Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Lights, Camera, Action! the Role of Movies and Video in Classroom Learning

Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Lights, Camera, Action! the Role of Movies and Video in Classroom Learning

Article excerpt

Increased technology support in classrooms allows for enhanced opportunities for faculty to make use of multimedia. This article focuses on how faculty can best utilize movies and video clips to enhance student learning. A review of the fundamentals from a technical perspective is provided, as well as techniques to incorporate movie clips in active learning instruction. Support for faculty in the use of technology in teaching is essential in today's classroom.

Current college students have grown up with a plethora of technology at their fingertips. As a result, they bring expectations to the classroom on what technology will be available to use and that indeed, faculty will use this technology to support learning inside and outside of the classroom. However, the availability of new technologies to enhance classroom learning presents challenges for faculty who may not have received training in this area (Baldwin, 1998).

Historically, movies and video clips were one form of technology used to enhance classroom teaching. Many of us recall the use of film strips and black-and-white movies in our youth, and now we have the ability to use more sophisticated visual media. The mere shift or upgrade of video materials, however, does not make their use for improved learning automatic. As we move from a focus on teaching to student learning (Barr & Tagg, 1995), the role of visual media also needs to shift from use for passive learning by students to active learning in classrooms.

A great deal of work has been done to better understand student learning. KoIb (1998) created a learning schematic that encompasses the wide spectrum of learning orientations. KoIb 's learning model builds on the concept that there are two dimensions to the learning process: on one continuum are concrete experiences of events and abstract conceptualizations and on the other continuum are active experimentation and reflective observation. Thus, when individuals acquire new learning, they are making choices regarding their level of active involvement and reflection in the learning process. Movies and videos can provide ways for learners to take the abstract and apply it to concrete experiences, especially if they have not had any personal exposure to the ideas at hand. Faculty can use visual media to reinforce theoretical concepts as applied to practical applications in their discipline. This feature is especially useful for undergraduate teaching in which students may not have as broad an array of lived experiences. Adult learners benefit from seeing some of their experiences played out on the screen, sometimes with different outcomes

Movies have been used to help students acclimate to college (Seyforth & Golde, 2001), link theory to practice (Aiex, 1999; Harper & Rogers, 1999), orient pre-service education students (Pedras & Horton, 1996), and review teaching in films (Dalton, 2004). Popular films can provide a means for students to identify something with which they are familiar and apply it to learning new concepts (Gregg, 1995; Hinck, 1995). Using movie clips can enhance classroom experiences via active learning (Bonwell & Sutherland, 1996) and aid students in seeing the world in a different way, with humor in films providing an additional site for teachable moments.

Attendant with faculty using movies and video clips to improve student learning are technical issues of how to show the clips, consideration of the appropriate pedagogical applications to enhance student learning, and specifics on how to use media as a springboard for active learning. Faculty members must consider how to critically choose film clips or create video clips that best serve their intended purposes and mesh most closely with their preferred way of teaching. Following is a review of the roles faculty and students take in classroom learning, the technical aspects of using video clips, and suggestions for faculty developers for encouraging the use of movies in the classroom. …

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