Video for the Classroom

Funny cat videos, people falling, and music videos.

Distractions: that’s what many school boards and teachers think of when they think of YouTube and videos in class, but that’s not always the case. Video can be a powerful tool in education.

First of all students on average remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read versus 80% of what they hear and see (Jerome Bruner Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication). Video stimulates multiple senses causing students to be more engaged than ever in their studies!

Video also allows teachers and students to learn from other teachers. Because every teacher has their own style of teaching and way they explain a subject, it can sometimes be helpful to have an outside voice explain subjects in a new way.

One issue with using video for education is that there are millions of videos out there and it can be hard to find reliable informative ones. YouTube realized this problem and has created a solution: YouTube EDU. YouTube  EDU brings you over 450,000 educational videos that can easily be sorted by age group. It also takes away the possibility of distracting or inapproiate comments or related videos by hiding them completely. It is used by universities such as CAL and Harvard as well as high schools and elementary schools.

One channel that YouTube EDU features is TED-Ed. TED-Ed pairs teachers with animators to create short educational videos. These videos are on a range of subjects such as ¨Climate Change: Earth´s giant game of Tetris¨ and ¨Why is ketchup so hard to pour?¨ TED does have over 1,600 educational talks and videos,  but unlike traditional TED talks TED-Ed videos are only 3-8 minutes long, perfect for the classroom setting.  There are over 800 TED-Ed videos and more being created every month.

There are other sites besides YouTube Ed that focus on educational online video. One such site is called WatchKnowLearn. WatchKnowLearn is similar to a Wikipedia for videos. It is edited by teachers and videos are uploaded by teachers. Since its founding in 2008 it has collected over 30,000 videos that are sorted by category.

Khan Academy is another site that focuses on educational videos. Started by Salman Khan in 2006, Khan Academy has grown from a YouTube channel with a few math tutorial videos to its own site with hundreds of videos on subjects such as Economics, Science, and even Art History. All the videos are sorted into broad categories and then more specialized categories. The math is even sorted by grade level. To increase viewer engagement and interaction, Khan Academy has questions and quizzes for you to answer along the way. This site also gives you statistics on what type of videos you have watched and your level of engagement in them.

Video should not be a taboo for the classroom. It is a powerful education tool that teachers should and can take advantage of with the help from a few educational sites. 

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