Using Television in the Classroom
Using Classroom TV
reprinted from Learning magazine
The Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education asked teachers who are successfully using ITV how to make the most of the experience. Here's what they said:
- Preview the programs first to see whether and how they'll work with your lesson's objectives.
- Practice with your equipment and make sure you've rewound the tape. Fumbling with equipment is no way to spark student interest.
- Use the board or overhead projector to write out a few questions relating to the video. Go over the questions before running the tape so students will know what to look for.
- Use the teacher's guide. Select activities to do before and after viewing the program.
- Don't turn off the lights! Keeping the lights on will remind students that this is not a passive viewing experience.
- Don't hesitate to use the pause button. Stopping the video to check student comprehension will keep students on their toes. This will also provide an opportunity for students to ask questions.
- Consider a second viewing--especially for younger students. This gives students a chance to think more clearly about the program.
- Allow students to discuss in small groups what they've seen. You may also suggest that they summarize, illustrate, and write down their thoughts.
Don't Turn Off the Lights: Tips for Classroom Use of ITV
by Dr. Faith Rogow (reprinted with permission)
There are lots of ways to watch television and our purpose for viewing has a significant impact on what we take away from the experience. Most TV viewing is for entertainment and relaxation, and that's fine--unless we want people to remember what they've seen. Television can be a powerful educational tool, but it we want our students to absorb specific content from what they see, we need to give them a model for viewing that is active and critical. For starters,
- view from videotape rather than real-time broadcasts
- don't be constrained by programs; only use the segments you need
- don't use the television as a babysitter
- Think about what you are trying to accomplish. If you can achieve your goal without using video, you may want to reconsider your use of TV. However, video can help accomplish things you can't do any other way. TV does the following very well:
Spark interest in a new subject area. Imaginative and quick paced video can inspire your students to pursue a subject.
- Demonstrate something you can't show any other way, such as a satellite's view of changing weather patterns, the inside of a human body, a math concept that involves motion of 3-D geometry, the sounds and sights of a rainforest, the sound of various accents in a foreign language, a chemistry experiment that is too dangerous or too expensive to do in the classroom, etc.
- Enrich content by demonstrating new applications or insights.
- Practice a skill such as note taking, problem solving, predicting, listening, etc.
- Review a lesson you have already presented so the students can hear and see it in a different way.
- Prepare -let students know why they are watching, what to look for, or what you will ask when the video is over. The younger the student, the more detailed the description should be of what they are going to see.
- Participate - View interactively. Sing along, answer questions aloud as they are posed, pause to discuss possible outcomes or solutions before the video presents them, pause to check for comprehension, pause to predict action, write down clues, etc.
- Connect to other activities - Bring the video lessons off the screen and into the classroom or home by choosing follow-up activities that connect the viewing experience to hands-on exercises or real-life experience. With younger students, be sure to explain the connections between the video and the activities you do.
Copyright: Insighters Educational Consulting 1997
Uses of Television/Video in the Classroom
To guide South Carolina schools' decisions about the selection and uses of television/video in classrooms, SCETV, with permission from the publisher, has excerpted parts of the 34-page book, The Power of Classroom Television: A marketing and advocacy document for use by classroom television professional.
The credits printed in the book state: "This document was proudly produced by the NETA Center for Instructional Communications (CIC), Board of Directors and membership. This publication was edited and assembled by Brandon Barnes, KERA/KDTN - Dallas, Texas, October 1997."
Information on how to order copies of the complete book is provided at the end of this excerpted version.
Classroom television, WHAT IS IT?
It's more than just educational programming. It's created specifically for the classroom, designed around your existing curriculum, and it comes with an assortment of help accessories, like classroom handouts, posters, previewing and post-viewing ideas, and resource listings.
There are a variety of programs from all kinds of producers covering math, science, reading, writing geography, languages, the arts and so much more. Most of these programs would never get to the classrooms were it not for this television system we call public television and the state educational agencies interested in providing this powerful technology.
Classroom television delivers a vast inventory of high quality curriculum-based video resources; addresses standards and learning objectives directly; is supported by research and teacher experience which proves its effectiveness; is the most economical educational resource; provides easy access for teachers; provides professional teacher inservice training; and closes the gap between print-oriented teaching and technology-oriented students
Providing the power allows teachers and students to step beyond the bounds of the printed page and the blackboard to visually:
- experience ideas and new concepts
- see facts in a different way
- learn about cultures, places and people
- think critically, analyze and synthesize
- integrate with other technology
How Technology Improves Instruction
"Research efforts at CTW and elsewhere continue to demonstrate that the power of television, so widely recognized in politics, advertising, entertainment and journalism, applies to education as well, when programming is produced with equivalent professionalism" --CTW, The Power of Television to Educate.
Read the positive findings from 14 studies to support using television/video in classrooms:
1. A SIX-WEEK STUDENT PERFORMANCE STUDY: CLASSROOM TV VS. NON-CLASSROOM TV.
A study was conducted by Teacher's College at Columbia University and WNET Thirteen's staff to examine the impact of Instructional Television (ITV) on student's learning over a six week period. Pretest scores confirmed there were no significant differences in the intelligence and achievement levels of the three test classes. The findings, however, are quite significant and encouraging.
