Some proven strategies for using video effectively in the classroom

I  reckon I should  start this post  by stating  that the essential ingredient you need so that video becomes an effective learning tool is preparation. Let me  just suggest some simple tools and strategies for both language and content learning:

 Before viewing:  

  •     Choose  carefully

 Try to  choose videos which contain relevant content for your subject  and  keep in mind it has to be engaging for your students.  Needless to say you should look for high-quality stuff from a reliable source.

  •      Brevity is the soul of wit

How long should it last? The average attention  span is really short in the case of teenagers  so if you can find a suitable video which is longer than 15 minutes, consider cropping and editing it. Vibby allows you to  edit your video and focus students' atention on the sections that matter.

  •       Set the proper scenario

This includes telling  students what the video is about, the purpose of watching it and eliciting previous knowledge on the topic. Depending on the complexity of the video and the language level of your students, you will need to pre-teach the key words and expressions from the video. 

 While viewing:

  •     Avoid students' TV mode     

Be  sure you ask your students what you want them to do while they watch the video.  In other words, do not let them think this is time for entertainment or daydreaming.  This generic video note-taking worksheet can be hepful. 

For CLIL teachers, the video response worksheets should be  specific-content related.   Let me show you  an  excellent example of  a  video lesson on cladograms by a teacher called Mariana Garcia:


These are the worksheets students had to fill in while and after watching the video above.  

As you can see, students were asked to  use mind maps to show understanding of the concepts in the video. (The use of mind maps is  a very effective strategy when checking  students' understanding. You can use  this strategy  while watching or after watching the video).  

  •      Pause often and use the watch-think-write strategy:
  1. Watch: students watch the section of the video you choose. Writing is forbidden at this stage.
  2. Think:  students discuss the section in pairs or small groups.  Still no writing  allowed. 
  3. Write: students  now write  the required information  in their guided notes, and  prepare new questions  they still have on the topic. 
If students are working at home and you want to monitor the learning process,  use Edpuzzle This is  a great formative assessment tool for teachers who want to  assign videos for homework, or want to encourage asynchronous communication, and unfortunately such is the case now. Edpuzzle will help teachers provide students with valuable information about the degree of achievement of specific learning outcomes that have been set beforehand. 

 After viewing:

  • Do not be in a hurry. Take the necessary time to reflect on what they have learnt, make  students retell the video or parts of it ,  prompt their critical skills by asking them to find videos on the same topic with a different viewpoint, have different groups create posters on it, etc. 

  • Allow students to spend some minutes on  self-assessment of their work. We are fostering formative assessment and  students' self reflection on their outcomes  is an essential part of it.  I hope this tool I have created will be useful for you. 

Some free sources for educational videos:

Last but not least, from these lines, I would like to congratulate Mariana Garcia on her superb work for scaffolding students' learning process while viewing . 

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