Sunday, October 31, 2010

Using Video to Teach Entrepreneurial Thinking

The 28th Annual Entrepreneurship Education Forum from November 12 – 16 in Columbus, Ohio, is a great opportunity for educators to learn how to teach entrepreneurship to high school students. As one of 25 Roundtable Presenters, I will be discussing how filmed interviews can reveal entrepreneurial thinking.

In two years of supporting my school’s interest in entrepreneurial education, I have found that most entrepreneurs attribute their success to thinking differently. They can imagine, develop and execute plans for products and services that meet the needs of target markets. How do they do this? What guides their decisions? What do they think?

As educators, we can teach students to explore entrepreneurial thinking by having them conduct filmed interviews with accessible entrepreneurs. This process from concept to completion engages students in learning fundamental skills of interviewing, filming, video-editing, and above all – entrepreneurial thinking.

For interview preparation, I have my students brainstorm a number of questions that will enable their entrepreneurs to tell their stories from initial idea to current sales. Using a basic who, what, when, where, why and how framework can produce reasonable results. However, the best interviews feel like meaningful conversations. I spend much of my time teaching students how to listen carefully and then base their questioning on what the entrepreneurs share. Probing questions, in my experience, often produce the greatest insight into entrepreneurial thinking. In addition to probes, types of questions my students formulate are closed-ended, open-ended, hypothetical, agree-disagree and personal.

For filming entrepreneur interviews, I recommend the Aiptek Action HD GVS High Definition Camcorder. This low-price camera records high-resolution video directly to flash memory, and you can then import your video into just about any video-editing software. Having an 8GB memory card is useful since the internal device memory is only good for about five minutes. One downside to this camera is the internal mic is actually behind the lens, so you may want to have the small camera placed between the student and the entrepreneur. The camera comes with a mini tripod that can work well on top of a central coffee table. However, this particular Aiptek model includes an external microphone outlet. If your budget allows the expense, you may want to use a lavalier mic and wireless receiver. I use a model similar to the Sony UWP-V1. Two cameras can be used simultaneously if you want a back and forth Q & A video. Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro is the software I use with my students. However, some of my students have used the free Microsoft Windows Movie Maker with an IEEE 1394 card (needed to transfer your interview from your camcorder to your computer, this is known as “capturing” your video).

When students edit their videos, they will likely review all of their clips several times. In my view, the interviewing unlocks entrepreneurial thinking that video-editing then crafts into memory. Furthermore, completed videos can then be posted online or shared in the classroom via DVD. I'm very pleased with the entrepreneurial learning I've witnessed in my students. Helping them produce filmed interviews of entrepreneurs has definitely increased my own understanding of entrepreneurial thinking. And I'm just the coach. :)

I sincerely hope this post and these recommendations are helpful. By all means, please be sure to explore all your needs and options before investing in text and technology. Personally, I like to start small and see what works before making large investments. So far, what I’ve described here has worked well for my students.

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