When we show videos in class, we want our students to watch actively rather than passively: to comprehend, not just consume. We want our students to be active viewers.

But why stop at comprehension? Active viewing is great, but it isn’t enough.

When it comes to video, students shouldn’t just get it; they should also have something to say about it. Students need to be active and reactive viewers—comprehending and critiquing, reading and reacting, getting and giving knowledge. Below you’ll find great tools, tips, and strategies for helping to foster both of these essential media-literacy skills.

3 key teaching strategies for video
So how do you get your students to tune in instead of just kicking back? It all starts with setting up an essential question before you hit play. This is key to helping students watch the video with purpose and context.

Here are a few ideas for using video effectively in the classroom #edtech #k12

From there, try any or all of these strategies to help kids think critically about what they watch.

Backchannelling
Using your essential question as a guide, have students take notes and react together, in real time, with a backchannelling tool. You can even join in on the action, and as an added bonus the backchannel creates a running record to review afterward.

Pro tip: This works great for feature films or documentaries, because it combines the film screening and discussion, maximizing class time.

About the Author:

Tanner Higgin is director, education editorial strategy at Common Sense Education where he leads the editorial team responsible for edtech reviews and resources. Previously, he taught writing and media literacy for six years, and has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. His research on video games and culture has been published in journals, books, and online, presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to be cited and taught in classes around the world.


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