About seven years ago, I started videotaping my teacher assistants in their field placements. The idea was pretty simple: let novice teachers watch themselves and learn. Carrying out the idea was not as easy, however. Initially, I purchased 2 tape-driven camcorders (Mini DV), a PC with a big harddrive, and some video editing software. I would videotape the student in the field, use the software to capture the video (a process that happened in real-time, consuming as much time as the tape was long), and burn the video to DVD, which added about 2-3 hours per DVD.

I couldn’t upload and stream the video–Youtube (founded 2005) still had the 100MB limit, long since lifted. Other streaming services were similarly limited, either by time (10 minutes) or by size. So, I resorted to the DVD. Making enough copies took hours.

Finally, a couple of years later, I started streaming via Viddler, which had a 500 MB size limit. Occasionally, I did have to split large files into two, but this worked pretty well. I was still using my PC, though by now I had upgraded to Adobe Premier Pro to edit and burn the videos. I also added a hard-drive camcorder that recorded in high def.

The size of the files was still an issue, and so I used Viddler and the now defunct Google Video to host large files. Protecting the privacy of the teachers was always a priority, so I had to use all kinds of tweaks to make sure that only my students could see the videos.

Finally, in 2012, things are where they should be. I use the same hard-drive camcorder (waiting for a wireless one) to record the video. Then, I use iMovie (on my newish Macbook Pro) to import the footage, which takes roughly 30 minutes. I export the movie to MP4, which usually takes under 1 hour, a huge improvement over the hours and hours of DVD production.

What’s the greatest about all of this technology evolution, though, is that YouTube has lifted its 100MB, 10-minute restrictions AND allowed for completely unlisted videos that can still be shared very easily. I upload the video to Youtube, which converts the file to Flash in under an hour.

So, that is progress, and a pretty good example of the way things change with digital technology.