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Pros: Swank has a vast library of copyright-friendly, on-demand movie titles, and teachers can assign films via LMS.
Cons: It's a resource for all grades, but movies seem more geared toward middle and high school; pricing is opaque.
Bottom Line: Cloud-based library of movies eliminates the need for educators to subscribe to numerous streaming services.
How Can I Teach with This Tool?
Swank is a cloud-based library of streaming movies. The benefit of using a service like Swank is that it has licensing agreements with several film studios. This eliminates the need for teachers to personally subscribe to many streaming services. Many of the streaming services have short-term licensing agreements, so a movie that a teacher is planning to use could be taken away at any time. In addition, there isn't an easy way for students to watch from home. Also, streaming services have created barriers to make it difficult for teachers to project films on a big screen. And if a school wants to screen a film for the whole student body, it can be a copyright issue.
Swank's library is organized and curated in categories: Elementary Collection, Middle School Collection, High School Collection, District Collection, K-12 School Collection. Teachers can also make custom title requests. The pricing structure is customized; the website indicates that teachers should contact Swank to find out more. In terms of how to use it, most teachers are already familiar: Movies have long been used as an instructional tool. In addition to documentaries, films can be used to deepen understanding of historical events, to practice hearing a language students are learning, and to compare novels to their respective film adaptations. Since the onset of remote learning, film has had an increased role as a learning resource. Teachers can also assign movies using a flipped classroom approach, and then discuss in class.