Monday, December 9, 2013

How to create a video newsletter for your school

I recently began creating a video newsletter for our school.  I had seen a few people create video newsletters and post them on Twitter, so I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the NLHS newsletter.  We have done newsletters for years at the end of each quarter, but I am not sure how many people read the newsletters.  In order to save the district some funds, we began to post the newsletters on the school website for people to view.  Again, I was still not sure this had any impact on whether people read the newsletters or not.

We had a district professional development day on Monday, November 25th.  I had to present to staff members how to use videos in their classes.  As I was analyzing different apps, I found a few that I thought I would like to try and I thought these apps could help teachers & students in their classes.  At this point, I decided to create a video using the app Videolicious (@videolicious).  I thought I would make a short video to demonstrate to the teachers how the app works and how it could help them.  I created the video and posted it to Facebook & Twitter.  I got a great response from many community members.  As you can imagine, a lot more responses than I ever received regarding our printed newsletters.

When creating a video newsletter, there are some important topics to address before you create the video:

1. What do you want to convey to your viewers?
Figure out what you want your message to be.  Hopefully, you will be able to let everyone know about the great things going on in your building.  If you're in the classrooms as much as the administrative team is at NLHS, you will have a pretty good pulse of what each class is doing.  Highlight those activities, conduct interviews of students and teachers, take pictures and videos of projects to let parents and community members know what is going on in the building.

2. Why do you want to convey that message?
That should be pretty obvious: to let people know what is going on in our building.  Looking at this question more in-depth reveals something else.  Letting parents and community members see what is going on also allows you to educate your audience to learning techniques, methods, and strategies.  Your audience is able to see what the teaching methods and strategies look like in practice and not just read about them.

3. What medium will you use?
This is a great deal easier than it used to be.  Not long ago, you choices basically consisted of just YouTube.  Now, there are apps and software that allows you to video, edit, add music, and upload to Facebook and Twitter all in one application.  I enjoy using the paid version of Videolicious ($10/per month).  It allows me to take video on my iPhone and/or iPad, add music, edit my videos, and upload them to our school Twitter account and school district Facebook account.  There is no upload time with Videolicious as the videos are stored on their servers.  You could also use YouTube Capture as a video tool, but there is upload time involved with Capture.

4. Get students involved in the process.
We have a Media Club at NLHS where the students have the responsibility of capturing the footage and conducting most of the interviews.  The students enjoy practicing their speaking skills and technology skills and it lets the public see your students at work.  We are beginning to have meetings for the club to address all of the technology initiatives we have in the school.  The best part of the process is interviewing students.  It is surprising how nervous they get, but also how honest they are in their responses.

5. Have a plan in place.
It is a really good idea to have a script.  Set it up just like you would a short story or report.  Create an introduction, have transition pictures or slides, mix in different edited videos with music in the background, and end it with a closing.  It is a good idea to keep the videos relatively short and create the videos once a week or bi-weekly.  The idea is to create something that keeps people attention for a short period of time and at the same time, communicate your message to the viewer.

Creating video newsletters will help you communicate your message to a number of people.  Don't think of it as you would a traditional printed newsletter.  You can get a lot more insight into your school through video newsletters than the traditional newsletter.  Make sure you share the video in as many social media applications as possible to get your message out there.

Here is an example of what one of our newsletters looks like:


  1. Great post! Lots of useful ideas.

    1. Thanks. Let me know if you need any assistance in getting started.