George Lucas Educational Foundation

Using video in the classroom

Using video in the classroom

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Just curious, how many of you use video for educational purposes in the classroom? How? Not just as a time-killer, turn out the lights and sleep, but really integrated with your lessons? And if you do, what are your favorite sources for video? I know YouTube is blocked in many schools...

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Carlos Raul Lopez Reatiga's picture
Carlos Raul Lopez Reatiga
A teacher of English at a public language center (CEIUAS-Culiacan)

Hello everyone,
I like using video in the language classroom.
I like designing my own video clips for the lessons to use in our courses - three months long (trimesters).
But what I like the most is asking my students to produce their own videos using the software they want. The software and/or websites they use are: Movie Maker, Photostory 3, Animoto, One True Media, and others. The videos must be focused on the pedagogical objectives of the trimester.

Rachid Eladlouni's picture
Rachid Eladlouni
Instructional Technology Coordinator

Yes. It's great as a teaching and learning tool, but you have to be clear on the exact goal and objectives you're trying to achieve by integrating video into your lesson. Here are a few tips:

1- Video as a hook or warm-up: Just to get students interested and motivated about the content of your lesson. This can be anything...even a cartoon. As long as it is thematically connected to your lesson and you know your students will enjoy watching it. (keep this very short: under 5 minutes)

2- Video for research purposes: Provide students with links to let's say 5 videos and have them research a specific topic in preparation for new content.

3- Video for content: as part of the presentation to reinforce what you're teaching. Again keep it short and make sure you have students take notes or answer 1 or 2 questions while watching. Needless to say, the video content and content/language complexity must be relevant to audience.

4- Video as follow-up: Basically to reinforce what students have just learned and maybe connect with the next lesson.

As for finding a good source for videos, it's hard to say because it depends on the grade level you're teaching. If your school blocks Youtube, you still have other options. What I usually do is Google keywords+video...for example "pollination video"

Hope you find these helpful.

Cindy Palm's picture
Cindy Palm
Eighth grade geography teacher from Pine Island, MN

Thanks Rachid and Carlos! I teach 8th grade geography and while I plan on using them to help teach my content (Rachid - great teaching reminders), I am really looking for ideas on how to incorporate for students to use in the classroom. I found this one: This blog posting is basically about how to use it with students and gives three different video sources.
I also linked through and found this one that is a fairly specific lesson plan on current events: This one uses animoto and wordle. This would be a great way to excite students about current events with the use of technology!

Don Camp's picture
Don Camp
9th grade ELA teacher from Washington.

I use video regularly in English. We can use YouTube in our school, so I use grammar videos to reinforce what we are studying. But most helpful are the spoken poems. Students love slam poetry and it is a good introduction to more literary poetry. The students also make videos of poems they particularly like.

I also use film as a literary genre. (Cry the Beloved Country, Les Miserables, et al. )We watch the entire film. I ask the students to interact om themes, character, and film devices each period as we progress through the film. We transition to writing projects as we complete a film. We also watch a film that comes from a book (O Pioneers) and compare the way the film and book deal with characters and themes.

I don't use videos as fillers.

cary nadzak's picture
cary nadzak

i find lots of 2 or 3 minute videos on my content on youtube - i download at home, convert to wmv then plop right into power pts - there are tons and tons of clips that are great anticipation activities! go to youtube and search for "happy as a clam" - hilarious german dj does lots of short clips on idioms!!

Mr. Watts's picture
Mr. Watts
Career Pathways/ Basic Technology

Carlos, I have been teaching for 12 years but last year was my first for Career Pathways/Basic Technology semester class. I have 6th graders, a few 7th and 8th graders. In the class I review, and the students use Photostory 3, Powerpoint , Microsoft publisher, and Animoto. All the projects have something to do with a career path for them. Then they use the software we recently reviewed to build their project. You tube is blocked and most other social sites. I focus how to use the software. The most difficult problem is students want to use texting as a way to communicate in their videos. Their grade is no deterrent in stopping this. Do you have any sugestions for other video software?

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Some great suggestions about using video here. I've been using video in my lessons for as long as I've had a projector and some speakers hooked up - and that's been a while! Mostly, I have two main purposes for video:
1) As a kind of multi-sensory start up activity. Teaching history can be a bit dry, but there is plenty of content out there related to the topics we study, so it is often a great way of starting off a lesson.
2) Making your own videos. This is where the fun really starts. Kids, in my experience, love the opportunity to get in front of a camera and show what they've learnt. I find it a valuable experience to teach kids how to use the software correctly here - and how to think like film-makers. Otherwise, the results can be pretty painful.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Oh, and one more thing. Regarding making videos in class: I've always found getting kids to storyboard to be really hard work - but then I tried using xtranormal and also celtx - a lot more fun!

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