Video and film play a vital role in the 21st century classroom, and online access makes them easy to find and use. This 11th grade modernization of Snow White on YouTube demonstrate readers theater and could be used before students composed their own modern readers theater versions of fairy and folk tales:
My very favorite Schoolhouse Rock short, Conjunction Junction, is available on YouTube anytime I want to do a mini-lesson on conjunctions work “hooking up words and phrases and clauses.” If Ime teaching Hamlet, a quick search on YouTube will turn up Sir Laurence Oliviers performance of the “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy, ready to share with the class.
The problem with YouTube, as Im sure almost everyone knows, is that there are also a lot of very inappropriate videos on the site. Its a difficult site to turn students loose on because of the amount of guidance needed. In many districts the site is banned outright by network firewalls.
This is where sites like TeacherTube and Teachers.tv come in. Think YouTube for teachers, and you have the idea. Teachers upload student-created videos, their own instructional videos, tutorials, in-service and conference presentations, and demonstrations. TeacherTube has an American feel. Teachers.tv is the UK spin on the idea.
Youll find resources like a book talk on the 2008 Newbery Award winner, a promotion for book clubs, and the Alphabet in American Sign Language on TeacherTube. And youll find a collection of videos for English and media instruction on Teacher.tv.
In addition to these two general sites, there are some specific online video collections that can be used in the classroom:
- The Moving Image Archive at the Internet Archive
Find collections of videos arranged by genre. Some will be inappropriate; however, specific collections such as Youth Media, Classic Television Commercials, and the September 11 Television Archive have materials you can embed and use with students.
The C-SPAN website offers more than just political news and current events. Booknotes and BookTV have video interviews of non-fiction authors. C-SPAN Classroom is includes videos on Civics and U.S. government that can provide background information and content-area resources. Presidential Libraries offers biographical information through recordings of twelve presidents.
- Google Video
While the main Google Video site is open to uploads, you'll find specific collections suitable for the classroom behind the front page. The National Archives videos include NASA History, World War II newsreels from United Newsreels, and Department of the Interior Motion Pictures from 19171970. The University of California, Berkeley videos include a handful of recordings from the Lunch Poems series, featuring readings by poets such as Li-Young Lee and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Here are some final tips to help ensure that everything goes smoothly:
- Always, always, always preview the entire video before sharing it.
- Be sure that youve obtained permission from families and your administration.
- Watch for “related” or “popular” video links that may appear near the video you plan to use.
- Embedding a video can avoid some problems, but remember that sites like Google and YouTube include links to “Related Videos” in the video screen as well.
- Check the comments that accompany a video. The video may be suitable, but spammers and trolls may have filled the comments with inappropriate language or links.