In recent years, the short educational film has taken on an increasingly larger role within education. While some challenge that this is actually a new technology, the root of short educational films go back to the 1940s when the filmstrip was first introduced into American classrooms. The filmstrip, later replaced by VHS cassettes and then DVDs, provided a safe and reliable form of presenting information to students. And while these methods were popular in classrooms for years, there were problems — namely the fact that content would quickly become out-of-date and was cumbersome to use.
More recently, we’ve moved away from the piles of DVDs, videos, and filmstrips and have become more reliant on a web-based educational video platform. Web-based videos can be updated regularly with fresh content, shared in the classroom or at home, and can even be created by our own students. But how do we ensure that we are using a safe platform for sharing video? The last thing a teacher wants is their students' work becoming fodder for negative comments online, or students navigating inappropriate content when viewing.
With that in mind, I’d like to share seven student-safe curriculum-based platforms where the educational short can be presented in classrooms:
The Science4Us curriculum is a complete, standards-based, core science curriculum that delivers digital science experiences to early elementary students. Science4Us provides foundational science knowledge in a way that truly engages the learner and will lead more students to reach for the STEM-related jobs and industries of the future.
Just as many students have limited exposure to science, so have their teachers who are supposed to find a way to squeeze science into their class time! And that’s why part of the mission of Science4Us is to provide a curriculum that increases teachers’ comfort with and commitment to teaching science.
The Science4Us lesson plans are a one-stop resource for preparing for your science class time. The lesson plans include activity previews, a suggested sequence for the activities, an approximate time frame for each session, details about the objectives of each activity, and informative videos.
Newsela is free for students to explore a world of nonfiction, and test their comprehension. Updated daily with real-world news from major publications, students can participate in conversations about the most urgent topics of our time, all while becoming stronger readers.
Every article contained within Newsela is available in at least five different levels and is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, bringing high-interest current events into the classroom.
Brainfeed features educational and entertaining videos for children ages 7 and older, including, tweens, teens, and inquisitive adults. Brainfeed is designed to be fun, easy to explore, and child-safe.
The app is 100 percent ad-free and link-free, and has a "parent gate" to keep smaller children from accidentally accessing the subscription page. It’s a great new resource for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers.
Using a Pandora-like searching function, students can ask questions such as, “How big is the ocean?” and receive videos not only on their query, but also on related topics.
Launched in 2011, Educreations quickly transformed many classrooms. Using the app to turn their iPads into interactive whiteboards, teachers began creating their own video lessons and sharing them both in the classroom and online.
With this amazing app, the act of recording a video lesson and posting it to the web is significantly easier and less time-consuming for teachers, and allows educators to create beautiful plans with a product that is fast, fun, and easy to use. Beyond allowing you to plan, create, and share lessons in far less time than before, many teachers have found new and innovative ways to use the app, including letting students create their own videos and contribute to the digital lessons.
Study Jams helps students learn common math and science topics using a kid-friendly character-based dialogue. Most of the videos contained within Study Jams use sports and music as a background for learning, and are presented from a student’s point of view, typically in the context of one student teaching another.
Using Study Jams, a student can find over 200 videos (jams) on topics such as weather, gravity, and place value. Each jam provides access to related items, and many also include “test yourself” and “sing karaoke” options.
Middle school is where the ability of parents to help their students with math tends to dissipate. Even the most highly educated and devoted parents tend to have difficulty recalling the concepts they learned while in their early teens.
Virtual Nerd provides real math help for middle grade students, hosting over 1,500 video lessons covering middles grades math through Algebra 2. The short, searchable videos provide definitions, practical application, and examples of all CCSS and more.
Learn about science, math, social studies, and English with interesting videos, lessons, quizzes, games, interactive diagrams, activities, and presentations for kids in a 100 percent kid-safe environment. Each video on Neo K-12 has been reviewed and screened by classroom teachers.
Adding a component of gaming and quizzes to their videos, Neo K-12 provides multiple options for students to learn about a particular topic. For example, a simple search of the word “atom” returns dozens of quizzes, games, lessons and videos on the topic at all grade levels.