Using Media in the Classroom

My classroom is very media-heavy.  I have a video, song or story to go with just about everything we do. It is all about placing hooks for students to hang their bits of knowledge.  I do not, however, show a lot of movies in class in full.  I rarely show more than one per unit and usually only when I have a substitute.  Instead, I chop movies and TV shows into 2-3 minute clips that I use in Powerpoint alongside notes on the topic. Are they all educational? On their own, absolutely not. However, showing Lisa Simpson read her in-flight safety directions and joyously claim “they’re written in haiku!” builds an interest in haiku that otherwise wouldn’t happen.  Introducing Martin Luther using R.E.M.s “Losing My Religion” may not teach the students much on its own but it is a hook that I can call on throughout the unit.

Our students live in a hyper-interactive world that constantly feeds them entertainment.  If educators don’t tap into that they are doing themselves a disservice.  Yes, in an ideal world students would come in, read four pages and memorize every word, but that obviously isn’t realistic. Frankly, I didn’t learn much that way 15 years ago either. 

This is from the site just mentioned. I suppose this is what I have been starting to do more recently. I really liked his idea of getting the students to look out for any media including references to History. Perhaps our department could encourage the students to do the same for English?


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