Friday, April 20, 2012

Videos Improving Education

By Sean Scarpiello

Recently in my Genetics class, many students were struggling to understand some of the concepts we were learning in class. Upon discovering the class’s difficulty with some of the material, the professor asked us what kind of learners we were. She passed out some notecards and we each wrote whether we were visual, auditory, or experimental learners. After tallying up the cards, the professor found that the majority of the class was visual learners. My professor was then presented with a challenge. How can she help her students understand concepts in a visual manner that went beyond the textbook and its pictures? My genetics professor turned to a type of media that is underutilized in the education field yet works great.

The professor went online and found videos on different credible sites of the different processes her students were having difficulty with. The detailed pictures in our textbooks did a mediocre job of explaining the different processes that we were learning about, but the online videos gave us much greater understanding of the material. When students were able to see exactly how proteins and DNA were interacting in the cell in real time, they were able to grasp the difficult concepts easier. This also allowed the teacher to pose questions about the set up. After the video presentation, students were able to answer questions about how different manipulations of the DNA, proteins, and cell would have on the entire process. So not only were students able to learn about the concepts on a basic level, but the teacher was able to get students to understand the concepts to a degree where students could analyze and manipulate the information. Overall, I felt this was a great way which is often underutilized by both teachers and students.

A few days after this genetics video, I needed to study for an integral calculus exam where I found myself struggling to remember concepts taught before spring break. I understood the different steps of the math for the most part, but I still needed guidance to walk me through some problems again so I could completely grasp the concepts. After looking at my vague notes, I turned to YouTube to help me out. I actually found a lot of math videos of a tutor working the problems out step by step and explaining each step along the way. The link provided led me to the tutor’s site where there were hundreds of videos on everything from basic algebra to multivariable calculus. The site,, was also credible, which was crucial for proper studying. In all, I watched the problems and even did the math along with the tutor to see what mistakes I was making and why those mistakes were wrong. I pretty much had my own tutor which I could replay multiple times and even email questions if I had any.

Overall, I feel that videos are drastically underutilized in education. There are so many different types of media these days that we often forget to employ all of them to their full ability. I think that many more students and teachers could benefit by watching videos which simply explain concepts in a different manner than what the textbook says or how the professor teaches them. This will allow students to have a much better understanding of the material so they can analyze and work with this information better in both tests and future jobs.

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