Students no longer grow up in a world of face-to-face interactions and experiences limited to proximity. Their relationships and experiences are diverse, consisting of traditional interactions coupled with virtual experiences. Education has evolved to replicate this experience and take advantage of technology, though often at a slower pace than entertainment. The idea that education should be separate from what we consider entertainment is in itself a fallacious one, as obtaining knowledge and expanding your understanding of the world around you is often entertaining at it’s foundation; it is often the delivery that creates a mundane experience.
Educational video services have exploded onto the scene, many with standard alignment and lesson plans for using the content. Many of these services are paid, but there are some fee services. Khan Academy, backed by the Bill Gates Foundation, offers a content-rich, interactive experience for students and teachers. Many educators will use this as a supplement to traditional teaching as an intervention or extra credit tool.
Video tools allow educators to take the ‘rock star’ persona from in front of the class and become the movie stars of tomorrow. Simple, free tools such as the Google Chrome extension Screencastify allow educators to deliver direct teach lectures and Khan-style examples of working through problems, models, and theories. ELL and SPED students- and often the majority of other students- no longer need to rely on getting all the information the first time, but allow for infinite repeat of the information and focusing on difficult concepts in and outside of the classroom. For more advanced video editing, iMovie allows sound effects, transitions, and even picture-in-picture to provide an engaging viewing experience.
Other pedagogical benefits include some buzz words such Flipped Learning and Blended Learning. The exclusion of a sit-and-get lecture model and introduction to a 24/7 accessible instructional blow the lid off of possibilities for accessibility for students. Video education is not limited to a one-way stream, though. Two-way streaming services such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, and FaceTime allow teachers to reach out to individuals or groups of students even when they are separated geographically. Manor ISD has successfully piloted and implemented Zoom as part of the digital DAEP and ED programs to deliver high quality instruction to students that can’t be in the classroom, with the benefits of two-way interaction still there.
Engagement with visual media should not be viewed as a distraction from the educational process, but a complementary tool for use by students and teachers alike. With the access and advancement to virtual and augmented reality, the engagement factor will continue to grow, as will a better understanding of how these tools can be used for instructional benefit. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.