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11/5/14 2:00 AM Rebecca Whittenberger


Student engagement strategies can be both fun and productive at the same time. If you're struggling to keep your students' attention, here are three ways video can help.

Did you know that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text? Social media posts with a video element grab the attention of three times more people.

Facebook and YouTube have been around for a while and are used by millions. Vine, a newer video platform, was founded in 2012 and has taken the online-video-watching-world by storm. (Vine allows you to record just six seconds of video at a time, which is just enough to grab your attention.)

Getting hooked on videos

Videos are like Pringles — once you pop it you just can't stop it. The few times that I have watched videos online I get hooked. Whether you watch videos on Vine or YouTube or even in your Facebook feed, videos pull you further and further into the internet and keep you occupied for hours.

Because video is such a powerful “hook,” it should definitely be one of your student engagement strategies.

Engaging your students’ attention spans with the right media

I once was told a person has the attention span of their age. If you take your age and convert it into minutes, that is how long you can pay attention (on average). So if I am twenty-four years old, I can listen to and focus on one thing for about twenty-four minutes.

Now think of the average age of kids in your class – seven, ten, sixteen – the ages vary but either way it is not a lot of time. But just like Vine hooks you in a measly six seconds, you can engage your students by having them focus on different things for smaller amounts of time.

To that end, here are three ways that you can you can use video to grab your students’ attention and get them more engaged.

Strategy #1: Incorporating video into PowerPoint

Your average power point presentation consists of twelve to twenty slides. Each slide takes about two minutes to get through. When you add up the time, you are well over the allotted attention span of your students. Even if your lecture time is set for just thirty minutes, you’re going to lose most of your students after the first fifteen.

Next time you plan an in-class lecture, play a video at the fifteen-minute mark. Having a video placed in the middle of your lecture will help break up the time, increase engagement, and hopefully reengage those students you lost a while ago.

Strategy #2: Creating videos in class

Friday afternoons are one of the least productive parts of a work week, and it probably is the same in your classroom. Try ending your lecture a little early on Fridays and have students create a video clip featuring something they learned in class that week. Divide them into small groups and instruct them to use the cameras on either on their cell phones or the class computers’ webcams.

By having your students create a video during class time, they will be able to have fun and be productive simultaneously while reviewing material from earlier in the week.

Strategy #3: Sharing work via video

After your students have created their group videos, ask them to upload them to Vine or YouTube so that you can grade them and keep track of participation (Ving is a great way to turn in work as well). Keeping track of participation will keep everyone on task and having fun.

Then have students present their video work in class on Mondays. What better way to start off the week than by watching your classmates’ videos? This gives students something to look forward to each Monday and will allow for an easy first day of the week for both students and teachers.

Keeping pace with technology

These video engagement strategies offer students several long-term benefits in today's ever growing tech society:

  • Collaborative work is a common practice in many jobs. Students will eventually be expected to work well in groups and they should learn those real-life skills as soon as possible.
  • Creating videos monthly or even weekly and then allowing your students to present them will help them feel more confident, increase their academic engagement, and improve their public speaking abilities.
  • Comfort with technology is vital in almost every job today. From computers and projectors to smartphones and internet skills, the more your students can comfortably use these platforms to communicate, the more competitive advantages they’ll have.

Have any other great ideas for using videos to engage students? Let us know in the comment section!

Today's article co-written by Karen Bell, Ving Success Representative

 10 Steps to Student Engagement Free Download