"Typology of non-optimal video use"

I tend to skip through reading your blog posts when I'm busy. If I'm lucky, others of you will post tweets or blog posts pointing me back towards the good stuff I've missed1.

Wes Fryer posted about potential copyright issues with showing 10 full-length films in a semester. I saw it, glanced through the list of films, and moved on. Luckily, Damian Bariexca2 did a quick post wondering about potential ethical issues when blogging about your own son or daughter's teachers. While that's not an issue very pertinent to my life, it was enough to help me discover a gem lingering in the comments over at Wes' joint.

Towards the end of Wes' post, he wonders what Renee Hobbs, who is described as "one of the nation's leading authorities on media literacy education," would think about such practices. To my (and seemingly Wes') surprise, she wrote a thorough post discussing the issue.

Surprisingly to me, it is legal to show full-length films in class, though Dr. Hobbs notes that legality isn't the same thing as being educationally sound. You should really read her post (here it is again), but she basically says it's probably more educationally sound to create a clip reel focused on the desired learning objective instead of showing a full film, gives suggestions of how to create clip reels, and also suggestions for how to broach the topic with the teacher.

More interestingly for me, Renee Hobbs drops a link to her paper, "Non-Optimal Uses of of Video in the Classroom," where she included a "typology of non-optimal video uses." I recommend reading at least this section of her paper (though the rest is quite good as well), which starts on the page 6 of the pdf document. Here's a brief overview:

  • Typology #1: No clearly identifiable educational purpose.
  • Typology #2: No use of pause, rewind, or review.
  • Typology #3: Large group viewing experiences give teachers a "break."
  • Typology #4: Teacher mentally disengages during viewing experiences.
  • Typology #5: Teacher uses TV viewing as a reward.
  • Typology #6: Teacher uses media only as an attention hook.
  • Typology #7: Teacher uses video to control behavior.

In my few years of teaching I've seen some pretty, um, "interesting" films being shown in the classroom- many of which don't get beyond typology #1. This is one of those papers I'd love to see passed out to faculty at the beginning of the school year, but I'm not sure I'd have the huevos to do it myself.

Do you use films in your classes? How do you use them?


Image credit: Hello, My Name is Inigo Montoya by oxygeon; shared with a cc-by-nc license.


  1. Which is one of the reasons I really don't like Twitter's new retweet feature. It doesn't show the retweet if the person being retweeted is someone I follow. I, for one, would like to see when the other people I follow deem posted links and tweets worth resharing. Just sayin'.     (back)
  2. Do you believe I spelled that right without looking it up? Score!    (back)