Posted by: Kathy Cassidy | March 22, 2011

Making Video, But No Faces Allowed

I posted a few weeks ago about the action research project I am doing in my classroom involving video.  To briefly recap, I want the students to be able (without too much teacher support) to capture their learning using video and post it on their blogs.  Simple enough in principle, but a bit more complicated when the students are six.  (I’ll talk more about that in another post.)

There is an added challenge to this process.  The policy I have for my online work is that only students’  first names are used, and that we do not match an image of that student to their name.  This means that no images of a student can be posted on their personal blog–only on mine.  One of the things I have been grappling with is how to best post video of the children’s learning without showing their faces.

We have so far come up with three different ways (be forewarned that students did the filming on these videos):

1.  Video of  the students, but not their faces, as in this puppet show video we made.

2.  Video of an artifact (in this case a poster) that the child has made with the child explaining the artifact.

3. Video of the child explaining their learning using a Common Craft type of video.

Interestingly, when we made this last video, I saw by their videos that there were several children who clearly did not yet understand the concept of needs and wants (what the video was to have explained).  I took these children aside.  Instead of re-teaching, I showed them a few of the videos that their friends had created.  The lights came on!  The words of their peers helped them understand more clearly than all of the activities we had previously done.  Each of them was then able to successfully create a new video to show that they clearly understood the concept.

I love the way these videos allowed us to capture a moment in the children’s learning.  I’m still on the lookout for more ways that we can use video without revealing the child’s identity.  Ideas anyone?



  1. Hi Kathy,
    We used funky glasses to mask the student’s faces when we made a powerpoint for internet safety a few years back.

    • Great idea. I’ll have to see what I can find.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed using finger puppets for short videos / skits, for some of the same reasons you describe here– I don’t want parents upset or concerned about safety / privacy issues, and using finger puppets makes everything comfortably anonymous. I wrote a post about some of our lessons learned.

    One of the big ones is using yarn or tape to mark off the “stage” which is recorded by students. Using an external mic is really important too, that lets students voices be heard well. I’ve found students working in groups of 2 or 3 is good, more than that under the table / behind the stage gets too busy. I’ve been doing this with 10 and 11 year olds, however, so I’m not sure how it will go with 6 and 7 year olds!

    Thanks (as always) for sharing your ideas and creativity. You’re a great inspiration to me, Kathy! 🙂

  3. I appreciate your ideas, Wes. The idea of puppets as the “talkers” is somthing I intend to explore. I appreciate the link to your article. You’ve clearly laid out what you have done and I’ll certainly be using it as a reference.

  4. Hi,

    My name is Rachel Saucier and I am from Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I sadly do not have any ideas for you, but absolutely loved yours! I think that by keeping the children’s face out of the video allows for more focus to be aimed at the work they are doing. As a young child I enjoyed being on video, I think this is a great way to motivate the children and make there lessons enjoyable. I think this is a great tool for the classroom and hope to someday be able to use it myself!

  5. Hi I am a student at U.S.A. in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Class. I think that is great idea having a play without the students’ faces. The students would focus on their work not the camera. The play would be like it was a live. It is a great experience for them. I think everyone needs to try new things like the play.

  6. Hi Ms. Cassidy. My name is Kelsey Robinson and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am commenting on your blog as part of an assignment for Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. I will be commenting on your blog next week as well!

    I enjoyed your videos and the creativity of your students! They seem to enjoy being able to use their technology to document their learning and show their comprehension of your assignments. I couldn’t help but smile when I read about the children not understanding but being able to better comprehend after viewing their fellow students videos. This is a fine example of how beneficial technology can be in the classroom. Making videos allows the children to help teach other children and that encourages them to be better learners so that they can be better teachers. Awesome! I loved this post and I look forward to your next.

    I welcome you to visit my blog and leave a comment if you would like. Thank you for your input in my learning experience!

    Kelsey Robinson

  7. Mrs. Cassidy,

    My name is Michael Armstrong, and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.

    I feel it is very important to protect the children’s images. I think making videos without their faces is a great project for students because like some of my classmates above noted it will keep them focused on the project as opposed to the camera. I thought a good idea for one of these video’s would be to have the students draw a series of pictures and have them narrate their own cartoon. I know when I was their age I enjoyed drawing cartoons and would have loved to make them come to life.

    I will be commenting on another of your posts in the next couple of weeks and posting a summary on my blog. You can also contact me on Twitter @mda326.

    Thank you for the ideas,

    Michael Armstrong

    • Thanks, Michael. Cartoons is one of the things on my list to try with my students yet this year. I appreciate your input that it was meaningful to you. None of the students have shown an interest in cartooning this year, but I do want to provide it as an option.

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