Home Schooling and Videos

Home Schooling Debate
Stephen Downes wrote a brief note on his opposition to home schooling and has received quite a bit of flak about it, both in the comments to his post and elsewhere. I asked,

Can you expand on your position and provide some evidence for your claims?

He then made a 16-minute video On Home Schooling to detail his position and make it clearer, but although his position is clear, he doesn't seem to have any evidence for his opinions.

In a later note, he wrote of those writing elsewhere that the post by Dana Hanley was "the most constructive," and it is fairly thorough. Stephen plans to follow up with a more detailed response later, so let's see what evidence he has then.

Using Videos
On another note, his video made it clear to me that when using tools, we need to consider what they have to offer, how they can add to our message, and what we lose when using them. Videos can do things that mere talking cannot. Just consider MIchael Wesch's video, Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us. It would be impossible to get across the same meaning compressed into this video into a print-only text (unless perhaps it were book-length). A print-only text could only write about the meaning while this video shows the meaning while texting about it.

In contrast to Wesch's video, Stephen's video added nothing to the meaning that could not have been accomplished in a text-only medium. In fact, it accomplished less for three reasons:

  1. With print, I can easily cast my eyes up and down (scrolling if necessary) to clarify and confirm the meaning, while with a video I have to stop it and replay it if I miss or don't understand something.
  2. With video, I need to take notes to be able to see the whole picture while reviewing and reflecting on it instead of being limited to a sequential input of ideas.
  3. Videos require more time for listening than print for reading.

All three reasons involve time. This time requirement of viewing and understanding videos means that if they are to be used, they need to offer something that cannot be obtained in print only, something that is worth the extra time investment, such as using talking videos or podcasts with language learners who need the extra aural practice.