This article has been published in Enabling Education Review 3
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Title: Reviewing video-based resources
Author: Cattermole, H
Publisher: EENET
Date: 2014

Reviewing video-based resources

Hannah Cattermole

This year EENET is updating its website resources catalogue, with financial support from Open Society Foundations (OSF). As part of this, we have been searching for videos about inclusive education. We want to help our network members access useful videos that explain inclusive education and illustrate effective practice. Here, Hannah summarises the findings of our video search.

What we found
There are thousands of videos about inclusive education available, mostly online via YouTube and the websites of development organisations, but some in DVD format.

Focus on awareness-raising and promotion
The majority of videos we reviewed focus on raising awareness and promoting access to education through a simple message. They often include case studies that are context specific and that highlight organisations’ projects from a promotional or even fundraising perspective.

Conceptual detail
Many of the videos focus on one aspect of inclusive education rather than taking a broader approach. This may be because offering a holistic view is more challenging, especially in a very short video. However, the overwhelming element missing from the videos is a more nuanced yet engaging look at inclusive education as a concept.

Few videos teach the viewer about the more complex aspects of inclusive education. Most do not answer ‘what is inclusive education?’ to a level that offers as much information as written resources. The usefulness of such videos, as stand-alone tools, is therefore rather limited. The videos that offer case studies do so in a general way; information about the case study is not organised into themes and basic descriptions are offered, rather than a critically engaging point of view.

Practical use
Few videos are organised into sections to make them easy to navigate or select particular content – as one might do if using videos during training. Most of the videos are not very practice-oriented. They would be useful for initiating discussions rather than for providing direct guidance to practitioners. None of the videos contain comprehensive links to other learning/training resources, just to organisations’ websites. This lack of a practical focus means that videos need to be used in conjunction with other resources rather than as stand-alone tools.

Filling the gaps
It is challenging to make a video that explains and dissects complex concepts in an accessible way. It is much easier to highlight an aspect of inclusion by showcasing an existing project (the video can then double as a promotional/fundraising tool). Based on our review, here are some recommendations for how your next film project could fill some of the main gaps:

  • Provide a comprehensive view of inclusive education, engaging more with the philosophy behind it. Offer simple and practical content to help someone new to the concept understand and learn, but also some content that gives more experienced viewers a deeper conceptual understanding.
  • Develop videos that look at practical issues for implementing inclusive education. Rather than dealing with different marginalised groups (as most existing videos do), your videos could deal with different aspects of the education system: government policy, school policy/culture, access/infrastructure, teacher training, classroom practice, parental involvement, etc.
  • If you choose to develop a video that focuses on a particular marginalised group, try to highlight all the issues that need attention if this group is to be included in education, not just the issue of access to school. Or direct the viewer to other resources that would help them with issues beyond access.
  • Create clearly labelled sections in the video to make it easier to navigate.
  • Consider making an animated video – this can be more interesting and give you an opportunity to convey issues that may be challenging to capture on film.
  • Provide documents to accompany the video, offering information that reinforces or expands the spoken/visual messages. Consider creating a guide to help facilitators who want to use the video during training. A transcript is also useful, especially if a facilitator wants to offer simultaneous language or sign interpretation while showing the film.

Hannah Cattermole currently works for War Child Holland. She completed the video search as part of a consultancy for EENET.