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Tips for Making Video Viewing an Interactive Event

Planned effectively, the use of multimedia such as videos can enhance student motivation and learning. Providing various prompts prior to watching a video helps students focus their attention and makes viewing more engaging (Richardson 6). Consider the following strategies to change passive viewing into a dynamic event:

Find Out what they Already Know

Have students list what they think they know about the topic addressed in the video. After viewing the video, have them revisit and revise their lists based on what they learned from the video. This can be followed up by small and/or large group discussions.

Focus Their Viewing

Provide students with questions that they can answer as they are viewing the video. Give them a few minutes to review the questions before showing the video. Also, put the questions in an order that matches the video. After answering the questions individually, they can compare their responses in dyads, triads or small groups, which can be followed by a large group discussion.

Small Group Collaborative Viewing

Divide the video into several topics and develop questions specific to each topic. Assign small groups a different topic. After the video, allow the groups five to ten minutes to discuss their topic, compare answers, and come to some consensus. Finally, have each group share their information with the whole class.

Start, Stop, and Predict at Critical Points

Show a video. At critical points, stop the video and have students analyze it and predict what will happen next. Show the next portion and compare their predictions with what really happened.

Similarities and Differences

Divide students into small groups. Have each group make a T-chart and write Similarities on one side and Differences on the other. Then, prior to watching the video, give each group two concepts. After watching the video, have the small groups list on the T-chart how these two concepts were similarly and differently portrayed in the video. Have group representatives present their charts.

Retell the Story

If it is critical that students remember what they watched, consider having them retell the story. After viewing, have one student (volunteer) start to retell the story. Then, have all of the students take turns adding a sentence to the re-tell.


Richardson, K., and Fay Glosenger. “7 Strategies to Enhance Video Use in the College Classroom.” The Teaching Professor Aug./Sept. 2006: 6. Print.

SPARKed. “Tools and Techniques for Using Spark in the Classroom.” SPARK in Education. PDF file.
“Using Video in the Classroom.” English Central: Schools & Teachers. PDF file.

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