The video revolution has transformed so much in life – why not education?

Video is a powerful tool encompassing a range of skills needed for the future, but it’s not being effectively utilised in schools, says Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Caroline Kennard

The video revolution has happened in everyday life, and so begs the question: has the same revolution hit the classroom? At school, we all want to see young people develop the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to progress to the next stage of their development. While we know technology plays a vital role in this progression, the emphasis must remain focused on how it is used.

It’s been argued that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words and, according to Cisco, 82 per cent of all internet traffic will be in video by 2022. Using digital stories, including audio and visual expression, opens up the opportunity for students to learn in a way that they are familiar with, by utilising a language they already speak.

Often, we think about using video in the classroom as an added resource, perhaps letting learners watch something at the end of a lesson to consolidate the understanding of a subject. But what if we can bring subjects to life by using video as a primary resource for everyday learning?

When we talk about digital stories, it refers to the combining of footage, images, music, text and a narrative voice. It’s an expressive way to tell a story in the classroom, integrating subject expertise with the knowledge and skills from across science, social studies, humanities, the arts and English language.

“What if we can bring subjects to life by using video as a primary resource for everyday learning?”

The versatility of digital stories make them an easily adaptable tool for teachers to incorporate in the classroom, no matter the subject. Often, we have viewed video as a tool to enhance an activity, but what about making it a staple lesson resource, which learners can rely on to increase their understanding and knowledge of a particular topic?

Bringing the world to your students through video

One of the biggest advantages of video is its ability to bring a story to life. Using digital storytelling can harness a student’s passion and natural engagement with the media. Also, it provides learners with the opportunity to explore cultures, countries and topics which they might not have had access to had textbooks alone been the primary resource in the classroom. For teachers, it also provides an opportunity to become a facilitator. Stepping back and setting a video project enables a teacher to observe and be present in the classroom, providing support where necessary.

Digital resources also harness a student’s passion and natural engagement with media and bring it into the classroom. It helps them become skilled collaborators, communicators and media-savvy consumers with enhanced critical-thinking skills.

“Learners who use video in the classroom have the opportunity to develop deeper content knowledge”

Take a lesson in geography as an example. If a teacher wants to specifically set learners an independent task around wildlife in different countries, video can play an essential role in bringing together the whole project: searching online to read about the different wildlife that exists, watching videos on the subject, even using video as a platform to demonstrate their knowledge.

It’s a powerful tool that encompasses a range of skills needed for the future, but also provides learners with the autonomy to tell their story exactly how they want to, meaning it can cater to the needs of every type of learner.

How does vide0 support learning?

Learners who use video in the classroom have the opportunity to develop deeper content knowledge, increasing their subject area comprehension and becoming masters of topics. It also allows them to collaborate, building a project from start to finish with their peers and discussing elements of the project as a team, further developing key skills for the future.

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Not only does video build those skills, it opens up opportunities for all learners. It engages students of all ages and abilities, having a huge advantage over more traditional methods of teaching, such as textbooks, writing activities and listening exercises. The strong visual cues can be a useful way to motivate and engage students. It helps learners understand what is happening in a way that they may not be able to comprehend from seeing pictures in a book.

Take the example of a lesson on the human body. It can be costly to try and arrange a trip for a class to visit a science museum and see the elements of the human body in action. Video can alleviate this, as there are many tutorials online explaining each function of the body’s organs. A task could also be set for learners to create a project which runs through what each organ does using video, by finding suitable images online or perhaps even making their own real-life papier-mâché human, videoing a tutorial on what each part of the body does.

If used in the right way, video and digital storytelling can be a really effective tool for teachers and learners. Encompassing the core elements of storytelling through a digital platform allows learners to be independent, understand topics in a way that perhaps other traditional resources can’t provide, and brings the world to them. With video on the rise in everyday life, now is the time to ensure it plays a pivotal role in the classroom, being at the forefront of an activity, not just an afterthought.

Caroline Kennard is MD EMEA at Encyclopaedia Britannica