Teach Students How to Watch Videos For Learning

Today’s students are consumers of videos for entertainment.  Is watching a video for learning/instruction different than watching a video for entertainment?  Yes, how you watch a video for entertainment is totally different than watching a video for learning or instruction.  This may seem clear to adults, but isn’t necessarily for students.   Most students do not realize that there is a difference, so we as teachers need to explicitly teach our students about the difference.  Giving students tips on how to watch a video for learning/instruction, then modeling in front of the students how to watch your videos for learning/instruction is important for flipped learning success.

Below is an acronym that I use to help my students remember what to do:  LIFT.  The first thing I want my students to do when watching a video for learning/instruction is to focus on Learning  versus just starting the video and letting it play.  Having the video play before your eyes does not mean you are learning the material.  Watching a video for learning means that the students should be Involved  in the video by pausing the video at times to either write notes or work on a problem before they watch me do the problem on the video.  They may even need to rewind part of the video if they either missed something or did not understand something.  Being Involved also means taking notes.  For me that means writing down, at a minimum, all the material that I write during the video.  

During the beginning of your course with the students, you should model what it looks like for students to be Involved in your video.  You can and should tell your students how to be Involved in the video, but you must model it for them.  To model being Involved in the video, play the video for the lesson in the classroom then pause the video at different points and tell the students why you paused the video and what they should be doing during the pause.  At times rewind the video and explain to the students why you are rewinding the video at this spot.  Depending on your students, you may have to do this for several days before they fully understand when to pause/rewind and why.  You may even want to tell your students in the initial videos when to pause/rewind the videos to help the students to get use to pausing/rewinding videos.

In addition to wanting my students to focus on Learning and being Involved in the video, I want them to Focus their attention on the video.  To help students Focus on the video. they typically have to deal with their Tech.   What does Tech mean?   It means if you are watching on a tablet like an iPad, turn off your notifications (so you will not be tempted to look at the latest thing to come from your friends during the video), close extra apps (music, game, and other apps), and close extra tabs in the browser of the tablet.  If you are watching on a computer, then close extra tabs in your browser (email, Twitter…), turn off your music, and close programs that you do not need for watching the video and taking notes. No matter on what device you are watching the videos, turn off your music, listen with headphones and deal with your cellphone (ideally turn it off or at a minimum turn off the volume and vibration so you will not be tempted to look at your phone when the latest notification comes through).

LIFT when Watching Videos for Learning.

·                  Learning -  be concerned about learning vs. just getting the video watched 

·                  Involved - be involved in the video by pausing/rewinding the video and take notes

·                  Focus - focus your attention on the video

·                  Tech - turn off notifications, close extra tabs, put electronic devices away, close  extra apps, do not answer cell phone calls and messages, listen with Headphones

 Modified from Lisa Light's FIT acronym

Technology is such an integral part of our students’ lives.  This simple acronym helps me remind students how they need to engage differently with their technology depending on whether they are using it for instruction or entertainment.