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Technology Tips for Teachers

Using TV in the Classroom

A television screen can be a window to worlds that students may never have the opportunity to visit.

Educators use TV in the classroom to satisfy a variety of objectives:

  • To reinforce and expand on content being taught (94%)
  • To respond to a variety of learning styles (83%)
  • To increase student motivation to learn (74%)
  • To stimulate other learning activities (69.3%)

Teachers report that because they use TV in the classroom, students have a better understanding, and enter into more discussion on the content and ideas presented. They show an increased motivation and enthusiasm for learning.

Here are some teaching tips to maximize the benefits of using television in the classroom:

Use programs to convey or reinforce knowledge within a broader lesson context.

Plan an activity prior to viewing to provide a context for the viewing of the video. Direct the students toward meeting desired learning outcomes.

Provide a focus for viewing to set the stage for “active viewing": specific things students should look or listen for in the program segment.

Integrate the video into the learning experience by adding an experiential, or “hands-on” component to the lesson.

PAUSE! Use the remote control or the pause button on the VCR to keep viewers actively involved in the viewing. Use questions during your “pause” to motivate critical thinking and student participation: Why did that happen? How does this compare with that? What might happen next?

Use the paused image on the television screen as an electronic blackboard, encouraging students to look closely at it for information or comparison.

Stop the tape just long enough to have students record information, examine a chart or draw a diagram, then resume the tape for another brief period. Try to "weave" the video in and out of the lesson.

Use the rewind and fast forward buttons to make use of the video which is directly relevant to the lesson objectives and learning outcomes.

Heathly TV Viewing for Sharp Minds and Smart Students

TV is a problem when:

  • It exposes students to so much violence they accept it as a normal response to conflict.
  • It convinces students they are measured by what they own.
  • It deals with innapropriate subjects.
  • It promotes negative behavior patterns.
  • It dominates too much time.
  • It encourages chldren to buy things they do not need.
  • It presents gender,racial or cultural stereotypes.
  • It takes up so much of a child's time it hinders their development.
TV is good when:
  • It encourages creativity and critical thinking
  • It encourages students to participate in song, dance, etc.
  • It entertains.
  • It reinforces healthy values and ideals.
  • It exposes students to other cultures and people.
  • It helps children appreciate others.
  • It can be extended into conversation and debate.
  • It inspires enthusiasm for reading and learning.
Teachers can use TV to:
  • Provide a common experience.
  • Generate interest.
  • Stimulate imagination.
  • Offer a different perspective or approach to a subject.
  • Connect students to far away places.
  • Demonstrate abstract ideas.
  • Stimulate critical thinking.
  • Equalize educational opportunities.
  • Enhance self-respect and break down social stereotypes.
  • Promote critical viewing skills and media awareness.

Making TV Easy to Use, and Re-Use

Taping rights for IdahoPTV and PBS programs

As part of its education mission, PBS has sought off-air copyright agreements that will make public television’s general audience programming easier for educators to use in the classroom. Extended off-air record rights (rights that extend beyond the ten days allowed by federal guidelines under Fair Use) encourage the integrated use of video in the classroom by extending the time teachers may plan to use programs recorded from Idaho PTV. Most programs broadcast by Idaho PTV that Idaho educators might use in the classroom have extended copyright for preschool and K-12 educators.

Q   Who may use Idaho PTV and PBS extended rights and how may they be used?
A   Recording and use of Idaho PTV and PBS programs with extended educational rights is available to teachers of preschool and K-12 children in the United States. The rights to use these recordings apply in instructional settings that include day care, preschools, and auditoriums, as well as classrooms.

Q    May a teacher tape an Idaho PTV program at home on his or her VCR and then use it with students in the classroom? Who else may do this taping?
A   Teachers may tape programs on their home VCR and use the videotapes in class for face-to-face instruction, with the same extended rights. A school library-media specialist or parent volunteer may also do the videotaping at the specific request of a classroom teacher.

Q   How do I find out the length of the extended right?
A   Information on the specific extended off-air copyright for each Idaho PTV and PBS program or series can be found at the Idaho PTV extended rights web-site, and in the monthly Idaho PTV program guide, Channels. Some programs have only one-year extended copyright, but many of these are re-broadcast each year. Several programs have extended copyright that is “unlimited”, and lasts as long as your videocassette still works! Other programs have extended copyright that ranges from the one-year to four years.

Building a Free Video Library

PBS and IdahoPTV programs that can enrich studies in science, math, the arts, geography, culture, and other social studies are all available for recording and using, and re-using in the K-12 classroom, when the time is right. The price for these video resources is certainly right; they’re free!

The hardest part seems to be just getting them recorded! A winning strategy might be for parents to help with this aspect of bringing low-cost, high-quality, video resources into their child’s classroom. In some Idaho schools, the parent organization provides classroom teachers with blank videocassettes, and the teacher has the help of parents to record, from the broadcasts received at home, the television programs that will eventually be used in the classroom. Would this work at your school?

Keep in mind that most of these television programs have associated websites with teacher resources, and often, interactive activities for learners. With a videotape of the program, you can choose the most useful time to use both video and accompanying web resources within their curriculum. As an added bonus, every PBS program that IdahoPTV broadcasts is accompanied by closed captioning (a text script of the audio). When you use videos with closed captioning, reading skills are sharpened, and detailed information is better remembered.

Check out the long list of programs with extended copyright for use in the K-12 classroom. These are video resources that are made available specifically to record and use, from one year to the life of the videotape! Encourage the parent organization at your school to get behind this economical way to enhance classroom teaching materials. Ask a parent, or two, to help with recording, and build your own classroom video library!

Stay in touch with upcoming programs that are useful resources for classroom curriculum. Every month during the school year, we produce a calendar full of upcoming program that we think will be valuable for educators. Check it out and then set your VCR!

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