Online Makematic Community

We’re Building An Online Makematic Community

So we’ve decided to build a Community! A community of educators and education professionals who are interested in improving their use of multimedia in the classroom. We have a lot of expertise in this area and we want to share that expertise with you!Read More

Is Your Child at the Centre of Their Education? – Part Three

In previous blogs, I’ve examined the birth of student-centred education.  John Dewey the father of all freethinkers in education influenced several generations of other similarly minded educationalists such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Maria Montessori. Check out the previous blogs: part 1 & part 2.Read More

Image of person learning on table/iPad

EdTech News – April 2021

During the last year, we’ve all found our own ways to adapt and this is also the case for how and where we learn. Some students have had the luxury of their own room, a desk, whereas others have had to share the kitchen table or sit on the bed. What’s the connection between student engagement and learning environments?Read More

Image of online classes

EdTech News – March 2021

Zooms this week have often included the words ‘there’s light at the end of the tunnel’ and it is starting to feel like that with schools re-opening in the UK and more and more people getting the vaccine. I’m also aware that in the rest of Europe it may not feel like that at all yet with cases on the rise and new lockdowns being announced. I really wish I didn’t have to write about developments in Education in light of Covid-19, but here we are for another month.Read More

Images of Untold new content for 2021. Pictures of black lives matter protest, reebok ad and gertrude kay illustration

What’s New For Untold 2021?

In 2020 we launched Untold, a collaboration with Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement, USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education. A free collection of short, compelling history videos and animations designed to shine a light on stories that don’t make it into the classroom and to question what we think we know about those that do. We believe that not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of history textbooks. Untold has been created to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.Read More

Video Content in 2020

Video Content in 2020

It is the end of a long year, what better way to end than to do my usual and have a quick round-up of how video content has been growing as a consumer favourite in 2020.

Whilst international physical boundaries have been closed due to the Covid crisis, digital traffic has increased hugely.  From our perspective as a business who produces short-form educational video targeting post-millennials and millennials, we have seen pretty explosive growth this year as brands, publishers and non-profits all turn to short-form animated and live-action video to educate their audiences.

According to Cisco, who this time last year said that in any given second 1 million minutes of video are crossing the internet, at the end of 2020, they say that 75% of all internet traffic is video content, and this will rise to 82% by 2022.

Publicis and Verizon in a joint study have discovered that a lot of video content is consumed on the go or at work and as a result of this, 92% of those in their study watch video with the sound off.  So captions are becoming a must!

More than 2 billion people use Youtube – that’s one-third of all internet users with around 5 billion videos watched on Youtube every day, and Youtubers are uploading 500 hours of video every minute.  According to Social Media Today, 82% of Twitter users mainly use the platform to watch videos. These are mostly mobile users as well since roughly 90% of all video views on Twitter happen via mobile phones. 

We already know that most view video content via mobiles courtesy of eMarketer’s study in 2018, so this has only grown since then. We are nearing the point where everyone who possibly can in terms of device ownership, will view short-form video content on a daily basis, wherever they are, anywhere in the world. What’s interesting to learn from Brand Gym is that when consumers are viewing adverts on a mobile device, 75% skip the advertising in an average of 5.5 seconds (ie: as soon as they can!), so if advertising-supported video content is your strategy, then it’s completely the wrong one and something needs to change.   

On the educational front, video-assisted learning has become more and more popular.  Classrooms are awash with high-tech digital displays and now that schools are connected to the internet worldwide, video has become an important part of everyday learning – this has of course extended into the home this year.  The Covid pandemic has created the perfect environment for distance learning which has increased spectacularly with universities having to create high-quality distance learning modules with high production values for their video content.  Animated videos enrich subjects and help pupils and students understand complex subjects simply and easily in a format with which they identify.

The US government have recognised this and are awarding grants to those who produce educational video content. PBS Education an off-shoot of the network PBS has secured a $24M federal grant this year.  They’ve seen the opportunity that presents itself and are going to spend it on creating high educational value, curriculum-linked video assets and they’ve employed early-learning and children’s education experts and media producers to realise this project.

Those targeting post-millennials are getting it right.  I have often mentioned Blippi and how he’s grown to become a multi-million dollar brand in his own right through simply producing quality educational videos and posting them on Youtube. Last year he’d made about $12M. This year, judging by the merchandise in our house he’ll be making a lot more.  

