Imagine that all the key points in your lessons are stored as video clips made under ideal conditions. Each of your pupils has a copy of these clips on a CD-Rom that they can play on their computer at home. When they revise they have class notes, textbooks and memory jogging video clips to help them. In addition you have a new source of cover work.
An alternative scenario could be to include a CD-Rom with the school prospectus, video clips of all the best bits of the year, pupils at work, outdoor activities, sports competitions, musical events etc.
Another idea would be to send your feeder schools CD-Roms of your new year 7 enjoying their first year with you or showing prospective Year 12 students and parents clips of current Year 12 and 13 students at work in your subject.
I've put my GCSE physics lessons on a CD, sent the feeder schools clips of my Year 7s and I'm storing clips of school events ready for the new prospectus.
You don't need a DVD player to watch a video clip on a computer as all computers with a Windows operating system have a video player. Sixty-five minutes of video fits on one CD-Rom and the sound and picture quality are similar to that produced by a tape of a recorded TV programme.
The clips are made using a digital movie camera. They are copied onto a computer's hard disk using a capture card that fits in the computer. The editing software that comes with the card is used to tidy up the clips and put them in order. It is easier to use than Excel.
The completed clips are compressed by the software before putting onto the CD-Rom. If they weren't compressed the CD-Rom would hold only two-and-a-half minutes of video.
The last job is to burn a copy of the clips onto the CD-Rom using a CD rewriting unit and its software. It fits into a spare bay on the computer. To play a clip double click the filename. If you want a bigger screen right click the mouse pointer over the video screen and use the zoom control.
Your CD-Rom of clips is similar to a collection of photographs stored in a wallet. There is no structure or order. To remedy that you put the clips into the equivalent of a photograph album. The album is a "virtual" website stored on the CD-Rom. In its pages are the clips along with any text and photographs you need. When you double click the home page file of the site you see the site structure in the browser window and you navigate just as on a normal website.
I put one or two clips to a page for my physics work and have a set of questions beneath the clips. The answers to the questions appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the question paper. I use Dreamweaver 3 software to make my virtual sites, but there are cheaper alternatives.
It takes a lot of time to do this work and assuming you have an average computer you still need to spend an additional pound;1,000 on peripherals. But it is worth the effort. I've had excellent feedback from my pupils, their parents, colleagues, governors and others who have seen the work. Boys who would rather not open a book and read are willing to look and listen to a video clip.
Alex Redhead teaches at The Lakes School, Windermere Alex Redhead's Dual Science Physics clips etc are available on disk for pound;80. Schools can make as many copies as they want for pupils' use and to copy the disk onto any hard drives on the school systems. Write to: Potts Beck Productions, 42 Larch Grove, Kendal LA9 6AU