School has gone back… and so the homework battle begins.

But this is not your typical homework post. I am not going to argue the merits for and against homework. Instead I’m going to shift the discussion.

Early on in my teaching career, I cottoned on to a good thing. I set videos as homework. After all, what child doesn’t like to watch tv? For those who didn’t have internet at home (I started off in a school made up of many families who struggled to make ends meet) I would show the video at lunch. Videos are a fantastic way to learn. My favourite TED talk which explains why videos are so fantastic for learning is from Salman Khan. He began by making videos for his cousins, who he had been tutoring. But then his cousins told him that they preferred him on video, to his real life self! He realised this was, in part, because they could pause him, rewind, re-watch, and learn at their own pace. By September 2014, his videos had been viewed more than 492 million times.

Salmon Khan (Image Credit)

Salmon Khan (Image Credit)

So what does all this have to do with you and your child? Or if you’re a teacher, what does this have to do with you? Well, if there is a concept, or content, you want your children/students to understand – consider finding a video. You could set it for homework to review what has already been taught, or my favourite, set it to be watched so that it can be discussed in class. Guaranteed to get your students/children talking and excited about the upcoming lesson.

 Some of my favourites!

Everyday Smarter Series – Physics: This episode, for an example, explains how a cat manages to almost always lands on their feet and how understanding this helps us study the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

 TED Talks

If you haven’t discovered these, I don’t know where you’ve been living. Here are two of my favourites (from my two great passions, education and psychology). Ken Robinson and Phillip Zimbardo are absolute legends in their field.

Physics (again). This professor puts himself in the path of a ‘wrecking’ ball that could kill him, to illustrate the point of the conservation of mechanical energy.

 

The amplification of energy: How you get a domino that is only 5mm high and 1mm thick, to knock over a domino that is more than a metre tall, weighing more than 100 pounds.

Slayer Exciter Circuit. Helps explain a few different things, such as voltage versus current (much of this is beyond me but my husband loves it)

BBC History for Kids – has a lot of videos as well as games.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/forkids/

 

But before you start loading up the videos for your children – a few tips first!

1. Watch the video yourself first.

Ok, this sounds obvious, but even some ‘G’ rated videos sometimes have content you might not want them to see. This is especially important if you are watching videos over the internet. Some videos get interrupted for advertisements, let alone the adds that can pop up. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Make sure you have the adds blocked.

I remember sending home a link to a video for some of my students to watch. I got a complaint letter the next day that the site I’d sent them to had porn on it. Unfortunately that family had the adds turned on. How had that happened? Possibly they were never turned off  Possibly one of their children had experimented and accidentally turned them on. Maybe they could’ve downloaded something unknowingly which ran adds (yes there are programs that do this and you might not know you’ve unwittingly downloaded it). At any rate, there are a number of ways to block adds. You can block them before you even connect to the internet.

Google offers ways to get rid off minimise unwanted adds

https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662850?hl=en

Or, if you need a little more detail – search for a video!! There are some great step by step videos.

3. Check your download limit.

Watching videos over the internet can chew through your data limit. Be careful! Once you expose your children to the delights of youtube, there is no turning back. It’s like Pandora’s box, the won’t be able to stop themselves searching for everything and anything. Which in a way is good – you have enabled them to be independent learners… But it now means you have to be vigilant.

4. Always have the computer in view.

Just incase something you’d rather them didn’t see pops up. Or they become creative in what they search for. But also so you can have conversations about what they’re watching. Like my chores blog post last week – if you take an interest in what they are learning, and deem it important, chances are they will place more importance on what they are learning. So get involved!

 

So click away and get learning! If you discover any great series – let me know! I’m always looking for new ways to learn ūüôā

 

Again, this week I’ve linked up with Jess for ‘I Blog On Tuesdays’. This week she’s written a funny and thoughtful post on answering that horrible question we’re often asked, ‘Describe Yourself.

 

 

Written by Nadia

9 Comments

Caitlin

I wrote a homework post today too! – probably more your traditional pros and cons type of post! I like the video idea – particularly for older students. My children have online subscriptions that the school provides to games like Mathletics and Reading Eggs. They are very motivating for them to complete.

Reply
nadiamc

Mathletics and Reading Eggs great. They were initially designed by teachers from NSW.

Homework is a great debate! If you want to look into the effectiveness of homework – John Hattie’s research is a good read. Unfortunately a lot of people read what they want to see into his research. I’m lucky I don’t have the homework battle just yet. As a teacher I’ve used videos for homework for all year levels – where it’s appropriate. Like you suggest in your blog post, I always set a time limit for homework. As much as parents hate homework, when school’s I’ve worked at tried to cease homework – parents were the first to complain?? I think maybe it’s because homework gives them insight into what their children are doing in the classroom??

Reply
nadiamc

These videos are my favourites – primarily for that reason! I think with learning, like most things, variety is the spice of life. Hands-on learning wins time after time. Videos are great when hands-on just isn’t practical. Unfortunately it can take a long time to find great resources. So it’s always great to share them when you find them!

Reply
nadiamc

Such a great resource. Difficult to believe we managed to grow up without all of these awesome things!

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