Non-Optimal Uses of Video in the Classroom

Hobbs, R.
Renee Hobbs
Abstract: 
This paper examines some instructional practices concerning the non-optimal uses of video, films
and other mass media in the K–12 classroom. Based on a six-year process of observing and
interviewing teachers regularly in two school districts in Massachusetts, USA, this paper presents a
typology of seven common patterns of non-optimal media use, instructional practices that diminish
or weaken the value of film and video viewing as a learning tool. A telephone survey was conducted
with a purposive sample of 130 middle-school and high-school teachers to provide additional
evidence concerning teacher perceptions of the frequency of their colleagues’ non-optimal use of
video. Teachers in the USA report that their colleagues frequently use media for non-educational
purposes, including to fill time, to keep students quiet, as a break from learning, or as a reward for
good behavior. The implications of non-optimal media use are considered in light of renewed
interest in integrating media literacy into K–12 instruction.
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