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Lights, Camera, eduAction! Designing Digital Media to Change the World

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Friday, December 4, 11:30 am–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Torrey Trust  
Learn how to create digital media that captivates learners, inspires action and motivates a change in thinking or behavior. Discover the research and instructional design techniques behind popular viral videos that will take your (and your students') multimedia design skills to a whole new level.

Audience: Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: PC, Mac
Tablet: iOS, Windows, Android
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees should have some movie editing tool on their device (e.g., iMovie, Adobe Premiere, FilmoraGo, Adobe Premiere Clip).
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

YouTube was one of the first social media tools to shift the ownership and design of media from corporations and organizations to anyone with a video recording device, giving everyone an opportunity to share their voice. What makes YouTube a unique and powerful tool is its participatory culture (Chau, 2010). Users can consume, create, remix and broadcast their own media through YouTube. With more than 400 hours of video being uploaded every minute, YouTube has become one of the most popular information sharing and learning tools in the world.

Yet, very few videos actually make a widespread impact, go viral, or influence thinking, actions, and behavior. The videos that do go viral are typically entertainment-based with little educational value. So, how do educators tap into the the participatory nature of YouTube to make their (and their students) digital media go viral and positively impact the world?

After conducting a year-long study of popular YouTube videos and channels, my honors thesis student and I identified common traits and essential factors of influential, popular educational videos. We developed a design and analysis framework for YouTube videos.

In this session, participants will actively engage in the design of influential videos about climate change as part of a new initiative to inspire educators to bring student-centered digital media design projects into their classrooms to raise awareness about climate change (T.E.A.M. eduACTION: Through hands-on, learner-centered activities, participants will discover how to apply the video design and analysis framework to the development of educational videos that captivate and inspire learners.

Evidence of success is the design and development of a 1-2 minute video that inspires action and/or changes thinking about a topic related to climate change (e.g., deforestation, reducing carbon footprint, impact of climate change on low-income and rural communities, making a positive change, spread of viruses, financial & economic impact).


Hook (15 mins)
How do you design videos that inspire a change in thinking/behavior? Attendees will watch a series of popular, influential YouTube videos and then brainstorm a list of common traits.

Mini-Lecture: Multimedia Design (25 mins)
Participants will learn about the various learning theories (e.g., ARCS model of motivational design) and principles (e.g., Made to Stick principles) as well as the Video Design and Analysis framework ( to learn about how to create influential educational videos.

Creative Design Activity (30 mins)
After a brief overview of script writing and storyboarding basics, participants will get into breakout rooms and collaboratively write a script (Google Docs) and design a storyboard (Google Slides/Drawings) for their 1-2 minute video about a climate change topic of interest.

Wrap Up
Breakout room groups will share their scripts/storyboards with all session attendees. Then, the will be invited to explore the T.E.A.M. eduACTION website and design tips as well as examples of climate change projects from the T.E.A.M. eduACTION Facebook group (

Supporting research

Allocca, K. (November 2011). Why videos go viral [Video file]. Retrieved from

Berger, J. (2011). Arousal Increases Social Transmission of Information. Psychological Science, 22(7), 891-893.

Berger, J. & Milkman, K. L. (2013). Emotion and Virality: What Makes Online Content Go Viral? Journal of Marketing Research, 3(1), 18-23.

Chau, C. (2010). YouTube as a participatory culture. New Directions for Student Leadership, 2010(128), 65-74.

Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2008). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House.

Keller, J.M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2-10.

Khan, G. F. & Vong, S. (2014). Virality over YouTube: An Empirical Analysis. Internet Research, 24(5), 629-647.

Khan, M. L. (2017). Social media engagement: What motivates user participation and consumption on YouTube? Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 236-247.

Mayer, R. E. (1997). Multimedia learning: Are we asking the right questions?. Educational Psychologist, 32(1), 1-19.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia Learning: Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Muller, D. A., Bewes, J., Sharma, M. D., & Reimann, P. (2008). Saying the wrong thing: Improving learning with multimedia by including misconceptions. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(2), 144-155.

Muller, D.A., Lee, K.J., & Sharma, M.D. (2008). Coherence or interest: Which is most important in online multimedia learning? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(2), 211-221.

Paas, F., Renkl, A., & Sweller, J. (2004). Cognitive load theory: Instructional implications of the interaction between information structures and cognitive architecture. Instructional Science, 32(1-2), 1-8.

Preece, J. (2010). The ‘WeTube in YouTube — Creating an Online Community through Video Sharing. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 6(3), 317-333.

Shifman, L. (2011). An anatomy of a YouTube meme. New Media & Society, 14(2), 187-203.

Wittrock, M. C. (1974). Learning as a generative activity. Educational Psychologist, 11, 87-95.

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Dr. Torrey Trust, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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