Use of Video in the Core Curriculum

CCScienceWhat was that breakfast food (or was it a beverage) they used to advertise that is “not just for breakfast anymore?”  Well, videos are not just for video class any longer! There was a time when video in education was mainly used in electives such as a video class or morning news show production. Great things are learned in these non-core classes such as researching, script writing, public speaking and the use of technology.

But these days, there are incredible ways of using video in the core curriculum as well while making great use of modern media.  It’s also an excellent way to implement new teaching methods to students who are challenged in certain areas.

Let’s face it.  Videos have become a part of our everyday lives exceeding our desires for entertainment.  We as adults are educated via video each morning as we open our web browser and are greeted with breakfast videos reporting on earthquakes, environmental issues and presidential campaigns.

Students have not only embraced video technology, but their demographic has helped to shape the current landscape of how videos are viewed and used.  Our communication to them through this visual tool is like speaking fluently to someone in their native tongue.  Ideas, concepts, theories and instruction are clearly understood.

Generally speaking for all subjects, start the video process at the beginning of the school year and be consistent.  Think of how recording course and classroom expectations can eliminate confusion among students and teachers.  From an introduction in the fall to the end of the school year, creating an on-going video process will not only educate your students but will also give you a mirror to measure your methods and their effectiveness as a teacher.

Now, here’s the best part – it’s easy and convenient.

Students live in a world where moments are captured on the spot and ready for playback instantly.  Whether you teach math, science, English or history, try setting up a camera on a tripod at the back of your class to capture lectures, demonstrations or student discussions.  Some teachers may even want to assign a camera person for the class period to zoom in on text being displayed on the board or a class mate who has been called upon to answer.

Publish your content
Now that you have captured important moments of teaching and instruction, post the video for easy access so that students can review from school and especially from home.  This is a great benefit to students who may have challenges in reading or math.  Not only can they review the material as many times as they like, but the enthusiasm to do so lends itself to comprehension.

Here are some tips for each subject.  While these are just a few suggestions, allow each to be a spring-board toward other methods as you consider future lesson plans.  Since many of you reading this article may be media or technology specialists, be sure and forward these ideas to your teachers.


Video the following:
• Course overview (teacher introduction, grading, expectations)
• Special events such as the science fair or robotics competition
• Lab experiments (see this great video example


Video the following:
• Course overviewCCMath
• Your instruction from the white board or SmartBoard™ which may include a demonstration of fractions or writing algebra equations
• Try a demonstration on calculus that uses camera shots of the text book with you or a student as the host (like a cooking show).  Imagine what a student will learn when he or she has to teach a topic.

Social Studies

Video the following:
• Course overview
• Student reports on current events
• Students interviewing others about political candidates and elections (roving reporter style)
• Students pointing to locations on a map as they demonstrate geographically related topics to fellow classmates

CCSocialNote:  Social studies have proven to have an endless stream of video applications, such as students interviewing local politicians, aids patients and documentaries on current social issues.

English Literature

Video the following:
• Course overview
• Oral book reports
• Poetry readings (you may want to get permission from publishers before recording or posting to remain copyright compliant)
• Role playing of literary characters
• Discussions on literary works and poetry, such as a class thought sharing on their interpretation of Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”

(Get creative with English Literature, there so many avenues to explore).

Language Arts

Video the following:CCEnglish
• Course overview
• Students reading aloud from books or their own compositions
• Students demonstrating reading comprehension through verbal explanations
• Lessons in phonics
• Spelling Bees (this one can be a lot of fun)

Foreign Language

Video the following:
• Course overview
• Verbal translations by teacher or students
• Student interaction and role playing while communicating in foreign languages


Video the following:
• Course overview
• Discussions and lectures
• Oral reports
• Text book reading (be careful about publishers copyrights)

Now that you have some tips for core subjects, here are some suggestions on how videos can be used in elective classes which address the core curriculum:
- Use current events and social topics in your morning new show
- Have a featured core subject each week in your morning news show
- Invite core teachers to come and be interviewed on camera or give instruction on a topic of their subject
- Have students in a video class go and video important in-class sessions for math, language arts or science
- Have the video team at your school cover outside school events such as science fairs, spelling competitions and end-of-year awards ceremonies where students are recognized for their achievements in a particular subject

Did any of these stir your imagination?  Hopefully, you have some new ideas for the upcoming school year, and documenting the course of the year may be a great method as well for students to see their progress.  Year - end highlights of some candid moments captured during the course of your year while the camera was rolling may be a great send off for your students.  The ideas just keep coming, don’t they?

There are so many ways to use video, and not just in the production areas of your school, but right there in your own math, science or English class.  Yes, video is not just for video classes any more, and you can also have them for breakfast as well as you begin your day.  And the advertisement for the food or beverage that’s “not just for breakfast anymore” -   was for orange juice.

Barry S. Britt is a creative and executive producer of music for film and video at Soundzabound Royalty Free Music and conducts staff development on video for the core curriculum.