Use TV Positively

Fortunately, the positive media resources today that are available to teachers are truly phenomenal. Use the television in your classroom to stimulate thought and conversation, not as a soporific babysitter.

Television is best at conveying human emotion, and is also excellent to take us places we cannot go. It is not the best medium for detailed examination of complex issues.

Brief sections of programs followed by class discussion are best. The following tips are supplied by WQED. For the full text of the tips, click below:

WQED Tips for Using Video in the Classroom

For more information on programming or educational resources, contact the education department at your local public television station.

1. Learning Objectives

Start with specific, identified objectives. There are two considerations: 1) Your objectives for the lesson, tied to your school and district’s curriculum; and 2) the learning objectives of the program, which may be stated in the teacher’s guide for each program.

2. Lead-In Activities

Lead-in activities should set the tone for viewing and let students know how the program material relates to previous lessons or subsequent activities. Some generic suggestions for previewing activities are:
Review vocabulary or key concepts in the program.
Do a "story mapping" type of activity. Tell students the main topic of the program and ask them what they think will be included.

3. Focus Viewing Activities
Focus questions can make viewing more interactive by involving the students in the information presented. Ask specific informational questions; or ask students to develop questions unanswered in the program, concerning topics they’d like to know more about.

4. Segmented Viewing Activities

Segmenting (showing only a portion of the program at a time, or pausing the video during viewing) can be a valuable technique to enhance students’ learning while enabling you to adapt the medium to your teaching style.

There are many instances when segmenting may be appropriate. For example, you may choose to show only a brief section of the program that illustrates a specific lesson objective.

Segmenting activities might include:
Pausing the video for a still picture to point out background visuals, characters’ expressions or a longer look at an object
Using frame advance/slow motion for an extended view of a process.
Pausing and having students predict what will happen next.
Giving an activity or question for one segment, then a new question for the next segment.

5. Post-Viewing Discussion

To give students an opportunity to react to the program, express opinions or questions about what they have seen, and to review, reinforce, and elaborate on the concepts presented, plan time for discussion following the viewing. "Tell me what you saw" is a good starting point for discussion.

Post-viewing time may also be used as an opportunity for instilling critical viewing skills, discussing technical quality, the transfer from print to video, character portrayals and the use of visuals or sound effects to enhance the content.

6. Follow-Through Activities
Activities should be planned to reinforce and integrate concepts presented, and provide "hands on" experiences with the information. Activities may include:
Small group work
Field trips
Producing a class video

7. Evaluation
Your evaluation of the success of the lesson is an important part of any instructional process. Consider whether the objectives were met and if additional information was (or could have been) highlighted.

Evaluation of each component of the lesson can provide valuable insight into the use of video with your students and enhance your use of the medium.

Helpful reading and links:

Cable in the Classroom

Discovery In-school TV teacher's guide

IPTV K-12 Catalog