- ITV students outperformed non-ITV students on tests.
- ITV students scored higher on writing assignments. They surpassed their non-ITV counterparts considerably.
- ITV students used more figurative language than non-ITV students.
- ITV students applied more varied and creative approaches to problem solving.
- ITV students were more active in classroom discussions.
- ITV students learn better when more ITV is used. The study supports the extent to which ITV is used in the classroom and ITV has a direct influence on student learning.
Comments by the study's participating teachers. Three eighth grade teachers taught both an ITV and Non-ITV class with identical lesson plans and objectives.
All variables were constant except the use of television.
"My ITV classes were much more focused on learning due to the inclusion of video. The students were more open to exploring ideas and perspectives different than their own. Now that the study is over, I'm relieved to be able to use ITV in both classes."
-Dana Freeman, Teacher, Gill St. Bernard's School, Gladstone, New Jersey
"I noticed a definite difference between the students using ITV and the students in the Non-ITV class. My ITV students were much more attentive and engaged in the lesson. My Non-ITV students were not very happy about the projects. They kept asking, "How come they get to see it and we can't?" After the six week period, I went back in the Non-ITV class and showed the kids the video segments they missed."
- Ronni Pressman, Middletown JHS, Middletown, NY
"ITV is a real boost to student motivation. In my ITV class, I could instantly engage students with video. In my non-ITV class, I worked twice as hard with less effectiveness. Getting the students' attention and focus on science topics is critical and ITV provides that."
- Bill Dabney, Pomona Junior High School, Pomona, NY
2. The Children's Television Workshop (CTW) conducted a series of studies that focused on comprehension, appeal, impact on scientific interest and appropriateness of material for several series target audiences. These series were 3-2-1 CONTACT! and SQUARE ONE TV. Over 600 children in 24 fourth- and sixth-grade classrooms were included in the study.
The researchers concluded on 3-2-1 CONTACT!:
- Children understood and remembered information presented on the show and demonstrated not only the ability to recall facts, but also an improved ability to answer open ended questions on related topics.
- Children enjoyed the shows and demonstrated some increased degree of interest in science after watching.
For the series SQUARE ONE TV researchers worked with 48 fifth graders in Corpus Christi, Texas and found:
- Viewers' problem-solving performance improved after consistent exposure to the program regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
- Viewers' mathematical performance improved: solutions were more mathematically complete and sophisticated.
3. Another study working with 195 third and sixth graders using the SQUARE ONE TV series concluded:
- In general, the show appeals to both sexes. When differences do occur, girls find the show more appealing than do boys. This is particularly important because girls usually lag behind boys in mathematics.
- Children understood and remembered the mathematical information on SQUARE ONE TV, and in most cases, were able to apply it to new problems.
4. A second study examined comprehension of selected problem-solving presentations among 140 third-sixth grade students. Three levels of increasing difficulty were assessed: recall, understanding, and extension. The findings included:
- Even the youngest children were able to recall important problem-solving information, answering approximately 80% of the recall questions correctly. Performance increased with age, reaching 90% for sixth graders.
- Third graders gave satisfactory answers to 65% of the questions aimed at assessing their understanding of segments' underlying mathematical and problem-solving content. This is significant, because some of the material presented in the segments had not been covered in their math classes. Again, performance increased with age, with sixth graders answering more than 80% satisfactorily.
- Children were able to extend the problem-solving principles presented to new situations. In some cases, they employed the same procedures used by the characters in the segments.
5. In August 1995, TVOntario published the findings of three previous major teacher surveys regarding the utilization of instructional television.
The findings were in the surveys titled: TVOntario: Educational Television in English-Language Schools in Ontario; CPB: Study of School Uses of Television and Video; and BBC/ITVA: School Television in Use:
- All the results "clearly indicate that teachers who use educational television acknowledge and welcome its benefits. Of teacher television users, 90% in Ontario and 91% in the United states find that television is helpful and has a positive impact on education. Of the CPB survey sample, over 83% of users found that television helps teach more effectively."
- In the TVOntario survey sample, over 90% of the teachers who used educational television agree that the programs:
- help students learn new information
- spark students interest
- help students understand concepts
- encourage classroom discussion
"The use of technology provides powerful stimulation, motivation and learning opportunities for teachers."
One of the prime reasons to integrate technology use in the classroom is to make instruction more effective for both teachers and students. Most teachers still rely on the classical didactic method of lecturing, in which the teacher pours knowledge into the receptive brains of passive students. With the proper training in the use of technology and quality (video programs), teachers can develop more interactive, engaging methods of instruction.
6. The authors of the Report on the Effectiveness of Technology in Schools 95'-96' studied 176 research projects published in professional journals and as doctoral dissertations. At least two studies supported the use of video materials for learning disabled students, stating "almost two-thirds of the students reached or exceeded criterion performances."
