Digital Video in Education                                                    



The benefits of video  Student learning will generally benefit from a variation in teaching methods where the student's different senses come into play. As teachers, we are always looking to excite and engage our students. Video, if used effectively, can be a tool to bring emotion into the classroom, to 'experience' the sounds, colors and movement of concepts,  cultures and historical figures. If we keep in mind that video is also an interactive medium through simple start, stop and rewind buttons, learning possibilities are boundless: Stop the video and ask students to predict what comes next or replay a sequence (in slow motion?) to help students understand difficult mechanisms. And of course, video is the perfect medium for auditory and visual learners.

Problems arise when the video used is not properly integrated into the curriculum. We have all experienced the use of video as 'edutainment' where  filling time is an important factor and passive viewing and blind acceptance are the results. The benefits of video come when it is used in conjunction with other learning materials on the basis of well defined learning objectives and a clear instructional sequence that is supported by specific learning activities.


Finding video resources Since the introduction of YouTube in 2005 the possibilities for finding, sharing and producing video have skyrocketed. You can find quality video on almost every subject you choose. However,  the opposite is also true, bad videos abound and you must be selective.


Video sharing - What is YouTube?  Video sharing websites are important elements in social networking and allow you to upload, store and share video clips with others and, in some cases, download them. YouTube is far and away the most used of these sites. YouTube, with its easy to use interface, made it possible for anyone who could use a computer to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of the web 2.0 culture.

Everyone can view videos shared on the You Tube site. If you are a registered user, you can upload your own videos, store your favourites and rate and comment on other videos. You can also create play lists and add other users as contacts. When you upload a video you are asked to describe it with a title, a description and ‘tags’. This metadata makes it easier to search for videos on YouTube and also enables you to browse other videos similar to the one you are watching.

Browsing and searching YouTube Browsing and searching for YouTube videos are easy. The website has several different ways of doing this. You can use keywords, by browsing related videos or by searching videos from the same contributor. Effective searching depends on the textual information (the title, the description and the tags) that YouTube publishers use to describe their videos when they upload them. There are also facilities that allow you to subscribe to other users so that you are told when they have uploaded a new video. The instructions on the site are very clear. Explore YouTube here:


Using Youtube in the classroom  A very common way to share the YouTube videos with an audience, such as your students, is to embed the video in a webpage, for example on a social networking site or in a blog. Once embedded, YouTube can then be viewed directly from that webpage without the user having to make the effort to browse the YouTube website.

To embed a video, just copy the code from the "Embed" box—you can find it in the "About this Video" box when you are watching the video. You can also get the code from the "Embed HTML" box on the "Edit Video" page ( if the video is yours. Once you've copied the code, just paste it into your website or blog to embed it. This is an easy way of providing ‘stimulus’ material before a lesson, more fun and often more effective than telling pupils to read a chapter from a text book.

Here is a short video on how to embed a video in your PowerPoint presentation:


Searching for Video clips can also be an integral part of a student’s background research for a project or assignment. Following links is a good first step in learning research techniques. If it is a written report then the url of the clips can be included in the bibliography. However, if students are publishing their reports on the web then they should be encouraged to embed the actual clip.

We have also found that asking different groups to find clips that support different points of view generates interesting results and not only adds to the subject content of the lesson but helps students become intelligent users of the web.

Teachers can also use YouTube clips as an integral part of their lesson. Using video has always been a bit of a nightmare for teachers – moving televisions, trolleys and video recorders from one classroom to another, recording or buying the tapes, finding the right starting point, rewinding the tape – all this was a huge disincentive. Now, with a projector connected to your computer, as long as you are on line, the url for the video clip can be embedded very easily in an ordinary PowerPoint presentation (use ‘Add Link’) or in your LMS. Even more rewarding, students can be encouraged to film their learning using a video camera or mobile phones – for example a science experiment or a field trip - and can then publish the results.

We have also found that ‘find a video you find useful for explaining …..’ is a popular and productive homework assignment. Finally, one teacher told us it was a very useful way of solving the perennial problem of marking group projects and making sure that each person was pulling their weight – she told them she wanted each group to publish a video showing how they allocated the tasks and evidence of participation by all members of the group!