Monday, May 17, 2010

PBS Frontline in the Classroom

I'm not a big fan of using videos in health class. Even if I did use them a lot, I wouldn't have enough time in 45 minutes to use a decent full-length video, and would never dare to take up multiple classes unless the video was REALLY good. I do use video clips in a variety of ways, especially if I can find one that's up to five minutes long and can introduce a topic, reinforce a point, or tie together loose ends during a lesson.

In order to use video clips, I use a Firefox add-on to download YouTube videos. I can't access YouTube at school, so I make sure to get the leg work done at home. However, sometimes I find a longer clip that begs to be shown, and sometimes this happens to be streaming online.

Enter PBS Frontline. I used this last year during a unit on advertising (using resources and clips from The Persuaders) and I just recently showed some clips as part of our ongoing unit on HIV/AIDS Education. I used parts of two clips, about twenty minutes total, in some of our past classes. The episodes can be viewed online in segments, eliminating the need to download any videos. The segments break up longer episodes, making it easier to pause and ask questions/refocus students during segments.

Frontline contains episodes about a myriad of topics, and the collection of episodes on their website is extensive. If you click on the "Watch Online" link, there are consistent episodes going back to 2003, with a few select episodes going back to the 1980s. A great advantage of using Frontline clips/episodes is the extensive amount of extra material accompanying each topic. Interviews, timelines, maps, charts, articles, etc are all provided. These resources can prove to be a huge asset when trying to supplement curriculum material or expand upon information on a higher level. I highly suggest you try using clips from Frontline in your classroom!

If I do use longer videos in class, I have a specific exercise students complete as the video plays. I'll be sure to post that soon. As always, please e-mail me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

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