My first college history professor was a very weird man. He was easily 6 ft tall, 280 pounds, lacked social skills in the classroom and he sweat profusely while lecturing. And it was a lecture class that started out the same way, every day, no matter what. By the second semester, students would be able to say his first 5 minutes word for word right along with him. Except, that is, on ‘mooooovie’ days. On the rare day where he had a film to share, he would announce in his rhythmic way, “Today, we are going to see … a mooooovie,” with everyone in class holding out the ‘ooo’ for what seemed an eternity. Then, following some light-hearted laughter, we’d go see a movie.

We all have some memory of the role of video/film media during our school career. It once was the place of the substitute teacher or the coach in health class. The media club was often tasked with bringing the filmstrip projector, setting it up, and hanging out until they hit the magic lever on the side when the film slipped out of it’s track.  As a teacher, I had some big changes to make in my thinking about video use in the classroom.

I will ask teachers during in-service training, “What is the most important button on the DVD remote?” I rarely hear my answer, the pause button.  I worked to make video in my class the media manipulative and not the babysitter. Pausing the video helps jar my students out of the deep hypnotic slumber that TV promotes, but it also gives us time to take notes or discuss important points that were presented.  I think educators are grasping that type of video use much more today than we had in our educational history.

But the change in video media use is not just how teachers use it, but how students use it and how the perceive it’s importance in their lives. We, as educators, must take the continued steps forward to provide a place for student-centered technology in the same way that they are devouring it up outside of class. Online videos are not just a film projector in your computer display. They are platforms for student thought, primary source research information, scientific sharing of concepts, and much more.

Most blog providers also allow for video embedding. Why? Because it is a powerful way to share the media that is important to us along with the words and ideas that were provoked inside of us because of the media. In the classroom, you show a powerful video that illicits powerful discussion that could evaporate at the sound of the bell. Online, the video and discussion remain, can be pulled into class discussion, and can persist for the continuation of learning.

Consult your blog provider’s help pages on how to embed your own videos. Be prepared to hit school firewalls if you pull from YouTube or other video-sharing sources. Find TeacherTube or SchoolTube as possible alternatives. I just ask that we all consider the media technology that our students already have access to and include it within the walls of their confinement.

Thanks to Wesley Fryer for sharing this video on his blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, and for provoking these thoughts inside my own head.

If YouTube is blocked, TeacherTube has this video also.