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Science in 6.5 seconds! The value of Vine for teaching

Written by Ben Newsome on March 24th, 2016.      0 comments

Vine can be valuable for teaching science!

***Sadly as of early 2017 Vine was discontinued. We've left this article on our blog as it still has some handy tips for why creating short science videos can be useful in the classroom. Please check out how to use Instagram as a alternative option instead***

Vine is quite an interesting social media app that has become massively popular with people wanting to see a series of extremely small videos. How extremely small you say? At the time of writing this post Vine allows videos of just over 6.5 seconds in length (!). This naturally brings on the question for science teachers... how could this possibly be useful to my classroom? Well, some readers might already be aware that just like YouTube, Vimeo and other sharing platforms there amongst the thousands upon thousands of videos with no real value to the classroom, there are also some real gems where people have spent the time to use that 6 or so seconds to create useful content that the learner can benefit from. Vine is no different and it might be worth your time having a browse through the millions of short films available. In fact, you might be amazed at how easy it is to create meaningful lessons yourself that work even with that short amount of time!

We've only been playing around with the platform for a little while and have found that simply filming science experiments and then chopping them up using Cyberlink Powerdirector has been easy to do, especially as the video editing software allows us to quickly annotate what is happening during the clip. Whilst these videos are not the most stunning videos out there (we are science teachers after all), we've found that the very short time frame of the videos forces you to get quickly to the point and hone in on the good stuff.

How could you possibly use this in the classroom? Well apart for showing quick science experiments to students with short attention spans, it is really a platform where your students can get creatively engaged with your own science activities. They often carry a smartphone in their pocket anyway, why not let them film something great in your classroom and then get them to send the videos on to you? You can then quickly check that the videos are appropriate and then upload them to your own science class's Vine channel so that people can see the fun stuff happening in your science classroom :)

Maybe you could create some sort of 'science expo' for your school and set challenges with prizes for your students for who can create the most informative & creative science video!

Of course, Vine may not be your video platform of choice... but then again, does it really matter? If students are more engaged in your science lessons who really cares? As long the science is solid and it doesn't distract from the main focus of your lesson your students can only benefit my giving it a try. Yes, Vine is a social media channel and you have to set the usual boundaries, expectations and safety guidelines as per any publicly accessible website. Still, it's a fun and creative platform which doesn't take too much out of your day and you might find that you have a hidden talent for directing short films :)

Feel free to check out what science videos we've come up with on Vine.
To be honest, we're just having a play!

All the best,


Ben Newsome

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