Classroom Practices & Technology

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    Using Video in the Classroom

    • According to the National Teacher Training Institute, using videos to teach can help students retain more information and understand topics more quickly and thoroughly than they might without the video. Video doesn't replace any lesson plan, but can be used as an effective supplement to the material being presented.

      For example, if you're teaching about World War II (or another war), you can use some related video produced by PBS. If you're teaching about Parisian art, you can watch videos that were filmed at the Louvre. If you're teaching a science class about anatomy, but your school's budget doesn't provide for animals to dissect, you can use a video in lieu of the real thing.

    Collaborative Writing

    • Many people are familiar with wikis because of the popular web site Wikipedia. A wiki is a web site that allows users to edit pages without knowing any programming language. Companies such as Wikispaces and Mindtouch provide wikis free of charge to educators.

      You can use wikis for close readings of poems, plays, essays, or other texts, as well as for involving students in collaborative writing assignments or research projects that require incorporating images and videos. Students can easily create pages, edit existing pages, upload files, and link to other web sites. In many cases, work completed in a wiki is tracked by the user, making it easier for group projects to be fairly graded.

    Blogging

    • A blog is a site in which the author posts a topic, and other users respond by posting comments. Many news companies use blogs, but they can also be useful in the classroom. For example, teachers may have their students submit a weekly response paper that addresses a particular topic or theme. Using a blog, the instructor posts a guiding question, and students submit their responses as comments.

      Language teachers can also use blogs to enhance their teaching. They can post a video or some text to the class blog, along with a question or series of questions that students must answer in the comment field. Responding will hone students' listening and reading skills, while giving them the opportunity to practice writing in the language they are studying. Since blog comments are public, students will have to read their classmates' responses to ensure that their own comments are unique. The public nature of comments also encourages students in the same class to learn from each other.

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