Using You Tube to support learning

This week’s teaching forum was led by our geography Curriculum Leader, Ben Crockett.  Ben was getting frustrated with the lack of commercially produced revision resources available for his students, particularly ones that would support them with remembering the case studies.  He wanted to be able to provide high level instruction for his students beyond the classroom, that went beyond the bog standard BBC Bitesize videos and was of the same high standard that students have come to expect from their geography teachers.

To address this, he created a departmental ‘YouTube’ channel.  Ben and his team then created short videos of themselves creating and explaining case study diagrams, and started publishing them on the channel.  The videos also contain exam questions and model answers, narrated by a subject expert (their teacher).  During the videos, the teachers support metacognition by explaining their own thought process in the creation of the case study diagram and how this knowledge can be applied.  Here is an example of a video:

The channel is here.

These case study videos link into the ideas of providing visual cues to aid explanation and dual coding (using text and images to support learning).  By being able to have multiple exposure to these explanations at home (or wherever they like) and then practising drawing them over and over (and being able to self-mark their versions, by comparing them to the video version), they become fluent at doing it.  They also ensure consistency in terms of quality explanations across the teaching team.

It’s worth stressing that this is not flipped learning.  These videos are not used to explicitly teach complex ideas – that happens in lessons (as it should).  The videos are there to support what has happened in lessons, at home.

They have also supported parental involvement in learning.  Parents have given the geography team very positive feedback about the videos.  They like being able to watch the videos with their children and then asking them questions about the content – which of course, supports retrieval practice.  Most parents want to be able to support their children with their learning – but they don’t know how.  This provides them with an opportunity to do just that.

Is it working?  Views on the channel have been very high – 17,770 to date.  This suggests a high level of use by students, parents and other visitors.  Attainment in GCSE geography this year was very strong (84% A*C & 44% A*A – both 20% above national average).  When this is broken down further, students achieved very high marks on the specific GCSE exam questions that relate to the case study questions – when compared to national averages and ‘similar centres’.

In terms of next steps, the geography team want to further develop the You tube channel, so that is has a wider range of video resources, focusing on exam question response formulation and deconstruction.  Alongside this, videos will also be developed that focus on core geographic skills and statistical analysis.

Advice for teachers looking to something similar

It doesn’t have to be complex.  A simple stand (or clamp stand borrowed from the science department) and flip cam/iPhone will do the job.  Editing can be done using a simple tool such as ‘moviemaker’. The focus should be on the quality of the narration/instruction – you have to imagine that you are teaching the content to the students, but whereas in lessons you can question and review points, make mistakes and correct them, the videos are didactic.  With this in mind it is important that you phrase things carefully or model how to take a basic point and develop it into a higher level explanation.  This last point is vital – the videos are only a cue to memory.  The basic case study drawings only provide cues from which students need to develop and expand answers.

Posted by Shaun Allison

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One Response to Using You Tube to support learning

  1. Reblogged this on DT & Engineering Teaching Resources and commented:
    Using You Tube to support learning

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