In the past week, Ryan Kaja became the highest-earning Youtuber earning $29.5M from his Youtube child influencer shows and a further $200M from his branded toys and Marks and Spencer pyjamas.  Nickelodeon have now signed him for a series so next year that will only increase.

Without a doubt this year has been a big turning point for video content.  It was always on the cards that short-form educational video was going to become the learning medium for learning anything. But the fact that the entire population of the planet was forced online this year, whether they liked it or not, has made this happen now.  Not next year or the year after.  Today.  Those who choose to ignore this will simply be left behind.

Image of two women holding up a sign saying We Hosted A Webinar - Belfast Design Week

We Hosted A Webinar: Makematic Behind-The-Scenes Episode 8

If you’re like me, a 20-something-year-old who is eager to learn and try new things but at the same time who is terrified to learn and try new things because it’s – well – new, then you’ve come to the right page.

Public speaking. Two words that for some people it’s a walk in the park, but for others who don’t have that much experience in (a.k.a me) it’s a -20C walk in the park with sleet, heavy rain and realising that your coat doesn’t have a hood. This year, I decided to take that walk into public speaking, albeit it was online and someone else was there to co-host with me. Besides that, the nerves were there, the pit in my stomach was present and I ran out of breath a lot.

This episode of the vlog explores the journey that Tasha (our Social Media Producer) and I went through when we hosted our first webinar for Belfast Design Week. It was a journey, to say the least. We prepared our content a week before, figured out what we were going to say the day before and mentally preparing ourselves for the pressure two weeks before. So in short, a lot of prepping happened.

To ensure that the webinar ran smoothly, I had to venture back into the office to get reliable WiFi. If you have the same internet provider as me, which fails on a daily basis and consequently makes me appear to freeze during Zoom calls with an unflattering expression, then you know what the frustration feels like. I won’t name names as to who this said internet provider is as A) I might get in trouble for legal reasons and B) because I don’t want anyone else to suffer the same internet fate as I do.

If you haven’t already watched the vlog, have a look at it below!

https://youtu.be/koyyDE9H2Q4

Fun fact about this vlog, we practised the webinar 7 times. Practised social distancing whilst doing the webinar. And learnt that public speaking (virtually) isn’t too bad at all. Though I can’t vouch for in-person public speaking, I think that’s a whole other level of panic.

Watch episode 8 here!

Shameless plug right here, but after you watch the vlog, watch our webinar too called “How To Design Your Instagram Feed To Educate Your Audience”. It’s now live on the Makematic VOD. It’s short and sweet, and you might learn something about how gen Z wants to use Instagram now. If you don’t fancy watching and prefer reading, I did write about the webinar in this condensed version. Just to warn you, this doesn’t have as much information as the webinar, so you might as well watch the webinar.

Person watching video tutorials

The Evolution Of Vlogging

Our endless viewing of vlogs, baking tutorials and those fascinating videos from Jungle Survival, has Nellie Bly to thank. She can be considered as the world’s first blogger. In 1887, her work “Behind Asylum Bars” where she went undercover in a Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island went viral and changed the way institutions are run forever. Inspired by the book Around the World in 80 Days, Bly set sail in 1889 and documented her adventures – travel blogger (or vlogging) style. Her record-breaking trip only took 72 days!

Bly’s viral work and travel blogging got me thinking about how vlogging has dominated the way we tell stories and document our lives. 

And as someone who has done 7 vlogs (that you can watch here) and counting, I thought it would be interesting to dive into the evolution of vlogging and see how it has changed the way we tell stories. 

But Before That

You can find out more about Nellie Bly and other historical figures within our Hidden Histories collection from the Untold series – a project of the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement. Produced and distributed by Makematic with the USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education.

The Early 2000’s

Adam Kontras. You’ve probably never heard his name, but he is known to have created the world’s first vlog. Kontras set off on a cross-country road trip and along the way, he would write blogs to send to his friends and family about his adventures. On January 2000, he posted a video with his blog, that shows him sneaking a cat into a hotel that has a “No Pets” policy, thus creating the first vlog.

On 24 April 2005, “Me at the zoo” by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim was published on YouTube. You may not be aware of the significance of this video, but believe it or not, this was the first YouTube video ever. With Karim speaking in front of the camera and explaining his surrounding in this 18-second video, some even classify this clip as the first vlog ever on YouTube, which has 99M views and counting. 

