Thursday, January 7, 2010

Overcoming the "Video Hurdle" of Applying for GTA

Miguel Guhlin published a post yesterday about his decision not to apply for the Google Teacher Academy. Miguel points to the application requirement of creating a "creative" video as a reason for not applying. I think Miguel's thoughts echo those that other people, including myself, have had about applying for GTA. Before I go any further I want to clarify that I respect Miguel's decision not to apply and this post is not meant as a criticism of his decision. This post is just to share my own thoughts about the GTA application's video requirement.

Prior to submitting my own application for the GTA in Washington, DC I had my own apprehension about creating and submitting a video. I don't consider myself to be a terribly creative person when it comes to multimedia presentations. I have the technical know-how to create multimedia presentations, but I don't think have the creativity for making dynamic videos such as those created by multimedia geniuses like Marco Torres. Yes, I've posted videos of myself on this blog before, but I tend to think that I'm too stiff on camera. None-the-less, on the last day that applications were accepted for GTA in DC, I plunged ahead and made a short video that included me talking on camera. I knew that I couldn't compete in a video making competition, but I was confident that my written content and overall body of work would offset a lack-luster video. It turns out that I was right.

Reflecting on the GTA application process, here is my advice for those who would like to apply but are apprehensive about application process.
1. The video is just one part of the application. The GTA application process is not a film production competition. If you're not great at video production, just remember that it's the message of the video that is more important than fancy animations and transitions. Make sure your video accurately portrays your thoughts. Watch my video and you'll see that I lacked fancy transitions, but I made sure the audience got my message.
2. The application is designed to get a sense of your overall body of work in the educational technology community. Focus on your strengths in the application. If you have a large following on your blog, on Twitter, or you work with 3,000 teachers a year, make sure that is clear.
3. Look at other application videos for ideas. You can see mine here, this is Kevin Jarrett's, and this one is Tara Seale's. You'll see three different approaches in these videos, but all three of us were accepted to GTA.