Many teachers use videos to supplement instruction in class. It’s a nice way to give your delivery of instruction variety, while at the same time ensuring different modalities are used in the instructional approach. The copyright surrounding using videos legally in classroom instruction essentially says to be in compliance, there must be some face to face instruction that goes with the video. I have first hand seen great examples of how teachers meet this need. Examples include:
- Questions to answer after a video
- Questions to answer during the video
- Pair sharing following a video
- Class wide discussions based on a video’s content
Make a Video Interactive in Class
All of these work well and often compliment the learning. How can we utilize tools to add to the list? Here is a thought. Choose your video, and before the class starts CREATE a DISCUSSION with a few threads that match topics you want to emphasize from the video. I recommend one word topics. Then launch your video and students can immediately engage in a discussion (also known as a backchannel) to compliment the learning.
There are many tools that can provide a backchannel to learning scenarios. Some of my favorites include TodaysMeet and Padlet. These programs allow for students to create their own username, while most learning management systems automatically tie all contributions to the student’s actual name. There is even a Todays Meet educator portal that gives the teacher a little more control. Whatever you choose, research well before beginning.
Add an Assessment Element
I also recommend creating a rubric that you can apply to student contributions. Make sure students understand before the discussion how they will be assessed. The rubric might include points for:
- Minimum number of postings to the discussions
- Postings to the discussion should demonstrate a thoughtful approach to the content
- Discussions that show student attentiveness (reiterating content from the video).
- Discussions that extend the learning (show a reflection or deeper understanding.)
- Interaction with other students in the discussion is evidenced
- Interaction with other students in the discussion that extends understanding/learning is evidenced.
Discussions are a great way to engage students, and if a video is embedded into a learning module, students can participate in their own time.
Not Just for Videos
Discussions can compliment any type of instruction, including face to face lectures, debates, fishbowl style discussions (small group talks aloud while the rest of the class discusses online), assigned readings, etc. A discussion can enrich any learning sequence, and can bring to life the shy, quiet student as well. Consider adding a discussion to your next lesson.
So what is your favorite discussion/backchannel tool?