How to Watch Videos at School

Use instructional videos to inspire.

Videos are an educational way to bring the world to your classroom. No matter if you want to listen to an inspiration convocation address in an English class, or take your science students on an African safari without leaving your home town, videos are the way to do it. Rather than using videos as time-fillers where students are passive receivers, use these technological options to turn them into critical thinkers. According to the National Teacher Training Institute, teachers who use instructional videos in their classrooms report that their students understand concepts more rapidly, are more enthusiastic and retain more information.

Do your homework. Spend the time to find the instructional video that goes with the lesson you are planning. Preview the video to make sure the material is relevant. You may want to ask other teachers for suggestions.

Assign pre-video watching activities. Have the students -- either individually or in groups -- research the topic. If, for example, you are studying India in social studies, have one group do a report on the Indian people, another on Indian food and yet another on Indian culture.

Give students specific things to look for as they watch the video. Instead of just screening the instructional video and then asking questions about it, have the students be on the lookout for details they may otherwise miss.

Have the students watch the video and take notes about points they want to raise later. Monitor their expressions to see if they are paying attention and if they are comprehending the video.

Review the specifics you told the students to watch for, and assess how well they picked up the information. Open the discussion and invite students to talk about what they saw. Encourage them to be creative and critical in their assessment of the instructional video.

Watch the video for a second time, if warranted. If you are using the video to supplement a Spanish lesson -- or any other language you are teaching -- seeing it for a second time allows students to pick up what they missed during the first viewing.

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.