Non-Optimal Uses of Video in the Classroom

Hobbs, R.
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.