Teachers: Khan-style online tutorials go 2.0 with new technology

Khan Academy-style tutorials go 2.0, humanizing online learning thanks to the LightBoard.

3. Implementation–While everything was fine in theory, reality requires fine tuning:

  • The original glass looked perfect. However, once flooded with light, some subtle flaws were revealed inside the glass. (Glass was never meant to be flooded with this amount of light.) Luckily our supplier was understanding and replaced the sheet with another formula. It is excellent.
  • Handling and care are important. Even a small scratch becomes obvious.
  • Lighting of the teacher takes some experimentation to get right. We are still working on this, but the results so far are quite good.
  • Blackout curtains in appropriate locations may be important, depending on the structure of the room. We added more to our walls to reduce reflections on the glass and to control lighting of the teacher.
  • A suitable microphone is important, as high-quality audio is vital. We bought a directional external microphone which sits on a tripod at the side of the board. It is working well, but we are still experimenting.
  • Glass is difficult to clean, and smudges can be visible in a video when the glass is flooded with light. We experimented with a range of cleaners and a microfiber glass cleaning cloth seems to work well.
  • The tips provided at lightboard.info have also been very useful.

4. Production–Our goal was to allow teachers to teach and not have to think about the technology. Thus, all a teacher must do is walk into the recording room, press the record button on the camera and “teach”. Once completed, the teacher presses the button on the camera to stop recording. We then have a member of the eLearning team trim the recording to show only the tutorial, and to rotate the recorded image 180 degrees using video editing software. This is an easy process. We use Camtasia, but it is possible using other software. We then post it into the appropriate course in our Online Learning Environment. Of course, teachers with some technical knowledge may choose to do the editing themselves.

5. Lower cost alternatives—It is also possible to build a less expensive LightBoard. Sites such as this from Estrella Mountain Community College provide details.

A later version of the recording room. Extra blackout fabric has been added to reduce reflections and control lighting. You may not need this.

An Effective, Efficient, Personal and Easy-to -Use Outcome

While the process of building the LightBoard and setting up the recording area has taken a couple of months and has cost a few thousand dollars, it has been worthwhile. It has taken our online tutorials to another level that is more appealing to students. Anywhere, anytime learning and revision is now even easier, and our online learning environment is more “human” than it has been in the “disembodied past”.