Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
This site is best suited to teachers looking for visual explanations of difficult concepts, reviews of big ideas, or an engaging way to introduce a unit. It could also be used in a "flipped classroom" to provide instruction to students outside of school. For instance, if students are learning about African-American history, you could require them to watch a video clip about the Civil War on their own time. However, to do this, each kid must have an account with Education on Demand, and you have to provide the direct link.
If you're leading a unit on a particular topic, you could also create a playlist of videos. This playlist unfortunately can't be shared or organized into folders, but it could make the process of curating videos from the site faster. In addition, when saving a video, you have the option to choose the starting time, which is a great feature if you only want to show a brief section.Continue reading Show less
Editor's Note: Education on Demand has closed and is no longer available.
Education on Demand is a free site that provides a searchable selection of educational videos to anyone who registers. Once signed up and logged in, you can search by category or grade level to find a video of interest. Most videos are between five and 30 minutes long, and many are sectioned out into video segments based on specific content. For instance, a video on the seven continents is broken into seven sections, allowing you to watch a segment about each continent separately.
Videos are hosted by either Education on Demand, Khan Academy, or YouTube. (Depending on your school's Internet filter, this could affect the ability to watch the videos.) Videos that are hosted by New Dimensions Media, however, can be downloaded to a user's computer for later viewing. By clicking the share buttons, you could share a video link through email or a social network. A test of the share to Edmodo feature did not work correctly, however.
Videos can be a great way to engage students' imaginations, introduce new material, or provide deeper explanations of concepts. Many of the videos on Education on Demand's website are high-quality, and it's fairly easy to locate a video on a particular subject. Some of the videos, however, are older and not so fresh, while others can be a bit dull and may not engage all learners. Also, as with any multimedia addition to the classroom, whether a student learns depends on how the video's integrated into a lesson.
Education on Demand was definitely designed for educators or high school students looking for specific info. It could be a great way for an older student to study or do research on a particular subject, though it's primarily a teacher resource. The site is also missing a few obvious features that would create a more vibrant community. A social element and the ability to comment on videos would be powerful additions. There are social media buttons for each video that allow for sharing to various social networks, but there's no social curation system within the site itself. The rating system is also difficult to gauge as, unlike with YouTube or other sites with ratings, it's hard to tell how many people have rated a video.