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Classroom Videos: Making them Relevant Learning Tools

James is a Primary Teacher working through Protocol Education Nottingham.

The magic words, “We are going to watch a video” always seem to put a smile on student faces. The superficial reason for this is simply that the children are glad that for a short period of time they get to have a ‘break’ from traditional methods of learning (and writing). Plus, children love watching TV - plain and simple. What makes me chuckle, though, is that some teachers are apprehensive to show videos in class, even if that video is relevant and a benefit to learning.

A teacher who shows videos in class can sometimes be labelled as lazy or lacking in ideas. The recent Hollywood movie ‘Bad Teacher’ portrays Cameron Diaz as a lazy, child-hating teacher who plays videos all day and picks up her pay at the end of the month. Away from this comedic stereotype however, the occasional video can be a great tool for learning. When a relevant video catches a child’s attention they are able to simply relax in their chair and let the information ‘sink in’. A video can put a story to a topic in a way that a book cannot.

I recently showed a selection of BBC clips that illustrated the how Viking boats were built, how they made their way to Britain and how they dressed, cooked and fought. I was astounded by the information that the students could recall, giving detail far beyond what I could have described without such clips. There are seemingly endless videos on the internet, covering thousands of topics - from the Ancient Egyptians to Victorian England - they are all there if you are willing to spend some time looking for them.

I am not encouraging teachers to play clips every day - just when it would clearly improve learning. My advice would be to simply review the content by yourself beforehand and make sure the video is not too long, in order to maintain interest. Always have a back-up plan too, just in case your sound/picture/screen is not cooperating (which it often tends to do when you need it most!)

Enjoy watching and enjoy learning!

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Tags: ProtoBlog, James, Video, Technology,Clips, Traditional Learning, Supply Teacher, Teach in Nottingham, Primary Teacher, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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