Guest Author - Valerie Shoopman
Audio and video content have taken the internet world by storm in the last couple of years. Smart teachers are capitalizing on this phenomenon to capture studentsí attention, make learning meaningful and fun, and more importantly, providing multi-sensory input for different types of learners.
Teachers can use short 30-120 second video clips to introduce a topic, stimulate creative thinking, or supplement textbooks and lectures. These videos are professional, tied to state curriculum, and easy to search by subject or grade level. Some even have black line masters, quizzes, and additional online resources.
The retention of complex material presented in this multi-sensory, fun, informative manner is phenomenal. I have to give you an example of a middle school class I just recently used this method with much success.
It was a Middle School Science class of 6th and 7th graders who all have some type of learning disability, and in some instances, multiple disabilities. They were learning the digestive system. The Science teacher had faithfully went through the textbook, carefully pointing out the bolded words, talking about the content, even reading the content and quiz questions together. Thinking the students were ready for the final test after a week and a half of presenting the material, the Science teacher gave the final test including some matching, multiple choice, and vocabulary definitions. Every single student in the class bombed the test. The teacher was devastated. She couldnít believe that not a single student had gotten the content material. She thought she had put everything she had as a teacher into the preparation and delivery of the content. Keep in mind; this was a teacher with a Masterís in Special Education.
I told her letís try again except this time we can incorporate video clips already done up nicely on the digestive system. To her amazement, the video clips I showed her highlighted the exact information she was trying to teach from the textbook! We also made up some graphic organizers and a small skit to supplement the video clips.
We showed six video clips that took less than 20 minutes total. We did stop after each video clip and talk about what was included in the video and used the graphic organizers to write down information that they learned while watching. The students also acted out a skit on the digestive system. All of this in less than half the time of reading the textbook and going over the bolded text and quizzes.
The students loved the presentations and were excited to raise their hands to answer discussion questions because they actually knew the content now. They could even say words like esophagus and peristalsis; what they meant and what function they played in the digestive system. However, the real results showed when the Science teacher gave another test, this one even harder than the first because it was fill in the blank, not just matching or multiple choice. Almost every single student aced the test. There wasnít a grade lower than a B. Needless to say, she was ecstatic with the results and now plans to incorporate the video clips in all content classes that she teaches.
This example just goes to show how a small adjustment in presentation with very little extra effort on the part of the teacher can go a long way in helping students to quickly learn a new topic and retain that information.