Edited and republished in October, 2017.
Are you preparing to enter a career in teaching? With the advancements of technology, teaching strategies are changing every day. Parents and teachers are regularly trying to figure out the best way to utilize technology in their classroom. Students earning a Master's in Education degree in fields like learning and technology or educational leadership, research and identify positive ways technology can enhance learning through the adoption of multimedia. Some teachers add iPads and learning games to make their lectures more interesting, others use online quizzes to make learning more interactive, and music continues to be a way for students to learn and memorize. One technological element that many people studying for teaching degrees have identified as a positive method of learning is educational TV programs. But the question remains, how can people entering a career in teaching use this powerful tool while still engaging students in the classroom? We have a few tips for those pursuing teaching degrees so they can jumpstart their planning and learn how to integrate educational movies or shows in their teaching strategies.
The obvious and most direct way teachers use educational television programs is to make a connection between the show and the concept being studied in class. For a science teacher, the chapter on marine life in your textbook could be accompanied by a video on some sort of sea animal like whales, dolphins, or sharks. Teachers often find that as they coordinate their lesson plans with visual learning, students are more likely to stay focused and pay attention. Some students pursuing teaching careers have thought of additional ways to make these connections. Connecting to a subject matter can involve discussing broader topics. For example, after viewing a video on marine life, students can have a discussion on the effects of oil spills on animal breeding, or organize a classroom project that educate younger children about wildlife preservation.
It can be extremely valuable for teachers to understand and learn about popular shows their students may be watching at home. Often, these programs will have some learning or concepts that teachers can apply inside their classroom. For example, when math teachers learn about the popular characters in a show or movie like Harry Potter, they can then use those characters in a math problem like this: If 9% of the Hogwarts student body is late to a meal, and there are 450 students, how many students were late? Teachers may find that using this teaching strategy will help their students feel connected to their learning in a new way.
When teachers use educational television programs during class, the relationship between them and their students changes. Usually the status quo of the classroom is the teacher imparts knowledge, while students absorb the information. Educational videos change the status quo by in a way, making the educator and children peers who can share and discuss the viewing experience. A recent study identifies the reality of changed learning and new relationships when movies or videos were shown during class. Teachers can take advantage of this shift in roles by encouraging small group discussions after watching the show. Educators can set specific goals or activities for students in these small groups, which allows them to explore their own questions and share their ideas on the given topic with their classmates. The instructor can then ask one member of the small group to share their team's insights with the rest of the class, strengthening the absorption of knowledge.
What are your strategies for incorporating educational television programs into your curriculum?