The educational use of video in schools is growing from the arts to sciences.  Because of the huge amount of video development, faculty and librarians see the use of video in education growing appreciably.  

Most of the video viewed today is shown with audiovisual viewing equipment, such as projectors and large screen televisions. The big change is that video sources are shifting from offline analog storage (DVDs) to online digital release, enabling the use of computer monitors and tablets.

Because of today's evolving technology, the process of media creation and distribution is faster and less costly than ever before. With the ability to use the Internet and web resources, the time is right to better implement video in classroom scenarios. Educators will need to realize the trends in teaching and learning are changing.

There have been numerous studies conducted regarding the use of film, instructional television, and video to enhance learning. A study with a sample of 15- to 20-year-olds found that those who had been frequent viewers of Sesame Street at age 5 had significantly better grades in English, science, and math. They also read more books for pleasure, and had a higher incentive to realize goals.

Coupled with the ability of entertainment media to engage the learner, video can activate emotional states, initiate interest in a topic, and allow for absorption and processing of information. Teaching methods that include the use of video and audio will reach more students and provide more opportunities for advance improvement and learning.

Instructional Television (ITV) found that ITV students outperformed non-ITV students on tests; scored higher on writing assignments; used more figurative language than non-ITV students; applied more varied and creative approaches to problem solving; and were more active in classroom discussions.

Instructional videos, skill builders, games, audio files, images, writing prompts, and encyclopedia reference materials have been proven to increase achievement. Video libraries bring to life real-world STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts.

The cable television industry in conjunction with A&E, Discovery, CNN and the History Channel, provide schools with commercial free educational television programming. Many of these programs have lesson plans available along with program calendars.

Cable in the Classroom magazine offers detailed listings of the educational programming, sorted by subject. Children that were involved not only had a superior ability to recall facts, but they showed improved analytical performance. Also, their overall interest in math and science increased after exposure to the programming.

YouTube for Schools provides schools access to hundreds of thousands of free educational videos from YouTube EDU. These videos come from well-known organizations like StanfordPBS and TED as well as from up-and-coming YouTube partners with millions of views, like Khan Academy, Steve Spangler Science and Numberphile.

Schools can customize the available YouTube EDU content and create playlists that would be accessible only within the school's network. Educators can watch any video, but limit student viewing to programs that the educators and administrators select.

Schools do not necessarily have to use professionally made videos in their curriculum. With the ease of posting on YouTube, educators can make their own educational videos, such as explaining rules in grammar or math; presenting short stories with grammar or vocabulary explanations; or demonstrating science experiments. An educator can start with a webcam or any other video camera to film and then use a video editing tool like Windows Movie Maker to edit.

The instructor can visit to find three different tools to create videos. GoAnimate enables an instructor to create cartoons. The characters can be animated and set in different scenes. The instructor can use the built-in text-to-speech tool or, record their own voice.

With Xtranormal, the scenes are slightly more static than with GoAnimate but camera angles can be switched to make them more vivid. Stupeflix will animate pictures and videos into a great looking video slide show. This is great for vocabulary learning videos, showing a picture of the vocabulary and then adding the text in the description.


Research suggests the surprising benefits of video games in teaching children valuable skills like problem solving and leadership. What was once accessible only through words and symbols can be experienced in a visual way, which can help students work with planning and problem-solving. One of the best returns of learning through video games is the virtual experience, which enables children to develop the ability to understand real-life situations without actually experiencing them.

Games that necessitate players to search, negotiate, and plan various tactics in order to progress to the next level, and execute strategies can help develop students' brain growth. Students can expand decision making skills by understanding a game's rules. The student's ability to select and modify characters helps with their self-expression.

Some video games, such as Sim City encourage students to design maps or create cities, helping them build creative and technical skills. Doing things that they cannot experience in real life, can be part of the learning process. A child can become an international financier, trading raw materials, buying and selling goods in different parts of the virtual world, and speculating on currencies.

Students can discover themselves, while immersed in a rich, virtual learning experience, walking in a different world or a wholly new environment as they plan manned space flights or navigate a medieval castle. Video games are not just for entertainment, but employed in an educational environment, they can be used by educators to teach many subjects, such as science, history, math and social studies.

According to a recent educator survey, 94% of classroom educators had effectively used video during the course of an academic year. Video is an instructional medium that engenders excitement. Using sight and sound, video is the perfect medium for students who are auditory or visual learners. Video taps into emotions which stimulate and enthrall students. This is especially true with historical videos, such as Gone with the Wind. What student would not have a new appreciation for science after viewing Apollo 13 or Gravity.

The more engaged a student is with the interactive lesson, the more a student will enjoy, learn and retain information from the videos. Video is a very flexible medium with the ability to stop, start and rewind. A video can be paused while the students are challenged to predict the results of a demonstration, or expand on, or debate about, a point of historical interest.

A specific segment of a video can be rewound to view a section in slow motion to make certain that the students understand an important concept. Interactivity can be ensured by replicating activities, workshops, demonstrations and experiments in the classroom environment.

Current research uncovered that the most effective way to use video is as an augmentation to a lesson, as specific learning objects are determined. It is just another teaching aid to be used along other resource material. It should also be obvious that the instructor should preview the video prior to using it in a class.  

Most of us have learned by watching others engage in different activities, such as your mother cooking. Is watching video any different?

Because of the expanded interest in using video in educational environments, there are many opportunities for video producers to use their talents to create films that have educational value. 


Len Calderone – Contributing Editor



Len contributes to this publication on a regular basis. Past articles can be found in the Article Library and his profile on our Associates Page

He also writes short stores that always have a surprise ending. These can be found at


Len Calderone