Many teachers avoid teaching strategies that include using online video in the classroom due to the hassle. Accessing the content can be difficult — a website may be blocked, streaming video may stutter and start buffering, and downloading a video file may not be any easier because the player available isn’t compatible with certain file types.

Believe me, when it comes to reaching students and enhancing their understanding of the material, video is essential and worth that hassle to obtain.

Using video as a Teaching Strategy

Video can bring a subject to students in a completely new way and help them comprehend the material they’re reading or working with.

Here’s an example from my own experience working with teachers on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. Most of their students had never left the area, had never seen or experienced the ocean. Some did not have television or even electricity at home, so they had little to no exposure to places outside this part of Arizona. They may never have seen movies or TV programs set near coastal waters. Imagine trying to explain the ocean, or what it’s like to live next to the ocean, to someone who has never seen it.

teaching strategies - using video to support learningThose teachers couldn’t take their students to the ocean, but they could at least show them video to enable those students to experience it virtually. Doing this better equipped the students to understand the intricacies of the storylines in books that take place around the ocean. Video gave them a connection to that environment and allowed them to more accurately visualize the story as it unfolded.

Okay, so video is a great enabler of learning. But it’s still a hassle to find, right? Actually, it’s not as difficult these days.

Rather than search for video to use in your classroom from Teachertube, Schooltube, Youtube, etc. Go to one source: Google Videos.

Google Videos searches all three of those sites as well as university sites,,,, and countless other sources.

You can use video in a number of ways. You can show a full movie or TV show, or just a clip from a movie. You could even just show a movie trailer. You can have students find video clips related to the topic being taught.

Movie clips can teach characterization, grammar, drawing inferences, figurative language, vocabulary, persuasion or point of view.

Ideas for Using Video in the Classroom
1. After watching a movie clip, have students work in pairs or small groups to create five questions about the movie for response from their peers. They must ensure that their questions reflect a sample of various levels of Blooms Taxonomy or Question Answer Response.
2. Students choose three to four videos on a piece of literature created by professional actors, other students, or educational sources and note the differences between the different video renditions. Which rendition did they prefer and why? Did students notice differences in perspective, bias or cultural attitudes?
3. After watching a video clip, have students brainstorm new vocabulary used in the clip and note the context and the meaning of the words based on the clip.
4. Students write a press release for a movie being released soon. It does not need to be an “official” movie.
5. For homework, have students find video clips related to the topic taught during the day’s lesson.

Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your InstructionFor more information about using technology to strengthen instruction, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Using iPads and Other Cutting Edge Technology to Strengthen Your Instruction.

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