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How to Use Video Effectively in Classroom

Students today are always “plugged -in”to television and media, which is why when teachers use technology in the classroom it piques student interest. Using a video is a simple way to integrate technology into the classroom. Utilizing video in the classroom does not mean you are putting your classroom on auto-pilot. Some teachers shy away from using video because they do not know how to incorporate it effectively into a lesson, or fear they will not choose a video applicable enough to their topic. These fears can be overcome when a teacher has a better understanding of how to prepare and implement productive lessons using video.


When To Use Video

Using video is an appropriate method of instruction for many goals of teaching and learning. Some of these include:

  • Minds -On/Hook Interviewing  Skills
  • Inspire
  • Listening Skills
  • Predicting
  • Debate

Creating Your Lesson

When creating a lesson that will include a video, there are a few steps you will want to take to ensure you get the most out of the material.

What is your topic? What are your learning goals?

Figure out what your topic is, whether that is a general theme or a specific concept. You will need to consider what your learning goals are for this lesson. Are you introducing this topic? What is your students ‘ prior knowledge? What information should students gain from this lesson?

Is this video suitable?

Whenever possible, watch the video first before playing it for your students in order to ensure it is age appropriate, both academically and developmentally. Also, remember to consider your students ‘ lives and backgrounds  and be aware of any possible sensitivities or aversions to the subject matter of the video.

What will your lesson contain ?

Decide what types of activities will go with this video to help students understand and expand on the material. Adding hands-on elements that get the students moving or interacting will balance out the lesson, giving them the opportunity to expand their knowledge on what the video showed them. Depending on the age level and the content of the video, this may range from informative discussion questions and debate topics to younger designs such as a scavenger hunt or mt-based project. Activities and discussion are a ve1y impo1iant element of effectively using video in the classroom , as this is how the elements they witnessed in the video can be further explained and understood, as well as connected directly back to curriculum expectations.  Some of Curio’s videos are accompanied by Teacher Resource Guides, which provide you with lesson ideas such as activities and extensions.

Implementing Accountable Talk

One of the greatest benefits to using video in the classroom is the conversation that comes out of viewing an informative or enlightening piece. Research is showing that engaging students in discussion in the classroom helps them to better understand what they are leaming .

Accountable Phrases

If you do not already use Accountable Talk in the classroom, it is important for both you and students to have an understanding of it. Accountable Talk is the notion of having respectful, inclusive, and constructive conversations that advance everyone’s knowledge, understanding, opinions, and questions. Below are a few phrases students should be employing when using accountable talk.

  • I agree/disagree because ...
  • !predict ...
  • I have a question about ...
  • !wonder ...
  • This reminds me of ..
  • Will you tell me more?
  • found evidence to support 11 y idea ...


PreViewing  Questions

Prepare questions related to the topic that you want your students to consider while watching the video. These questions should get the students thinking about the subject matter , or possibly strengthen their knowledge of prior learning. Ask the students questions that get them thinking , and make them intrigued to watch the video. You can also do a KWL chart with them, finding what they know, what they want to know, and at the ve1y end what they learned Encourage students to jot down any questions, Comments or comparisons that come to them while watching the video so they are ready to participate in the post-viewing discussion.


Post-Viewing  Questions

Depending on the length of the video and how your students are responding to it, you may  choose to pause the video and initiate discussion as you go, save the discussion until the end, or watch and discuss the video in segments (Ex. Over the period of three classes). The end discussion is ve1y impo1iant as this is when you as the teacher have the opportunity to expand on what they have watched and add more to it. It is also when your students will be able to show you what they learned and engage in constructive discussion. Here is when you will want to ensure students are engaged in accountable talk. You will want to prepare a few thought­ provoking questions to get the conversation started, however once you practice accountable talk in the classroom your students will recognize that their voice is being heard and participation will rise. They will begin to facilitate the discussions themselves, directing their own learning and giving you opportunities to connect their thoughts to curriculum expectations .


Using videos in the classroom se1ves as a great tool for supp01ting the goals of differentiated instruction. Teachers can differentiate instruction through content, process, and product of students ‘ learning in response to their interests, readiness to learn, and learning profile. Videos can be used in the classroom for differentiated instruction in the following ways.

Differentiating Content

Vmy the source of content that the students use. By setting up media learning centers in the classroom for students that prefer audio-visual learning styles, learners of different needs will be better accommodated. For example, a grade 5 teacher was teaching a writing lesson during the Olympics. She provided her students the option to gather information about athletes using sources such as newspaper articles, websites , or videos. Many of her audio-visual learners preferred to watch videos of athlete interviews and competitions. All of her students were fully engaged in the project and were able to successfully meet the learning objectives.

Differentiating Process

Vmy the amount of scaffolding provided for the students. In a typical classroom, there will be some students that will require more supp01t to complete activities and tasks. Instructional or inf01mationa l videos are great to use because they can provide more information to increase understanding.  Encourage students who require extra information or support to refer to videos, and create a classroom environment where students feel safe and comf01table to request this option.

Differentiating Product

Students should not all be required to show their learning in the same way. Giving students the additional choice to use videos to complete their projects or assignments may help them to show their learning in a way that they are most comfortable and confident with. Some of the different ways in which students can demonstrate their learning using videos include:

  • Create a writing piece by describing a scene from a video
  • Make an inf01mationa l poster or mticle on a video’s topic
  • Produce their own “News in Review” video on a current issue


It is important to remember to plan for extension activities ahead of time for early-finishers.

Video can be used as an extension tool by providing them with an additional opportunity to either review what they have learned or gain more knowledge on a topic. By giving your

students access to Curio’s wide range of educational videos, you can direct them to the topic they are to be exploring, while still giving them a choice in what specific areas they wish to learn about.


This guide was researched and written by Cominey White and Min-ji Nam.

It was produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in association with Queen ‘s University ‘s Faculty of Education.

© 20 14 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation . All rights reserved.

Reproduction rights for this Work are not governed by any license executed by CANCOPY or any other reprography collective.


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