One of the challenges with teaching in today’s classroom is making the content dynamic enough, and relevant enough, to reach your students. It is obvious to us who teach – we are passionate about the subject and are used to explaining ourselves and our craft to a skeptical audience. Once our students are hooked, it is a beautiful thing to behold.
Yet, how do we incorporate reliable images and other visuals into our curricula? We could buy the DVDs or amass a collection of documentaries, which could be both time consuming and expensive. We could instead get a Netflix account, which is a great way to have access to documentaries via the streaming feed (which is accessible via your Internet connection) or even check out a rotation of Roman documentaries to port to class.
Another shortcoming of this method is editing the content. Maybe you don’t want to watch all 50 or so minutes, but instead want to incorporate just a few moments of what life was like to illustrate new vocabulary or some other concept. Instead of plopping in a DVD and finding that part in the film and then ejecting it to maybe do it again for another segment or example or even for another class, you could use a resource that is free, easy to use, and accessible at your fingertips – YouTube.
Why? For starters, there is a plethora of content available on YouTube that could cover a topic you are interested in conveying to your class. For example, there are full documentaries uploaded as well as various video of numerous trips to Rome and its sites. If you can’t go and take the footage yourself, someone else already has – why not make a use of it?
The other concern is time – you don’t have all class to dedicate to a documentary but you would like to get your students to focus on maybe one incident. A lot of times sections of these documentaries are uploaded so you can find a clip that would give an appropriate example. You don’t have to dig up the DVD and edit it yourself or try to find that particular scene from the movie. You won’t have to spend your weekend previewing various films and then editing just to get that 2 minute clip into your class. Instead, do a search for whatever topic and you’ve got it!
But what is the best way to gather all of these clips into an organized fashion so that you can come back to them whenever you want? Create a YouTube channel! It’s very easy and chances are, you have a Gmail account already – so use it to create an account with YouTube and you now have a channel.
The next thing you will want to do is create a playlist – this basically is like creating a giant DVD to collect all of your film clips on so that you can come back to it and play whatever clip you want. Maybe you want to make a playlist that is general like Roman History or another that is more specific like the Roman Republic. What you would then do is search for clips and then add them to your designated playlist (there is a little + sign in the bottom right of the thumbnail of your video or just under the video there is an add button). You can even leave a little note so you can remind yourself later why you saved that clip.
Another great benefit of having your own YouTube channel is it can serve as a resource for your students to be referred to. Maybe you want to assign some homework and you can always have your students refer to the clip you played in class for reference. Or, better yet, assign to them a new clip they had never seen before in order to get their reaction. There is a lot you can do.
You also are not limited to only video clips from movies, documentaries, etc. Maybe you will want to use movie trailers or video game clips. Maybe even grab recordings of various songs – there are numerous examples of recordings that are trying to recreate Roman music that you could always ask your students to react to.
YouTube is also accessible via mobile devices and your students, most likely, already know how to navigate around it. In fact, don’t be surprised if they give you some tips on how to use YouTube to make class more exciting – and that is precisely what you want: to involve your students in their own education! That is an engaged, 21st century learner!