The Bedroom Scene

Majority of the now-famous YouTubers began their vlogging careers in their bedroom talking in front of a webcam. However, one ‘video blogger’ as she phrased it in 2006, became the first viral sensation, first popular blogger on YouTube and first internet hoax. What a woman. Lonelygirl15  gained viewership quickly despite the seemingly ‘dull nature’ of the videos, pretty sure she says boring almost 6 times in her first video. However, a couple of months into her vlogging career, it was revealed that the channel was fake and that ‘Bree’ was actually an actress, and the whole series was produced LA-based creators. 

Despite the hoax that lonelygirl15 was, she paved the way for vlogging and future creators. She showed the world the potential of YouTube and how stories can be made, and it all started in the bedroom. It also shows you how old we are if you remember lonelygirl15. So thanks ‘Bree’.

The $21,000 First-Class Airplane Seat 

This was the first vlog I watched. To be honest, I didn’t want to watch vlogs back then because I would tend to feel jealous of what the person is showing me – like Casey Neistat (12.1M subs), who as the title states got a $21,000 first-class airplane seat, something that some of us can only get if we win the lottery. But after watching this vlog, I went down a deep rabbit hole and spent days watching his vlog channel.

Vlogs have evolved throughout the years and trying to write about it in one blog, is impossible. Famous vloggers, such as Casey, Liza Koshy (17.8M subs), David Dobrik (17.8M subs), have all brought something different to the vlogging world. Whether that’s playing truth or dare in public or filling the entire backyard with foam – vlogs can be about anything. 

Vlogs are about the authenticity of a creator. It’s about sitting down and talking in front of a camera or filming something completely different. Some vlogs have a staged element in them – pioneered by lonelygirl15 – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s difficult to shoot something that happens spontaneously, after all, it’s not every day that you get to film the cutest baby talk ever. So planning your vlog content to make it more interesting is a good way to start. Personally, I think this video illustrates it perfectly, it’s a planned vlog that is so chaotic and entertaining that it makes you want to watch more. 

So there you have it, a condensed version of the evolution of vlogging. Vlogging continues to evolve and creators continue to rise on the internet. So why not start your vlogs today?

Illustration of young girl sitting at her desk in front of a laptop with books and school supplies

10 Reasons Why Educational Videos Are Super Effective

Throughout history, educators have learned through no small feat that in order to connect learning with students, they must adapt their learning resources into what works with each new generation. For Gen Z and Alpha, online videos is the way to go. You probably already know that however, so let’s explain ten reasons why educational videos are super effective for students.

#1 – Engagement

Numerous academic studies have been released on how video increases motivation and deeper learning, while also being able to specifically impact students’ ability to facilitate discussions and identify problems.

Want to learn more about the science behind it? We deeply recommend reading Cynthia J. Blame’s ‘Effective educational videos’ from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

#2 – Accessibility

Let’s be honest, accessibility is still an over-looked subject even in 2020 but leaps and bounds are being made to make digital equipment & the virtual space it connects to far more accessibility to a wider range of people, particularly with disabilities.

From subtitling to audio description to transcripts, accessibility is finally becoming more mainstream and we at Makematic continue to discuss what steps we can make to do our part with our own content.

#3 – Portability

Print media is, unfortunately, becoming a thing of the past, especially for the new generations. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, is the need for trustworthy digital, learning resources that can be shared and used immediately around the newly-formed online classroom.

Unsure where to find video content for your students that will work on a wide range of devices? Why not check out our ever-increasing, educational video series on the Makematic VOD available on:

#4 – Ease of Production

You don’t need a PhD to make an effective, learning video, although it may certainly help! As long as you have access to a decent smartphone, you have all the tools at your fingertips to plan, produce and edit an educational video on a subject you love.

For kinesthetic learners, and students with learning disabilities e.g. Dyslexia. Video is a great tool alongside other resource mediums to help overcome barriers when trying to increase your student absorption of cognition & knowledge.

#5 – Replayability

Have you ever re-watched a film or television series and suddenly noticed new things that you didn’t pick up the first time you watched it?

A great benefit for video-based learning is how it allows anyone to pause, stop, rewind, and other timeline manipulation factors that can impact an individual’s learning experience. Unlike the traditional classroom or a group lecture, learning via video – you’d never have to miss something again, just as long as you can re-watch, you can always go back and re-absorb any missing info.

