As a kid who attended elementary school in the 90s, I remember hearing the squeaky wheels of the video cart coming down the hall towards my classroom and feeling the excitement bubbling up inside of me. After all, what child didn’t love when it was time to watch some sort of movie in class. I particularly loved the Schoolhouse Rock! Series – to this day, I still remember The Preamble because of the video.

Using video for learning in the classroom is nothing new, but with the growth of digital technology in recent years, the range of opportunities is now greater than ever before. These days, video resources are readily available online, and teachers can make use of them in a much more integrated way. And while such resources can enhance the learning experience, there are, however, risks in the use of video.

videos for learning in the classroom

Students need to be active learners, so watching should never simply be passive. Video is not a substitute for effective pedagogy, and getting the most out of video resources requires balance and integration with other teaching methods. Furthermore, it can be hard to find the best materials from the huge range of content available online.

So, how should video be used in the classroom? Keep reading below for 12 ways to integrate video in the learning process in the right way to improve the student experience.

1. Use Video for Learning in the Classroom to Introduce New Topics

A video presentation can be a great way to introduce a new topic. Video clips can offer an easy synoptic view of a subject that will immediately engage young learners, not least because video is already likely to be one of their primary modes of discovery. Video here is not a substitute for teacher interaction, but a well-targeted clip can trigger the students’ imaginations in a very effective way.

2. Use Video as Pre-Lesson Preparation

In a scenario known as the “flipped classroom”, students may engage with video material at home before working through the issues in class. With the traditional homework model, new material is presented in class and then consolidated at home with exercises or tasks. In the flipped classroom model, the initial presentation takes place at home prior to class, and learners can then engage with it in the supportive environment of the classroom. This benefits the students by allowing reinforcement of learning in a collaborative context and repeated viewing of initial clips if deemed necessary.

3. Use Videos for Learning in the Classroom to Add Variety

Research has indicated that learning is improved by a variety of learning methods. In particular, the two main channels of memory acquisition – auditory and visual – can be harnessed to improve what is known as cognitive load. This means that when video and talking methods are combined, students can take on more material than one or the other in isolation. Video clips can therefore be used to complement more traditional teaching methods in order to reinforce students’ learning.

4. Use Videos for Learning in the Classroom to Expand Experiences

As all teachers know, too much theory can get a bit dry. Any learner will benefit from an expanded range of demonstrations and insights that are better shown than told. This is especially the case with very young learners whose concentration and linguistic comprehension skills may be less advanced than their visual ability. Video clips can give insights into descriptive realms where words alone are not rich enough, such as simulations of outer space, atomic-level interactions, inner-body processes, or just animals or places that are not routinely encountered.

5. Videos Allow for Different Rates of Learning

The use of personal computers or tablets in class is increasingly common, and here video clips can offer an individualized learning experience while still maintaining the benefits of teacher support. With the use of individual screens and headphones, learners can watch videos as many times as they wish or stop to pause, reflect, and interact as required.

6. Use Videos for Remote Learning

The individual adaptability of video material is also very useful for diverse attendance situations. For various reasons, some students may not attend class as consistently as others; video resources can therefore be used to provide a cohesive experience across the class, even when some of the learners are situated remotely.

7. Videos for Learning Can Encourage Responsive Learning

One of the risks of video learning is that students become overly passive, which is detrimental to memory storage. However, correctly managed video has just the reverse effect and interactive learning with clips can be a highly effective teaching tool. A useful group activity is to watch a clip or series of clips as triggers to prompt discussion. Depending on the age and learning level of the students, this may be open-ended and critical or highly structured. In these situations, it is always useful to begin by framing the clip with a purpose to let learners know what they are looking out for.

8. Gamification Aids Engagement

Many internet users are now familiar with the gamification of learning with platforms such as Duolingo or the Khan Academy. Indeed, these platforms may be incorporated into a teaching plan. Similar techniques can also be applied with in-class materials, where students’ development through the class material is presented as a series of tasks and rewards. Interactive video is highly effective for this as the visual immediacy can make the process very clear, especially since most young learners will have some (or a lot!) experience with video games.

9. Videos for Learning Can Teach Social Skills

Learning is not just about facts. Children’s education also needs to develop in terms of social skills and awareness. Video can be a great way of presenting these kinds of topics. For example, questions around friendship, bullying, or social pressures can occur at any age. Video clips can really help children develop understanding by narrativizing the issues.

10. Videos for Learning Help Develop Cultural Awareness

Similarly, children’s cultural awareness can be developed with often quite subtle rather than demonstrative cues in video resources. This can be particularly useful for helping to educate children in cultural or ethnic differences, particularly if the class itself is somewhat homogenous.

11. Student-Created Video Content

These days, video creation technology is almost as prevalent as the content itself, and it may be beneficial for children to create their own clips. This can serve two purposes: firstly, as part of an active learning process, as the presentation of any given topic demands thought and therefore consolidates learning; and secondly, of course, developing a facility with digital toolkits is in itself a valuable skill.

12. Videos for Learning Create an Opening to Future Possibilities

While video clips currently have a high level of availability as learning resources, it is worth considering the future possibilities of virtual reality and augmented reality systems. These systems will likely soon be widely used in classrooms and will offer even more opportunities for interactive and expansive learning.

(From the editor: This article was originally published on ViewSonic Library.)