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news & tips

A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Using Video in The Classroom

The old video tape collection has been changed to DVD and now online streaming but the real richness of the media is not in the format. It is in the content and learning how to effectively use that content regardless of the format is part of the tool kit that every good teacher needs to carry.

If you are getting started with using video media more effectively your first stop should be the PBS site. Here you can watch or stream any one of hundreds of educational programs. These are rich, engaging and well produced learning segments. I use clips and pieces that fit with content or student questions. Just today I sent a link to a segment on time travel from Nova and one on radioactive wolves from Nature. These links were sent in response to e-mail questions I had from my online students.

Face to face I often start a class with a segment and ask my students to do a quick write in their science notebooks. I show a short clip, then give the students writing prompt. Then I may show a bit longer piece at the end of the class and ask the students to add more to their quick write. We were working last year on thermo chemistry. I showed a short clip from “This Old House” on how they are using new materials to make an old heating system much more energy efficient. The quick write set the tone and the clip provided context that allowed the conversations to go deeper into content. My favorite recent application was on history. The students are asked if knowing the history of the periodic table makes it more valuable or powerful. The students were torn as to whether they needed to understand the history of the construction of the table in order to use the table. One of my students played three clips from Antiques Road show to provide evidence that knowing history increases the interest and value of an object. This was a great use of the medium and so easy to use now that the materials are online.

Other folks are posting great videos as well. The weather channel has some amazing videos that would help teach a unit on physics, climate or meteorology.

Teacher tube is the companion to the more popular you tube. I love you tube but it comes with some media or information or comments in the side panels that can be inappropriate for kids. There are ways to delete these but they do take time to remove. Teacher tube is free from those. Likewise, Annenberg has some excellent videos especially in math. They are listed with 25 other wonderful sites for teaching videos online.
 
The newcomer to the party is the Teaching Channel. This one has some amazing potential not for direct student learning but for teacher learning that improves practice. They have loaded up some amazing videos of specific techniques that work. They have assembled advisory boards in 4 different locations to help review and approve videos made in house and those submitted by wonderful teachers across the country. Each of the National Board Certified teachers has a video bank with some amazing learning. Putting that online to help us all when we need a specific technique to help our students will be powerful.
 

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