We live in a world of massive video content - almost 5,000,000,000 videos are watched every single day, on YouTube alone, amounting to 900 million hours per month - that's 102,739 years worth of video/month. It's crazy! It's no wonder that we are having binge watching issues that we've talked about before. Video feeds our consumption addiction, and sadly is often used as the primary way in which we engage our students in the classroom. However, if video is such an enticing medium, can't we use it more effectively?
The first step is to understand your approach to teaching with technology. The ETA (Education Technology Assessment) model helps you identify the type of teaching you are engaged in when it comes to using technology in the classroom. There are two dimensions. The first is the content that can either be based around consumption or production, and the second is the learning approach which is either passive or active.
Why are we getting it wrong?
It's not the teacher nor the technology that is to blame when it comes to being effective in the classroom. All too often I come across reports saying how technology is bad for teaching and learning. This is akin to saying that a knife is bad for cooking because a chef cut his finger. It's all about technique...not just the tools. Even the most enthusiastic amateur chef with the best equipment still needs a recipe to produce great food. So too for teachers with technology. The recipe we need is a digital pedagogy. The problem is that until recently there was no digital pedagogy, quite simply because we just didn't understand how our modern generation learns with technology.
The @CTIVATED Classroom approach, the result of years of research, is a first of it's kind digital recipe (pedagogy) that is designed to guide teachers to be more effective with using technology in the classroom. The pedagogy shows teachers how they can shift their teaching from the less ineffective quadrants of the ETA model (PC/AC/PP) to the highly effective active-producer (AP) quadrant by teaching using the various layers from curation up to the higher layers of creation and chaos.
Harnessing our 900 million hour addiction
So, we have an addiction for video content, but passively consuming content is not the most effective way to learn. So rather than consuming video content how about engaging your students in actively producing video content. There are so many ways this can be done (and I cover many of these in our online course). Here's an example of two videos created by students that show how powerful this pedagogy can be.
Not only are students motivated as they become creative, but they have to carefully think through their content before creating the script. Additionally, the movie is an artefact that remains as a testimony to the students learning and also is a great tool for further conversation and even formative assessment. What a way to develop the "World's Best Students"!
The World's Best Teacher
One of the best parts about the @CTIVATED Classroom approach is that it does not only apply to your students. We are all students after all. And so there is no reason why you can't also be actively creating videos rather than simply consuming them. Not only can you have the "World's Best Students" you can become the "World's Best Teacher". Watch this video for some real inspiration of what is possible. #ENJOY being an @CTIVIST!
I recently wrote an article that explored the impact of the current trend of binge watching on students' learning. The bottom line is that we are becoming a consumption obsessed society - a society that would far rather indulge in passive consumption that active production. The research by Common Sense Media found that 41% of a teens 9 hour tech day (yes, that's more than they sleep) is spent on passive consumption.
Now Netflix, a cultprit in this rising scourge, has revealed that there is a group of people who are not just binge watchers, but extreme bing watchers.
“There is a tiny minority of people who will just binge through the whole thing in the exact amount of time, from the second we launch it at midnight California time,” he said. “13 hours later, or exactly how many hours are in the show, they’ll finish.” (Netflix)
That's scary! These people are so consumption focused they will watch an entire series, minute for minute, without a break.
The impact of all of this is that we are increasingly becoming a content consuming generation. This is made worse by schools feeding this habit by encouraging passive engagement with technology, like watching videos, or playing games. That is not to say that these technologies can't be effective. However, if we are using technology in our classrooms simply to keep attention, we are doing little more than feeding a binge habit that will do little for developing key cognitive skills. Motivation without pedagogy is entertainment!
Technology offers amazing opportunities to engage students in learning - not through passive consumption, but through active engagement like conversation, curating, creating content etc. This is where the power of a digital learning approach lies.
Here's hoping we won't be seeing extreme binge watching schools soon!
Dr. Craig Blewett is the author and founder of the Activated Classroom Teaching (ACT) approach. He helps schools and universities around the world towards the effective use of educational technology.
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