As technology continues to evolve, upcoming generations of students are continually dubbed as “Digital Natives.” This term refers to students who have grown up surrounded by technologies such as computers, video games, digital music players, video cameras, cell phones, and other various technological devices and innovations (Prensky, 2001 p.1).

However there is an underlying assumption in higher education that these students are all proficient in use of these technologies.

This is partly true.

Technology Users vs. Media Consumers

Traci Wilen-Daugenti labels these students as Generation V, a term that more accurately describes these so-called Digital Natives. Generation V, categorizes students as being; visual, students who’ve grown up with visual media as a source of expression and information. Virtual, a generation exposed to interactive media such as gaming simulators, and Versatile, able to navigate through a wide range of devices to consume and interact with media (2009 p. 68).

While Digital Native implies technology users, Generation V distinctly illustrates students as consumers of media who in some cases find adapting to using technology tools in education more difficult than consumption.

Taking a look at the majority of tools that Higher Educational Institutions tend to primarily use:

  • Learning Management Systems
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Forums
  • Online Assessments
  • Digital Syllabi
  • Interactive Apps
  • Podcasts
  • Video

Aside from the last three the majority of these tools still communicate strictly through text based content, even video which offers multiple forms of communication are commonly used to simply record lectures, which tend to communicate through text and audio. While this is still better than text alone, there are seven forms of communication, with words and numbers being the most commonly used. The other five are movement, sound, images, objects and spaces. (cited in Hurly, 2004).

The media that students consume for personal use tend to leverage these other forms of communication. As a result, a popular style of educational video has emerged over the last few years.

Scribe Videos

First made popular by a UPS commercial in 2007, online scribe videos have become the standard for quick delivery of content in educational media. Simply by going to the education channel on YouTube, one can see that many of the top hits are derivations of scribe videos.

Scribe, or Whiteboard videos are sequential images narrated along

with audio. However unlike a lecture that touches upon many points, Scribe videos are short and conversational, rather than academic. As a result these videos convey complex information in a much simpler way (Air, Oakland, & Walters p.18), but more importantly, in addition to written word, scribe videos incorporate the other forms of communication. It is the combination of these forms of communication that presents complex content in a way that anyone can understand.

This concept of combining forms of communication is not a new one. Richard Mayer’s Principles of Multimedia Design, shows that students learn better through a combination of sensory inputs and communication, rather that a singular instance (Mayer, 2001; see Table 1).

Scribe video consumption gives students the ability to get a basic understanding of a complex topic, and in many cases provide links to further explore these topics.

As a result of the popularity and simplicity in scribe video creation, many companies have developed simple scribe creation tools. This allows educators to create their own scribes within the context of their class and customize their content towards their students, and touch on the salient details important towards their class.

Yet perhaps most importantly scribe videos can increase student retention by 15%, which is paramount in classes where content seems to go over students’ heads.

Whether used to create, or consume, scribe videos are a powerful way to leverage the way students consume media.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 4.21.49 PM


Air, J., Oakland, E. & Walters, C. (2014). Video scribing: how whiteboard animation will get you heard [E-reader version]. Retrieved from:

First to Draw. (2015, March 31). Whiteboard animation used in education. Retrieved July 14, 2015 from:

Gronstedt, A. (2014, February). Using scribe videos to tell a compelling story: the popularity of whiteboard animation videos for learning is exploding. T+D, 68(2), 62+. Retrieved from


Hurly, Ryan. (2004). Cuts in arts programs leave sour notes in schools. Retrieved from:

Mayer, R.E. (2001). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon Vol. 9 (No.5). Retrieved from:, %20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Wilen-Daugenti, T. (2009). .edu: Technology and learning environments in higher education. New York: Peter Lang.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?