Teachers agree that videos are a great learning tool that can be used to engage students with visual and auditory stimuli. The benefits of using videos in teaching are many. Videos bring the topic alive by taking students across the nation, across the world, out into space, or back into the past to learn concepts, facts and ideas in an interesting, immediate and relevant way. By bringing concepts and ideas to life, videos create a learning experience, enhance the learning process, and help students retain the information being taught. The ability to rewind to review a specific portion for clarification or discussion makes videos flexible teaching tools. They appeal to both auditory and visual learners and can keep the attention of even the most distracted student.
Although teachers would undoubtedly support the use of videos as excellent learning tools in the classroom or as supplements to classroom instruction, many are unable to gain access to educational videos of sufficiently high quality content. YouTube might offer a huge inventory of videos but most are amateur creations with no teaching value. Maybe there are some videos on YouTube that might be able to complement a teacher’s curriculum, but there is a huge cost in the time involved in searching for them, reviewing them for content, and incorporating them into lesson plans.
Our company, Sprout Labs, has developed a series of engaging iPad apps on various topics in the sciences that include professional quality videos that have been curated from a variety of relevant sources. Our Ecosystems HD iPad app is divided into six sections – Grasslands, Desert, Forest, Tundra, Oceans and Wetlands and each of these sections offers vibrant videos. For example, the Grasslands section includes videos featuring real farmers and ranchers discussing, from their personal perspective, the loss of grasslands and wetland habitat and its impact. The Oceans section presents lively talks by real oceanographers on the mysteries of the ocean accompanied by amazing vistas of life on the ocean floor. In the Tundra section, the stark, cold and remote environment of the arctic tundra is brought to life, giving students a rare glimpse into a world they may never get to see in person. All the videos are professionally made by organizations such as TED-Ed and National Geographic, ensuring the authenticity and quality of the content. In curating a substantial selection of thought provoking videos that greatly enhance the topic, Sprout Labs has saved teachers the time and expense of doing the work themselves. Now they can focus on curriculum development, discussions and class time activities to complement the topic, and personalized help for students who need it.