60 second science: Engaging with the ‘Youtube Generation’

Being one of the International judges for the International Science Video Competition, I have talked with Brendan O’Brien, the convenor of the  “60 second science“.

What is “60 second science”?

60SecondScience is a fully online International Video Competition sponsored by the Department of Education (DEECD-Innovation Next Practice Division), Victoria, Australia. Since its first iteration in 2008, it has enjoyed relentless growth and appeal, from 30 Victorian school-only participants, to over 300 science videos uploaded in 2011, with over 400 registering from 22 countries. The competition links directly to required student outcomes over a number of Science, Citizenship and ICT Standards. Valuable prizes are distributed each year, as determined by a prestigious International panel of judges.

Why is this competition used in the Science Classrooms?

Teachers can engage the interests and skills of students in a way that increases the depth of their science knowledge as they hone their multimedia skills.  Many of today’s students are an entrenched part of  the ‘youtube generation’ and are more than comfortable with being producers of content, whereas other generations were comfortable as mere consumers of content. Many students are ‘over’ powerpoint reports by the time they get to secondary settings, and are happy to shoot video on their smart-phones, flipcams, videocameras or webcams. The competition is easily adapted to be used not as an add-on, but as a contingent element within the existing science curriculum.

How is this Video competition used in Secondary/High School Science Classrooms?

A.     Teachers give students the option of making a 60second video to demonstrate their understanding of a topic or unit of work they are studying/researching in any area of the secondary science curriculum. Eg Newton’s Laws, The States of Matter, Forces, Chemistry. Projectile Motion, Chemical Bonding,  This is often done as an alternative to producing a written report, poster or Powerpoint.

B.     Teachers give the student teams the option to make a ‘prac report video’ instead of the standard ‘written’ prac report. Eg. The Law of Reflection, Heart-rate, Thermal expansion, Displacement Reactions.
In both cases, students are required to research deeply and collaborate closely to refine their understandings and condense their knowledge to convey their key concepts and ideas into the 60second format.

Students work with their teacher on a particular science topic or integrated study unit, and produce a video over a number of weeks as part of their weekly routine. This can be used as a science teaching strategy at any grade level. E.g. Grade 1 Temperature, Grade 3 Capillary Action, Grade 4 Mould on Bread, Grade 6 Plant Osmosis

How does “60 second science” support Multicultural Classrooms?

The LOTE Divisions encourage entrants to use Languages Other Than English. Eg Chinese, French, Cantonese, Malayalam, Italian.

There are several divisions such as International Open – for professional/amateur film-makers, teachers, non-school-age citizens, International primary / elementary school division, International secondary / high school division, International LOTE – with English sub-titles and spoken in a Language Other Than English; as well as the Best Cinematography – for videos in any Division, Best Animation – for videos in any Division and for the others. The ‘Winner’ gets a Certificate and an offer of free online video production and science workshop for teachers and students.

You can register for the competition by 1 August 2012, and upload videos by 26 August 2012. Please find all other details and contact the convenor on the official web site.