#6 – Visual Factor

Now, I love a good book from time to time, but even have to admit that video is only as good as the source material that inspires it. But that’s not to say the visual element of video is powerful and more appealing to learn from, particularly for my attention span.

Articles, journals, essays and more may feel more offputting to generations raised on television & online video. However, when you combine multiple sources of educational resources together with students, I truly believe you can get the best out of them.

#7 – Authenticity

Humans love to connect with fellow humans and if online video platforms such as YouTube & Twitch have taught us anything, it’s that having a human narration or even industry experts within your video adds a level of user connection that can be lost in translation through other forms of learning resources.

When we released our Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) series, we had this in mind. The free-to-watch series contains numerous industry experts in the education industry. Why not check it out: https://tom.makematic.com/.

#8 – Collaboration

Successful learning is not just an individualistic experience. Having the ability to work with other people opens the conversation for feedback, ultimately providing students with inter-personal, social skills and the ability to take constructive criticism.

Video is a fun way for your students to create brainstorms and group learning experiences that can allow them to see easily their input to an educational topic while giving them that level of passion needed to connect to the subject matter in ways other mediums may struggle.

#9 – Contextual

Unlike relying on just reading literary materials, video provides strong visual cues. These help learners understand what’s happening, even when the language and prose is hard to follow.

Utilising infographics, source material and first-person accounts within your video help provide that much-needed cognitive downtime when learning and help keep the overall topic visually-stimulating.

#10 – Creativity

Video-based learning is a creative process, even when covering a specialist, STEM topic. It opens cognition to not just utilise the logistic side of your brain, but also your creative side too.

Creative thinking is fast-becoming one of the top employability skills for the future generation and by striving to incorporate video into your classroom, you allow the possibility for your students to begin to train themselves in these fundamental skills going forward.

We strive to inspire creativity through our videos, particularly for subjects that don’t get the reach they should. Just like our Untold Series where we delve into the fascinating history topics throughout the History of America.

Belfast Design Week 2020: Educating Gen Z On Instagram

This year’s Belfast Design Week was a little different. Instead of coming together in person, it was all on Zoom. Zoom is fine, it’s just not the same as going to an in-person event, meeting new people and taking one too many free snacks.

Yesterday (04 Nov), we hosted a webinar entitled “How To Design Your Instagram Feed To Educate Your Audience” with a focus on how to gain the attention of Generation Z. For those who attended and to Belfast Design Week – thank you! For those who didn’t get a chance to hear what we had to say, we’ve put some key highlights about Post-Millennials (Gen Z) and how Instagram is changing as a platform in terms of how people are using it.

29.6% of Instagram’s users were in the 18-24 age group (Statista, 2020)

With the current social climate that happened this year and is continuously happening, Instagram is no longer an appropriate place to exist unfazed by current events, politics, cultural and social issues, and much more. 

Travel photos and group selfies have been replaced with protest photos and educational infographics.

With a quick search, you can find posts advocating for anything you can think about with thousand of engagements. Posting bite-sized squares of information in the form of a carousel which Instagram launched in 2017, has been used by activists, advocacy groups and well-meaned individuals as a way to educate and inform.

Consider it something like PowerPoint activism (Nguyen, 2020)

In a time of social unrest, these text-based slideshow graphics have found new resonance and an eager audience, like Gen Z, on the platform, which has been known for prioritizing still images over text.

But if you are planning to do this text-based slideshow graphics, make sure that it’s coming from a good place. This means that if you’re trying to educate your audience on a certain topic or matter, you need to make sure that you are practicing what you preach as Patel (2017) stated that “Gen Z is going to know very quickly whether they are a part of something special or are caught in a big-talk campaign”.

As social media users, it’s up to us to be more critical and intentional with our digital footprints. This is something Gen Z (individuals like myself) wants to use social media for. We want to be educated and learn more about what is happening in our society, as sometimes in schools we are not taught about certain things, therefore we take matters into our own hands.

Learn more about Post-Millenials and Civic Engagement here.

We had recorded the webinar so that everyone who did not attend is able to watch it – even folks who didn’t sign up. Look out for this next week!

