It’s evident that the classroom experience has been very different this year. Schools moved online and teachers had to find new ways to teach as they were no longer physically in the classroom with students. Some schools have continued with the remote teaching model, while others have moved back to in-person teaching or developed a hybrid of both forms.
In whatever form you’re teaching this school year, one way to supplement your learning is by using videos in the classroom. We’ve discussed the effectiveness of showing videos in the classroom in many past classroom articles (here’s one on teaching literary devices for example). But how does showing videos help the learning environment in the classroom if the class isn’t even in the classroom as all?
We see it in three ways:
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, showing videos in the classroom has been found to increase student engagement in the classroom. And now, with students learning in a less controlled environment filled with more distractions than before, engagement is more important than ever. Keeping a shy student in the back of the class involved can be the hardest job for a teacher. And now as the teacher looks at a screen of twenty to thirty faces, it can be even harder to tell who’s engaged or not. With both of these situations, the teacher has to find a way to keep that shy student involved. One way to keep them involved is by showing a video about the topic that the student can relate to. Showing a clip from a favorite movie or show can catch a student’s eye and help them find a better way to connect to the material. A popular current show or a timeless classic can be good sources for finding videos that can easily engage the audience. For example, this clip from Looney Tunes can be a fun and relevant introduction to the concept of Momentum. With hybrid schedules, videos can help even more. If a student misses class one day in a regular schedule, that student may be a little behind but can usually make it up. With a hybrid schedule, missing one day of class can seriously set a student back. By having materials that reinforce the lessons, such as videos that the students can access themselves, a student is less likely to fall behind. Even if a student didn’t miss class, a student may want to review a lesson or need a reminder on a concept that comes up in a video. Access to a video shown in class that was taught with that lesson can be a useful tool.
The change in the type of learning experience they’ll be receiving can be a lot for students. The added stress from still not being in the classroom, or recently returning to the classroom in only a part-time basis, can make it more difficult to focus on learning. So why not alleviate some of that stress? In the last paragraph, we mentioned how showing students videos from their favorite shows and movies can help keep them engaged in the classroom. In addition, showing a video from these shows will put a student at ease. If a student is overwhelmed by the amount of information they received, a video that reinforces that idea can be very helpful. And if its a program that the student has seen before or is familiar with, the student can focus their attention on how it relates to the concept taught in the lesson. While this method can be used for all students, it can be particularly helpful for online and hybrid students. When you’re teaching online, an individual student can be sent the link for the video once they’re done with their work and it’s been checked by you. This “self-paced learning” will allow for faster students to be able to move on without disrupting those who are still working as they can receive extra attention if needed.
As everyone is tucked away in their own rooms, it’s hard for the teacher to really connect to the students. And it’s even harder for the students to connect to each other. So what’s a better way for all the students to come together than in their shared love for a movie or tv show? Students can share how much they enjoy the movie before the clip is shown or discuss it afterward. The teacher can then link these discussions back to the material. Take, for example, showing a clip from the movie Lincoln. Before showing the clip, ask the students if any of them have seen the film and to give their opinion on it if they have. Then ask what they know about the subject, in this case being President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. After showing the clip, you can ask the students what they learned from the clip and how it connects to the material they learned in class. By blending in the material to a film, the student’s understanding of that material will be improved. While this example was for in-person, this format of discussion before and after showing a video can easily be carried over to online and hybrid teaching.
As we at Classhook always reinforce the idea of showing videos to assist in teaching in the classroom, we also realize that it can be extra helpful for those schools still teaching with unique formats this year. For students sitting at home and attending class virtually (full-time or hybrid), the use of videos to accompany the lesson can keep them engaged, alleviate their stress, and connect them better to the material. The methods outlined in this post showcase the many methods that can be used to better incorporate videos into these teaching formats, for the benefit of all teachers and their students.