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How to Effectively Use Video and Multimedia in the Classroom

How to Effectively Use Video and Multimedia in the Classroom

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Author: Rebecca Chapman
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Using video and multimedia in the classroom is one way to engage students, but there are some methods that are more educationally effective than others. 

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In the 1980s and 1990s, research showed that the use of video for educational purposes had a variety of positive benefits. When compared to traditional teaching methods, teachers who used interactive video with their instruction had students with more positive attitudes towards learning (Kerka). Video also uses a variety of sensory images that allow students to form mental models more easily than lecture alone (Barron). It is important to choose video options that provide a quality educational experience for the student and not use video for the sake of using video.

Video Accommodates Different Learning Styles

Video is a familiar media to students. Students are surrounded by video images from TV, movies, and computers. They are comfortable both viewing videos and manipulating interactive video formats, such as found in navigating a web site or a multimedia presentation. This comfort may influence the increase in positive attitudes towards learning as reported by the Write My Paper service.

The variety of sensory input and flexibility for learning allowed by interactive video formats, such as multimedia, provides accommodations for a variety of learning styles. Students can learn at their own pace, including reviewing material or skipping known parts as needed. It incorporates visual, audio, and kinetic learning needs, making multimedia more effective at reaching a variety of learning styles than traditional teaching methods.

Choosing Quality Educational Video


Barron states in her conclusion, “it is the merging of information from these disciplines with technology that can make a difference, not the technology itself.” Instruction should focus on learning, and video can be used to make instruction more effective.Some simple ways to incorporate video is to use short segments that relate directly to the lesson. Web sites such as Discovery Education, Write My Paper for Me NYC, and BrainPOP provides these for educational use and include connections to educational standards to assist with determining if the video clip is well suited for a particular lesson. Other sites, such as YouTube, also provide video clips that can be used an educational setting but may require more extensive searching for an appropriate video.

Multimedia and other interactive videos allow students to proceed at their own pace, but are not always appropriate for class. On problem may be that each student needs access to a computer that can handle the processing demands of the video, or is capable of streaming the web site fast enough that students do not become frustrated. Another issue is that some students need more class time to complete the activity than others. Though these problems can be a non-issue for some schools and teachers, they should be considered before using interactive video.

Video is an engaging educational medium, allowing for the accommodation of a variety of learning styles and proven to improve students' attitudes towards learning. It should not be used because of this, but as an enhancement to a lesson so that instruction is more effective.