I always keep my eyes open for good videos to use during instruction. There are two kinds of videos I use: videos I use during class (the topic of this post), and videos for students to view independently outside of class (the topic of my upcoming post). I use class time for videos when there is an opportunity for interaction that will strengthen their take-aways; I don’t want to use class time on something students could view more passively on their own. Viewing video appeals especially to my younger learners and holds the attention of everyone. More importantly, it takes the source of knowledge off me and helps students see that learning is accessible outside of class.
I primarily choose videos for class that allow students to face their misconceptions, because making mistakes is what leads to real learning. Another important feature is an age-neutral style that doesn’t seem childish. When I’m looking for videos, I am consciously trying to find ones that capture the big concepts (and address the major misconceptions) of the subject. I select very few math videos because I am not interested in showing my students procedures for calculations; choices of conceptually based videos are few. I want videos that will give them something different than they have already had from their school experiences.
Let me share two examples of video I would play during class. When we’re studying graphs, it leads to questions about the relationships between the two variables. “Why is one going up as the other is going down?” “Which is the independent variable and which is the dependent variable?” “Does one cause the other?”
Here is where I show this video, but not from start to finish. I play the introduction where Ionica Smeets says that ice cream causes drownings and the graph of these variables and their trend is on the screen. When I pause the video, I ask “What do you think about ice cream causing drownings?” Together, we face misconceptions such as if it’s in a graph it must be true, if an expert said it on stage it must be true, and especially, if we see two variables in a graph create a line, one must cause the other. Try it now. Play the video yourself up until the point of this question and answer if before you watch the whole thing.
A remarkable video for introducing scientific thinking is Can You Solve This? on the Veritasium channel. This video is also an excellent pause-and-participate video, giving students a chance to pose possible numerical combinations along with the people in the video – and therefore come to the same realization that they should try to disprove what they are thinking to solve the puzzle. This channel, named with a combination of words that together mean “an element of truth,” is an excellent collection of misconception-facing videos.