Video Resources Review

While updating the links to this blog, I decided to check in on some of the video resources available. I was thinking especially about teachers and students who now have access to the internet via their Mac Books and PolyVision Boards, in the computer labs and in the library. The video resources that we can stream and use for discussion are so much greater than the 3000 VHS video tapes we still have in our library collection. Here is a quick review of four video resource links I still think are useful.

Annenberg Learner/

From their About Us Page: Annenberg Learner’s multimedia resources help teachers increase their expertise in their fields and assist them in improving their teaching methods. Many programs are also intended for students in the classroom and viewers at home. All Annenberg Learner videos exemplify excellent teaching.

I like it because: It is produced by a reputable organization whose aims have students and teachers in mind. I also like that their site allows you to search the videos according to discipline and grade level, which limits the number of hits you’ll get. Some suggested titles when I searched for High School (9-12) Science, for example, were (with descriptions lifted from their pages):

  • Earth Revealed: Explore the complex processes that shape our planet. Video instructional series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners. (Didn’t work when I tried it)
  • The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science: Learn about Earth’s natural systems and environmental science with this course for high school teachers and college level instruction.
  • Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth: Watch scientists investigate how microbes affect our world. A video documentary for college and high school classrooms and adult learners.
  • Physics for the 21st Century: A multimedia course for high school physics teachers, undergraduate students, and science enthusiasts; 11 half-hour programs, online text, facilitator’s guide, and Web site.
  • Private Universe Project in Science: Explore ways to correct student misconceptions about science in this video workshop for grade 1-12 educators.

Drawback: Video production is sometimes a little too “PBS” for students’ tastes. There is a very limited number of offerings, maybe two or three dozen per discipline, which may actually be a plus in the long run.

FREE: Federal Resources for Educational Excellence/…

From their About Us Page: FREE was conceived in 1997 by a federal working group in response to a memo from the President. The site was launched a year later. It was redesigned and relaunched for the first time in November 2006. FREE makes it easier to find teaching and learning resources from the federal government. More than 1,500 federally supported teaching and learning resources are included from dozens of federal agencies. New sites are added regularly. You are invited to link to FREE.

I like it because: It’s free. In an internet world that is constantly searching for new ways to monetize everything on it, it’s always great as a teacher to find free resources. This site breaks down information into long lists which is a little boring, but I do like that they also categorize their database into animations (only 27), primary docs (130), photos (79) and videos (40). What you’ll find as you search is that you will be redirected to sites such as the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. Here’s a sample of Videos available (with descriptions lifted from their pages):

  • American Memory : presents the photographs, manuscripts, rare books, maps, recorded sound, and moving pictures that are part of the historical Americana holdings at the Library of Congress. The learning section contains research tools, lesson plans, and activities for students. (Library of Congress)
  • Videos from Secrets of Plant Genomes Revealed! is a lively, upbeat video exploration of how plants got to be the way they are and how we can make better use of them in the future. Learn how plant genome research is revolutionizing the field of biology. Find out how scientists are unlocking the secrets of corn, cotton, potatoes, and other plants that are important in our lives. Discover why the study of plants is exciting and how learning more about plants can improve our everyday lives. (National Science Foundation)
  • NSF Multimedia Gallery provides nearly 100 videos and webcasts on a range of science topics: a fossil that may represent the first vertebrate to emerge from the sea, turning forest-industry waste into fuel and textiles, “superglue” produced by aquatic bacteria, a house built on a “shake table” (earthquake research), teaching robots to swim, 14 engineering challenges for the 21st century, solving a crime scene mystery, a 60-second history of the universe, earth’s deep-time archives, dinosaurs, and more. (National Science Foundation)

Drawback: This is a great clearinghouse for many organizations receiving money from the government and responsible for maintaining the “national memory”; the site itself, however, doesn’t do much more than act as a search engine for these resources. Unfortunately, for me, none of the three web animations I tried from the various links worked the day I tried them. Even after updating my Adobe Flash player.

Open Yale Courses/ …

From Their About Us Page: Open Yale Courses (OYC) provides lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public free of charge via the Internet. Registration is not required. No course credit, degree, or certificate is available. The online courses are designed for a wide range of people around the world, among them self-directed and life-long learners, educators, and high school and college students. Each course includes a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video accompanied by such other course materials as syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets. The lectures are available as downloadable videos, and an audio-only version is also offered. In addition, searchable transcripts of each lecture are provided.

I like it because: If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to attend a world class university, all these videos are evidence that it’s exactly what you thought it would be like. Smart person in the front of the room, talking to a bunch of people listening in the audience. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in group work and differentiated instruction and the student centered model, but what culture shock it must be for our students who work through these other models for all their years in school, only to find the “sage on the stage” or “chalk and talk” as the primary model in college/ university courses. If other models are used in any of the courses, I didn’t find one among those I surveyed. Among the titles I viewed were (with descriptions lifted from their pages):

  •  HISTORY 234: Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600: This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
  • ENGLISH 291: The American Novel Since 1945: In “The American Novel Since 1945” students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel’s form, fiction’s engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class.
  • PHYSICS 200: Introduction to Physics I: This course provides a thorough introduction to the principles and methods of physics for students who have good preparation in physics and mathematics. Emphasis is placed on problem solving and quantitative reasoning. This course covers Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, gravitation, thermodynamics, and waves.

Drawback: These are all straight up lectures. Viewing them is just like having a friend tape all your classes for you so you never have to attend a 9 am lecture again. It’s not bad though, if you want to have a “guest” lecturer cover a topic, without having to pay the speakers’ fee.


From Their About Us Page: Since 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television’s flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its debut on PBS as “the last best hope for broadcast documentaries,” FRONTLINE’s stature over 30 seasons is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience.

I like them because: They are PBS’ premier documentary program and they always have videos that lend themselves, in part or in their entirety, to the classroom. They now have 138 videos available and because they continually add the most recent broadcast to their catalog, it is an ever expanding treasure trove of high-quality, reputable documentaries. A sampling of their latest offerings include:

  • Dropout-nation: Aired 25 September 2012. Education’s hidden crisis. Four students are followed for a semester to highlight the pitfalls they face in places considered “drop-out factories”.
  • Money, Power and Wall Street: Parts I – IV: Aired 24 April & 1 May 2012. Four part presentation that attempts to explain what happened in 2008 with the financial meltdown. Incredible narrative involving really smart people in charge of incredibly large piles of money with no one double checking their work. They fooled themselves into believing they were alchemists, instead of bankers.
  • Digital Nation: Life on the Frontier. Aired 2 February 2010: I’ve recommended this film on this blog before, but it is worth revisiting just to see how much has changed in less than 3 years. Even more than when this documentary first aired, I see young kids completely connected to their digital pets and disconnected from their surroundings.

Drawback: I don’t have much bad to say except that there are less than 150 titles to choose from, and many of them cover controversial topics in a very traditional documentary style, which might not keep all students interested. That’s not really a criticism of Frontline, but of the audience we’ve become.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.


About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
This entry was posted in Favorite Sites, recommendations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Video Resources Review

  1. VideoMD says:

    Health medical vidieo is avilable . To get more vidieo .

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