Video can be a powerful tool for meaningful learning. The key to using video effectively is preparation. Maximize learning opportunities by encouraging students to become active viewers.

Before ViewingHands picking pear

  • Preview the video. Determine whether you will use the entire video or only relevant segments to illustrate objectives in your curriculum. Remember: There is no rule that requires you to use an entire program–even a few seconds of video can spark discussion.
  • Prepare the classroom environment and video equipment. Choose lighting to enhance the learning experience. Low light increases the dramatic effect while brighter light may be helpful in eliminating distractions. Position yourself to maximize your “facilitator” role.
  • Stimulate students’ pre-existing knowledge. Have students write down what they are sure they know about the subject and what they think they know. After viewing the video, have students revise their lists based on what they have learned. Divide students into small groups. Have each group summarize what they know about the subject and identify questions they may have. After viewing the video have the groups answer questions, discuss new information, and formulate new questions.

Bell peppersDuring Viewing

  • Give students a focused viewing assignment. Focused viewing questions can make viewing more meaningful by encouraging active viewing and evaluation of content. Give students a task, something they are responsible for remembering or writing down, such as interesting facts or personal responses.
  • Show one short segment or story at a time and direct the learning experience. Focus clearly on a defined theme or topic. A short segment can be shown at the beginning, middle, or end of an activity. Analyze and discuss each segment thoroughly.
  • Encourage student awareness of production values and techniques. Have students watch for elements of the production, such as camera angles, shot choices, and music. What effects do these techniques have on the viewing experience?
  • Press “Pause” often. Take time to identify and clarify what the students are watching. Stop to consider answers whenever a question is asked. Clarify new vocabulary as it is used.

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