3 ways to use online videos in your computer science classroom

By Brian Collins on December 7, 2015

Whether you’re teaching computer science to a classroom full of youngsters or aspiring college grads, adding online tutorials to your curriculum can be a valuable instructional tool. And with this week being Computer Science Education Week, there's no better time than now to promote the value and fun of coding among your students. Here are innovative ways to use online tutorials within your classroom:

Resource for research

Most teachers assign research projects so students can practice locating relevant and credible information on their own. It can take the form of print, electronic or online sources. Each have their limitations.

Supplemental print and electronic material can be hard to locate or use outside the classroom or library. Online video content is easier to access, but some sources can have less-than-accurate information. With the freedom to research the internet, your students may find the wrong information. Professional online training is a great research tool because it combines the advantages of accessibility and authority.

For individual or group research, try asking your students to identify a common problem they’re having in their work. Then, have them find a specific, workable solution through research into professional online videos. Next you can have them demonstrate their findings to the class so everyone can learn. Online videos are an efficient way to combine self-directed and collaborative learning.

Learning in different contexts

Students who can learn a skill or demonstrate knowledge in more than one context are more likely to master a skill or concept. Lectures and in-class work are common contexts, but field trips and homework serve as others. Since it’s impossible for you to lecture at a student’s home, the next best thing is having professional video authors work for you.

Students with mobile devices (i.e. most students) can watch and re-watch videos anytime and anywhere. Take advantage of these different contexts to assign practice or research. For practice, assign video tutorials for homework that cover concepts you go over in class. The new context will reinforce those ideas and show new ways of tackling the same problem. You can also show a video in class after a lecture to reinforce the point.

Improving your own skills

As a teacher, one of your greatest teach tools is keeping your own skills razor sharp. Online training is a convenient and cost-effective method. Use video content in class to show students how you find and apply new information. Choose something you’ve learned and demonstrate you own critical thinking skills. Share with them what and how you’ve learned. Make these moments spontaneous. It’s a powerful way for students to see a real-world example.

Celebrate Computer Science Education Week by implementing these strategies into your classroom, join the Hour of Code movement and discover other ways to get computer science students excited about coding!

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Brian Collins

Constantly on the hunt for all things newsworthy, Brian is a part of the team actively working on our blog and community forums.