Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2017

ClassHook

Popular video clips capture students' attention but require context

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–12
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Pros: Offers high-interest videos and links to standards, and the lesson-building features encourage user interaction.

Cons: Basic site has limited selection, and copyright permissions and advertisements may be questionable.

Bottom Line: Supplemental popular videos will engage students, but teachers will need to be deliberate in content selection.

The video content on ClassHook can be an effective, student-friendly medium for supplementing learning. Introduce a topic like chemical properties with a short clip from Mythbusters. Help students understand homeostasis using The Big Bang Theory. Ponder the concept of economic surplus via The Office, or visit an art gallery with Vincent van Gogh and Doctor Who. Evaluate essential questions using clips from Everybody Hates Chris or Matilda, or flip your classroom by assigning a series of videos on the environment and asking students to discuss solutions in class. Want to promote creativity? Have students view several videos on the same topic and then create their own videos to demonstrate their understanding. Teachers can also help students develop critical questioning skills by having them create discussion questions to submit to the ClassHook community.

Teachers can easily get lost going down the rabbit hole to search for ideas, so they should have a good idea of what they're looking for beforehand. Also, since many of the videos contain advertising, teachers should take proper precautions to avoid showing inappropriate content. If schools don't allow YouTube access, teachers may need to use a workaround such as SafeShare.tv.  

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ClassHook is a collaborative space that curates two- to six-minute video clips from popular television shows and movies, as well as partly developed mini-lessons to support instruction. After setting up an account, users can filter and save video clips by grade level, topic, subject area, series, use of profanity, or length. Videos are tagged by topic, with many covering multiple topics. Broad age-appropriateness icons include elementary school, middle school, high school, and college; however, due to the range of ages in schools, teachers will need to vet content for their grade level.

Many videos on ClassHook feature standards and discussion questions, but due to reliance on the user community to develop content, lessons are often missing or incomplete. In terms of support, there are links and blog posts offering ideas and justification for video as an educational tool, but not much to guide users in finding content. While the clip library is relatively small compared to what's available online, ClassHook continues to grow as users and developers suggest and add content.

Video is a powerful medium to which most students and teachers can relate. ClassHook delivers content that's short enough for teachers to use when introducing, reinforcing, or supplementing lessons. Using familiar videos from popular shows and movies can encourage students not only to see the connections to the lesson at hand, but also to think of video as a learning tool, encouraging active rather than passive media consumption. In addition, watching effective videos multiple times may support concept mastery.

Although ClassHook has the potential to be a very useful classroom tool, there are some concerns. For example, some common topics are absent (e.g., videos about the environment address "global warming" but not "climate change"), while other videos are missing relevant tags or may be ineffectual treatments of a topic. Also, although the developers claim that the site's copyright-safe, it's not clear that they've secured the appropriate permissions, so teachers should be prepared in case videos disappear from the site.

With ClassHook, teachers are able to introduce, supplement, and reinforce concepts in a way that motivates students and fosters independent learning. However, teachers may be frustrated to find that the videos and accompanying lessons don't support curricular goals and standards in desired ways. As with any learning tool, teachers should be deliberate about their choices for video and use best practices for incorporating it into their lessons.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

With proper planning, short videos can engage students, provide breaks in direct instruction, and promote discussion and critical thinking.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Relevant videos support visual and auditory learning and may reinforce concepts, but teachers will need to plan carefully to make the content meaningful for student learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The collaborative community encourages sharing and new ideas, but teachers searching for meaningful content may come up short due to the basic interface and tag inconsistencies.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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