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Technology in the Classroom: How to Use Videos

Janelle Cox

Videos used to be thought of as a “Time filler” for the teachers who didn’t want to teach or for the substitutes who didn’t have a lesson plan to follow. They were also thought of as mindless entertainment for students who literally thought they would die of boredom. However, with today’s technology in the classroom, mindsets have changed about playing videos. What was once dreaded by students or sometimes cheered for (if it was a good movie) has now become a world of endless possibilities for learning. Here’s how to make the most of technology in the classroom videos.

Use a Technology in the Classroom Video to Enhance Leaning

Classroom videos do not mean that you can sit back, relax, and check your phone while students watch. They are not a babysitter, they are a tool that can you can use to enhance student learning. A technology in the classroom video should be used as another tool to help students understand the main concept of what you are teaching them. Always watch the video first and jot down some notes or places where you want to pause to make sure that students are understanding the concept being shown. If students are watching an hour-long documentary, you can easily break it into sections so students won’t get bored and so you can discuss the key points. The key to making a video work in the classroom is to use it in conjunction with your lesson to enhance learning, and not as the only means of learning.

Transform Students’ Video-Watching

With today’s technology, you can literally transform the way your students watch videos. Do you remember when the teacher would roll in the television on a cart? You knew that it was time for a boring video. Well, things have changed in the tech world since then, and today’s classrooms can now literally transform the way videos were once watched. Students can use Skype to go on a virtual field trip to just about anywhere in the world instead of watching an old video. Or they can watch YouTube to gain information. There are many YouTube channels that offer a variety of different clips, documentaries, tips, or themed videos that will help enhance their learning. Then you have TED Talks, where students can learn just about anything from experts from around the world. Here are a few more tools that can help to transform video-watching in the classroom.

  • Use Edpuzzle to add your own voice and narration to create an interactive video lesson.
  • Try using Viewpure to watch YouTube videos in your classroom without the comments inappropriate ads, or other distractions.
  • Use Vialogues to help foster collaborative conversations about video clips watched in class.

Long gone are the boring old videos wheeled in on the cart. These new technologies will have students fully engaged in what they’re learning.

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Have Students Create their Own Videos

One of the most fun and creative ways to use videos in the classroom is to have your students create one themselves. Basic movie making is easy when you have an app like iMovie. This app is easy to use, and students can create an imaginative project in no time. Whether they want to create their own movie or a short trailer to a movie, this app allows them do so. It even has the capability to add sound effects and music as well as mix clips together. All students have to do is to brainstorm an idea, write a script and storyboard, then create a video for their peers to watch. It’s even more fun when you assign each group a role such as producer, director, actor, etc. This is a fun project idea where students we definitely be excited to participate.

Ensure You’re Using Videos for the Right Reason

There are effective and ineffective ways to use videos in your classroom. Most children are already spending too much time in front of the television or an electronic device at home, so it’s important to not have “Videos” be your first go-to in terms of enhancing student learning. Make sure that before you decide to show a video in class that you ask yourself, “What am I trying to achieve here?” and “How is this video going to help students achieve their learning goals?” An effective way to use a video is to have students watch a short clip, then get into small groups to discuss what they watched. An ineffective way to use a video in the classroom is to just use it as a time filler or for a reward. When you do this, they aren’t gaining anything academically. However, when you use multimedia wisely, students will benefit from it.

As a recap, it’s important to ensure that you’re using videos in the classroom for the right reasons (to enhance learning). Utilize all the means that multimedia has to offer, such as Skype, YouTube, and Ted Talks. This will ensure that your students will be engaged in what they are learning. Also, have students make their own videos for a fun and creative way to use this tech tool in the classroom.

Do you use videos in the classroom? What are you favorite ways to use them? Please share your technology in the classroom thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.