7. A second study that explored the use (of video) by fifth and sixth graders with a video on comets using two different instructional pacing strategies, found that students who used a learner-paced (video) version of the program significantly outscored those using the program-paced version.
8. A study on the effectiveness of satellite-delivered high school anatomy and physiology instruction versus the same instruction provided face-to-face found that "Students who received satellite delivered instruction achieved at a significantly higher level than students experiencing face to face instruction."
Four groups of Indianapolis school teachers participated in research regarding instructional television. Researchers looked at the effectiveness of an ITV program, It Figures, with fourth grade mathematics classes.
"These results show how teachers use instructional activities specifically designed to complement instructional television programs and how the effectiveness of television in the classroom can be significantly increased."
The results of one group using broadcast plus activities were superior to the performance of students in each of the other three groups.
9. A study was conducted in Mississippi comparing the differences between students in 70 schools with the highest use of instructional television and students in 35 schools with the lowest use of instructional television.
"The purpose of the research was to ascertain whether schools with the highest possible usage of ITV had a higher student achievement on the state's accountability testing program than did schools which had the lowest ITV utilization."
"Significant mean differences favoring high ITV utilization schools were found for reading vocabulary, spelling, mathematical concepts and applications and battery total on the California Achievement Test. A regression analysis of the data also showed that no linear relationship existed between utilization and wealth nor between utilization and total enrollment. ITV usage is not dependent upon the size of the school district or upon per pupil [dollar] expenditure."
10. "The following conclusion was supported by the findings of a study of a composite group of twenty Mississippi school districts, which provided 2,200 fourth grade students as a sample. Ten schools had instructional television in structured viewing classes and ten schools had non-structured television viewing classes. Both large and small districts were used. Reading achievement from the California Achievement Test was used as the criterion variable. The finding was a statistically significant and positive result showing that structured television-viewing students had a significant relationship with reading achievement among fourth-grade students."
11. In the Fall of 1991, teachers at four sites around the country used the series FUTURES for a semester. At the end of this time, the number of African-American students interested in a career in engineering had doubled. (These fields were covered in the FUTURES episodes they had seen)
12. An independent study examined the impact of The Eddie Files, a series of classroom television programs for elementary students, on the attitudes of more than 500 students in five US cities toward mathematics and math-related careers.
The pretest interviews revealed the following:
- Student interest in mathematics and math-related jobs declined throughout the elementary grades;
- Nine in ten students described math as "boring."
- Only one in ten of the jobs in which they expresses interest involved mathematics;
- Twice as many students expressed interest in careers in sports and entertainment as in careers that used mathematics and science.
After students viewed episodes from The Eddie Files and completed lessons from the teacher's guide for the series over a period of two months, the following improvements were noted:
- Six in ten students reported that they were more interested in learning mathematics;
- Seventy-five percent stated that mathematics in not "boring";
- The number of students who said that they would like to have a job that uses math increased by 14 percent.
- Students were better able to define concepts covered in the episodes, more likely to give "correct" answers to content-related questions and better able to list applications of the curriculum topics which had been addressed.
Response from the teachers was similarly positive:
- Sixteen out of twenty rated the series "very effective" in raining student awareness of careers that require math knowledge;
- Eighteen out of twenty rated the series "very effective" in engaging student interest, with most commenting that The Eddie Files helped students overcome stereotyped beliefs by presenting women and minorities doing non-stereotyped jobs;
- Fourteen out of twenty thought The Eddie Files could help them teach science;
- Nineteen out of twenty expressed a desire to acquire and use additional episodes of the series.
13. Independent studies of classroom use of FUTURES have shown that it has a positive, long lasting effect on student attitudes. For example African-American students' interests in a career in engineering went from 29 percent to 58 percent, and Hispanic students interest in a career in architecture went from 28 percent to 65 percent after they viewed episodes on these fields over the course of a semester.
14. Researchers from 25 universities are tracking student performance in a dozen K-12 classrooms in Nashville, TN; Cupertino, CA; and Columbus, OH. Findings from this decade-old program clearly show that children do better and are absent less often when computers, CD-ROMs, video and other technologies (including ITV) are routinely available.
The improvements are significant. At all levels, technology lifted scores on standardized tests by 10 to 15 percent. Children mastered basic skills in reading, vocabulary, and computation 30 percent faster. When technology came in, high school students stayed in school: dropout rates fell from an average of 8.4 percent to 4.7 percent. And in districts where only 15 percent of all students had pursued higher education, suddenly more than 90 percent went on to college.
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This document from which the above passages were excerpted was produced by the NETA Center for Instructional Communications (CIC), Board of Directors and membership. This publication was edited and assembled by Brandon Barnes, KERA/KDTN - Dallas, Texas, October 1997.
Copies of the complete book may be ordered directly from:
Center for Instructional Communication
National Educational Telecommunications Association
P.O. Box 50,0008
Columbia, SC 29250
Phone: 803-799-5517 Fax: 803-771-4831
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