Using Video in Teaching and Learning
Audiovisual material provides a rich medium for teaching and learning. Video can effectively communicate complex information to a student and, if used creatively, can become a powerful expressive tool. This short paper looks at some potential benefits and challenges associated with using video materials in teaching and learning.
There are an endless number of ways to exploit video in order to create motivating, memorable and inclusive learning experiences. However, watching a video can also be a passive experience and so teaching methods must be used which instead turn it into a springboard for student action and interaction.
Before deciding to use video for teaching purposes, it is vital to watch all the material to be shown to students beforehand, just in case there is any unnecessary or unsuitable content. It may also be helpful to look through lesson plans from other institutions for ideas on how video has been used effectively to illustrate specific topics. If a video has been chosen to demonstrate a specific topic, does it do so succinctly and effectively?
Video and lesson structuring
A lesson plan that involves video material might be thought of in terms of three distinct phases:
Before viewing it is important to prepare students for what they are about to see and to introduce the broad topic. Any parts of the video that you believe will challenge students can be outlined at this time. Pre-viewing exercises such as brainstorms may help to focus attention.
Continuous interruptions during viewing risk breaking concentration and should be avoided. However, students can be given simple tasks to carry out while watching a video which will help them to engage with the video's content. A balance has to be found which doesn't ask too much of students, but does help to keep them active. Predefined pause points may also act to engage students by eliciting opinions during the viewing process.
Many different types of activity might follow on from watching a video. Content might be used to begin a discussion, individual reports might be written from different perspectives or students could role-play further scenarios.
When searching for video clips, consider television broadcasters online resources, such as the BBC or ITN. Websites such as YouTube, BUFVC, TeacherTube can also be very useful, but remember to check for potential rights issues. Remember, not everything on the web is legally posted. If in doubt, don't use it! It is also important to check for any policies your host institution might have for using video. Academic libraries often hold an ERA licence, which allows recorded off-air materials to be used for teaching purposes. Remember to check age restrictions if intending to show films to younger students.
Video documents can make effective reference material but creating your video content is also a rewarding experience, which can be carried out simply and with inexpensive equipment. Via role-play, students or groups of students can become engaged with extremely difficult topics. Simple editing can illustrate how information can be shaped to deliver a message. Students can be given the opportunity to produce assessed audiovisual materials or ‘video essays'. Web sites such as Flickr now host video clips and offer a powerful broadcasting platform for student output.
Creating simple video recordings of lectures allows information to be presented at the student's own pace with instant playback, rewind and pause. This may be particularly useful for students who are less suited to the familiar lesson scenario.
While using video as a teaching tool can help to engage students, no single method of delivery will suit all learners. If video materials are core elements of a lesson plan, consider also providing transcripts or audio descriptions to allow all students to access the materials equally (such as students where English is not their first language or to address accessibility requirements). JISC TechDis provide extensive information on helping all students make the most of audiovisual materials:
- Adapting multimedia based resources for users with VI
- Adapting multimedia based resources for users with hearing impairments
- Content creation for users who have difficulty concentrating
- Content creation for users who have difficulty handling and maipulating things
- Content creation for users who have difficulties communicating with others
- Adapting multimedia based resources for users with dyslexia
If the technical aspects of creating or using video materials within teaching and learning seem daunting, JISC Digital Media provide a wide range of advice documents which assume no prior audiovisual experience. Specific questions regarding your own requirements can be sent to the helpdesk via email and will be answered promptly.