed the note-taking culture in my learning environment. I hope that you will be inspired to use the video notes feature in a classroom near or far, far, away. Please contact me if I can be of any help…


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