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Monday, October 3, 2011

Snag Learning: Go Beyond Hitting "Play"

I was talking with a colleague the other day and they had mentioned how they would love to show more video clips in their classroom, but that takes a lot of time and research. I have to agree. Not only do you have to screen each video, you often have to sift through amateur YouTube clips to find something. Showing video clips to just show them doesn't increase learning. In fact, it can cause confusion if not appropriately designed. It is so important to design learning opportunities that will reach all - from the beginning!

Snag Learning is a great site to consider because of its use of high quality documentaries from sources like PBS and National Geographic. Teachers of any grade level would greatly benefit from the documentaries on this site. Not only is it a way to provide another way of representing material, but it is another way of engaging and motivating students.

For example, maybe you are having trouble getting your students to care about what is happening in Darfur. They are just not motivated.

What if there was another way to infuse the concepts of your textbook with the interests of your students? We know that when students are engaged, learning increases substantially. Maybe you decided to use a video on the site called 3 Point, which features NBA player Tracy McGrady traveling to the ravished country. Many teachers talk about what is happening in Darfur, but imagine the power of teaching Civics and World Culture, while using a famous athlete?

Unfortunately, many teachers show video clips just to show video clips. Why not use it as a tool for discussion? For many of us, we just don't have the time to consider this. We simply look up a YouTube video, show it, and have an informal discussion.

Snag Learning works to enhance student learning, by providing learning questions that will help focus your student's learning. You could easily lead students in a discussion, create a writing prompt, or have your students use questions as a research prompt.

I challenge you to go beyond hitting PLAY.



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