Learning with Cable

  1. Find out what’s available.
    Check the Programming & Resources page for highlights of cable’s educational resources. Visit the educator Web sites created by cable networks for more in-depth resources directly related to using their programs in your classroom.
  2. Preview the program.
    Is the program or Web site suitable for your needs? What parts are relevant to your curriculum? At what point in your plans will it be useful? A video or Web resource should be an effective teaching tool, and the resources available here give you a variety of powerful ways to reach all sorts of learners.
  3. Plan your lesson.
    Ask yourself these questions:
    • What is my objective?
    • How does this video or website support my objective?
    • What new concepts and vocabulary will my students need to learn?
    • How will I evaluate what students should have learned?
    • What activities can I create to accompany this that will enhance students’ comprehension and reinforce or extend the new concepts?
    • Is there an educator’s Web site for this program, with lesson activities and ideas?
    • What other multimedia resources are available?
  4. Prepare your clip.
    Show only the best parts of the website, videotape, streaming video or DVD. You needn’t show an hour long documentary if only one or two five-minute segments really fit your needs, or three pages of a website if one will do. Bookmark the Web pages or use the VCR’s counter or the DVD’s index to allow you to easily skip to the appropriate passage. Streaming video clips make it easy to hone in on just the right segment.
  5. Prepare your students.
    Students will recall what they have seen if they know why they’re watching and what they should be looking for. Discuss what you are about to see with your students and go over any advanced concepts or vocabulary. Outlines and worksheets can help focus students’ attention during a video or digital resource. Give students things to look for—that makes them active participants.
  6. Position yourself.
    You should be near the VCR/DVD player or have a remote to control the machine. You should also be in a position to monitor the class. Do NOT do other work while the video or activity is running; that implies you do not consider the activity important. And leave the lights on. Kids can see the TV just fine and are less likely to tune out or get restless.
  7. Pause and explain.
    Stop the video so you can explain and emphasize key points, check student comprehension and keep them alert. It’s a great way to prepare students for something important that’s coming up or to ask them to predict what will happen. Pausing allows students time to absorb new information, process it, and move it into memory.
  8. Pose a question.
    As soon as the program or clip ends, ask a prepared question that will reinforce what the students have just seen or that will extend newly learned concepts to other situations. Take time to answer students’ questions and review the important information you wanted them to gather from the program.

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