Video Self Modeling Made Easy

          In the past, video self modeling involved several complex technical steps. Teachers required resources such as videocameras and needed to possess the skills to edit video. These days, with cameras built into laptop cameras, the technology to film basic videos is more easily accessed and commonly available. It is free and easy to download and install desktop video editing software that allows for simple and quick rough editing. Macintosh computers come pre-installed with iMovie software. On Windows-based computers, free programs such as Microsoft Movie Maker can be downloaded. With some basic training and practice, teachers can learn how to use the software to edit videos. These basic editing skills no longer require a ‘technology expert’ or highly skilled technician and with some practice can be created in about 30 minutes.

            In addition to the videocameras that are built into many laptops, self model videos can be filmed with other devices.  USB cameras, such as the Flip and the Sony Webbie, cost less than $200 and can capture the necessary action for a VSM project. The videocamera built into mobile devices such as smart phones (e.g. iPhone) or tablets (e.g. iPad) can also be used. The choice of the kind of videocamera to use can be made by the teacher for a particular purpose.  For a reading fluency video, a laptop’s camera is easy to use. For videos of a child practicing desired behavior, the USB or phone-based cameras are small and portable to use in the natural settings where the action takes place.  The steps described in this article can be accomplished with any video device.

            In this article, we describe how a laptop or desktop computer’s built in camera can be used to film video and how simple editing software on the computer can be used to create short self model videos. Before we describe the technical steps, we provide an overview about video self modeling and the ways it has been used for academic and behavioral skill-building.

An Overview of Video Self Modeling

            In this section, we describe various types of video-based interventions that use video-based modeling techniques. We define a few terms related to video self modeling, such as video modeling and feedforward. We also provide examples of academic and behavioral interventions that have successfully used these techniques.

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