Animated drawing of students and teachers in a classroom with desktops being used to learn about global education

EdTech – October

Now that it looks like education – the way we teach and learn is affected long term, the EdTech experts are starting to uncover what this may look like and what the implications may be. Will the pandemic lead to an innovation in education though?

The EdTech podcast doesn’t seem to think so. Listen here and join the debate.

The Brookings Institute has written an article on how education can emerge stronger than ever before. “It is hard to imagine there will be another moment in history when the central role of education in the economic, social, and political prosperity and stability of nations is so obvious and well understood by the general population. Now is the time to chart a vision for how education can emerge stronger from this global crisis than ever before and propose a path for capitalizing on education’s newfound support in virtually every community across the globe.” The article also highlights four emerging global trends in education from COVID 19. 

Another big educational transformation taking place is a shift from directed education to self-directed education. “….the complexities of our world require deeper connection to our most human traits—such as creativity, empathy, agency, and curiosity—not the algorithmic thinking, regurgitation, and blind deference to authority that our system so effectively engenders with its current methods and targets.” Read more about it here.

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with the report on the EdTech Vision 2025 from the Education Foundation. Not just a celebration of what has been done well, but very much a wake-up call on what needs to be improved for education technology and digital skills for tomorrow’s global citizens. 

animated drawing of teen sitting alone

Online Book Club Is No Replacement For A Killers Concert

Amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the unique frustrations and struggles faced by teenagers and their parents during lockdown are being overlooked, writes Jack Pickard.

“Hang on, my daughter has just started eating the dog’s food!” – before the coronavirus, the weekly board meeting normally ended with AOB and setting the next agenda, not retrieving your offspring from the kitchen floor. This is a typical COVID-era example used to highlight work-life struggles as we’re forced to work, study and parent at home. And parenting during lockdown is certainly not easy. But this applies to all ages of children.

Many are under the impression that teens are easier to look after during pandemic-enforced restrictions as they are more independent. Any attention or advice has been for parents with younger children, leaving the exasperated parents of teenagers forgotten and unsupported. But with so many parents of teens struggling during lockdown, this should not be the case. Teenagers, like young children, bring their own set of problems, all of which are magnified when forced to stay inside.

Take homeschooling and maths problems. Teens’ maths isn’t just simple addition and subtraction any more. Questions like ‘x2 + 4x -2 = 0, find x’ leave you not only struggling to understand the question in the first place, never mind answering it, but also wondering how someone ever lost x in the first place, given there’s one right under that small 2 and another next to the 4!

Being unable to help out in these subjects not only inhibits teenagers from being able to learn but it is also very demotivating for them, making it hard to encourage them to keep working. The result: raised voices, slammed doors and dirty looks for the rest of the day.

Another struggle for parents is trying to fill the void left by a year of cancelled activities that teens had been looking forward to so much. The advice is to find something new and interesting to do – join an online reading group perhaps, something you’d never thought of doing before lockdown. But for a teen, who was hoping to attend Leeds Fest, that just isn’t going to cut it. Not that reading groups aren’t incredibly exciting, but I reckon the atmosphere at a reading group might be slightly different to a festival. I don’t think I have ever managed to properly discuss the merits of the Great Gatsby as a commentary of the time period whilst being crushed in a mosh pit.

This excitement of freedom and friends is something that should be experienced away from parents. But with ongoing lockdown and restrictions on our social lives making this impossible – what are parents supposed to do to help their teens enjoy these times as best they can?

Freedom and friends also come with other more complicated problems. Unlike younger children, teenagers start to experience issues such as friends falling out and navigating the friendship groups that they belong to. Not quite Brexit, granted – they are not having to make complex political alliances or consider the impact that a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will have on the economy. But even so, teens are more socially developed, and their issues are much more complicated than a younger child’s struggle to pull two Lego bricks apart (unless that was actually a part of the Brexit negotiations?). 

All these things stirred together with a much-too-generous helping of hormones leave struggling parents with a rather unpleasant cocktail: a teenager with rapid mood swings and complicated problems that requires much more emotional energy than they did ten years ago.

While younger kids may demand more physically, teens require a different kind of patience, sympathy and understanding. Ignoring this and focussing attention mainly on parents with younger children alienates parents with teenagers, who are also having a hard time. As lockdowns look set to continue for the foreseeable future, let’s widen our focus to offer sympathy and support to parents and children of all ages. 

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