Common Core State Standards encourage teachers to focus on reading texts deeply, writing for digital environments collaboratively, and reading and writing nonfiction texts. The use of videos for instruction and production facilitates meeting these standards and engages students in more real-world reading and writing experiences.
Integrating videos in support of literacy practices
Traditional literacy practices emphasized individual mastery of concepts and skills, whereas new media literacy practices emphasize collaborative, social, and context activity. Following are new media examples that describe literacy curriculum at the elementary and secondary levels that incorporate the use of video.
Ideas for the elementary level are found in the article“Devillainizing Video in Support of Comprehension and Vocabulary Instruction,” by Matthew Hall and Katherine Dougherty Stahl. Classroom videos that digitally define a content area vocabulary term are being developed by teachers. The definitions can include narration, music, props, additional people, and manipulatives. In “eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary,” Bridget Dalton and Dana Grisham emphasize, “Sound vocabulary instruction incorporates multiple exposures in multiple contexts of words to be learned.”
With young students, using short videos of narratives as part of comprehension can address higher comprehension skills such as inference skills. In addition, introducing a story using video and discussion can be followed by children reading the story and completing writing activities.
“Teaching Shakespeare With YouTube” by Christy Desmet and Joyce Bruett proposes that YouTube is a popular site for building class assignments for students’ skills in critical reading and writing. For example, YouTube lists nearly 50 entries for videos on Macbeth and videos on Hamlet. These videos can be used for modeling the text for further discussion, writing a critical analysis, or having students produce their own modern-day version of Hamlet or Macbeth. YouTube Shakespeare restricts the length and size of videos to 10 minutes or less.
Identifying tools used for video production
For years, educators have purchased videos or made their own videos using a camcorder or smartphone. Today, students are using Web. 2.0 digital tools such as Flipgrid and Voki, as Kara Clayton shared recently. Flipgrid can be used by students to create their own video response to posts by people such as their teacher. Voki is a speaking avatar program that also gives students a platform for expressing themselves.
Educators are also using YouTube videos in the classroom to get attention, introduce new concepts, provide information, or review important points. The subject of literature is particularly enhanced through the use of YouTube.
Identifying potential challenges of using videos in the classroom
Currently, many schools block YouTube and other social networking sites because many videos are highly inappropriate for students. Locating the right video can also be difficult because the vast numbers available must be vetted for accuracy, reasonableness, and support for the literacy activity. Another challenge when using YouTube is that videos teachers select may not be available at any given time. To ensure availability requires teachers to copy and save it on a thumb drive, computer, or other device.
In “Escaping the Lesson-Planning Doldrums,” Catlin Tucker states, “As students shift from passive observers to active participants, teachers must also shift from being founts of knowledge to becoming architects of learning experiences—the goal of designing lessons that are exciting, engaging and student-centered.” The use of videos can give new energy to planning literacy lessons.
Marilyn E. Moore is a professor and faculty director for the Reading Program at National University, La Jolla, CA.
This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).