Teaching and technology – how we can improve the way students learn using video

Back when I was at school (which is more years ago than I care to mention), watching a video in the classroom was a special treat – something that generally only happened on Friday afternoons (my favourite was the history teacher who used to show us Blackadder videos – although he may be the reason I got a D in my history A-level…). It’s probably because of things like that that some teachers see using video as cheating – a way to avoid actually having to teach a class. But they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, video can be a powerful tool in the classroom. Especially nowadays when you can find footage of just about anything on the worldwide web. Here are some of the reasons why teachers should be embracing video rather than shying away from it.

The science

Videos are a great way to help students remember complicated facts and figures. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll probably already know the stat – our brains process video 60,000 times faster than text. (Have a look at my previous post on the power of video to find out more about this.) Video can provoke emotional responses in people much more effectively than text, which will help them remember it – think about how much more emotive it is to watch Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech than reading a transcript of it. There’s also the fact that students can watch videos of lectures as many times as they need to grasp a complicated idea or concept. Finally, giving students a visual ‘experience’ rather than a load of text can help motivate them – something that’s strongly linked to successful learning.

Someone’s probably done it better already

With no offence meant to any teachers who might be reading, it does seem a little bit pointless to be lecturing people about something if someone else has already done it better. After all, if you’re teaching an acting class and Sir Ian McKellen has posted a Shakespearean masterclass online, you’d be doing your students a disservice by not showing it to them. If you haven’t already, check out the TED talks – short (18 minutes or less) powerful talks from experts on just about anything.

Do it yourself

If you work for a school or university, you might already be recording lectures or lessons and posting them online. If you’re not, or if you’d like to improve the way you do things, you might want to have a look at Imagen. You could use it to build a branded website to host all your lectures. You can even give your students the opportunity to download clips or add comments.   Try Imagen today to see how it could work for you.  

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