In an earlier blog I mentioned I was going to try to use some video tutorials with my Programming II/III class. These tutorials, Corona Crash Course, are very good compared to many tutorials I have tried to watch. They are short (most are about 6 minutes), and fairly to the point. Since they covered material in a different way than the text I am using and they directly built a little game I thought it would be a good direction for my class. I have had less than stellar experiences with video tutorial previously but I thought I would give it one more try. The class I tried these in consists of nine sophomore and junior boys. A couple enjoy programming and are considering it as a possible future. The others are there because they did not want to take the other elective offered that period. They are capable, just not enthusiastic. I thought the game making scenario in the tutorials would entice them enough to keep them focused and on track. It worked for a while.
The problem as I see it is not the tutorials themselves, but the inconvenience videos present. My programming class meets every other day. Between each class there is some loss of “what did I see last time”. So the kids would have to go back and refresh themselves. There was also the problem “which video did I see that in?” The kids might have to look through a couple of videos to find what they were looking for. This is a bit of a pain. The quality of the videos seems to not be the issue. The video format is the problem. The solution would be if each video had a series of notes to go with it. Something in the direction of what each video covers and the important points it makes. It is so much easier to look back a few pages in a book than trying to find the place in the video you want to see again. The author of the video strongly suggests typing along with the video. This is great if the goal is to make the exact same project as in the video. I want the kids to take what they are learning and tweak it to make their own but similar game with modifications. Videos just do not lend themselves to this tweaking. A textbook with videos would seem to be the best teaching approach, the text for reference and the videos to show how the code/project should look. The videos definitely help in understanding the progress of a game project but a text is needed to help with explanations by filling in gaps and to speed up reference searching.
If I had time I would love to build a text to accompany these videos. I think with that add-on this series of videos would be great for a high school classroom.