Effective Uses of Video in the Classroom

Social media has allowed anyone to become a video producer. The result is an explosion of high-quality teaching videos. Thirty years ago a teacher might show a PBS video in class every once in a while, mostly just as a break from the usual routine. But today there are thousands of videos from which to choose.

Some teachers are resistant to showing videos in their classrooms because they think of them as cheating. Teachers get paid to use up class time, and filling it with something made by someone else seems like shirking their duties.

But this is wrong. A teacher’s value is not in the information stored in their head, but rather their ability to pull together the best learning resources to produce a desired outcome. The modern teacher is (or should be) more an aggregator than a producer. Why are thousands of teachers all reinventing the wheel by creating individual lectures on the exact same topic when someone else has already produced an excellent video on it?

Think of videos as a way to bring the best learning resources to your students. One of my favorite resources is TED talks, which are wonderful 20 minute segments by famous thinkers on a variety of topics. My motto now is “If someone can say it better than you—let them.”

Below are some excellent videos on learning itself which are well worth a view. They opened my mind on what teaching really is, and what is possible.

I have also included some repositories of free lesson and video material. I hope that these will provide you with some good material and ideas for use in your classes.

But first, for your holiday enjoyment, another example of the power of social media.

Eric Whitacre is a composer who wrote “Sleep” in 2000. A young girl sent him a video of her singing it, which gave him an idea: Why not invite anyone to send in videos of themselves singing different parts of the song—Bass, Soprano, etc,—which he would then combine into a “Virtual Choir.” The video isn’t about teaching with technology, but it’s nothing short of way-cool. Take a look at the finished piece »

As usual, I welcome your comments, criticisms, and cries of outrage in the comments section of the blog.

Videos on Teaching
Jeff Javis—This is Bull….
A discussion of how traditional education is built on a model of the transfer of knowledge from instructor to student, but that more and more people are reversing the flow by making education a collaborative experience.

Dan Meyer—Curriculum Makeover
An interesting presentation that explores the intersection of instruction, multimedia, and inquiry-based learning, and how the way we teach students isn’t preparing them for problem solving in the real world. While presented by a high school math teacher, the concept applies to most any subject in college as well.

Links to Video and Lesson Material Repositories
Open Courseware Consortium, Open Learning Initiative, OER Commons, OpenLearn, Academic Earth, Video Lectures, Einztein, Apple iUniversity, Scitable, World Public Library, Video Lectures, and Lecture Fox.

John Orlando, PhD, is the program director for the online Master of Science in Business Continuity Management and Master of Science in Information Assurance programs at Norwich University. John develops faculty training in online education and is available for consulting at jorlando@norwich.edu.