Using video content safely in the classroom

By  Tiffnie Harris
ASCL Primary and Data Policy Specialist

The use of video-related content in classroom teaching is becoming an ever more popular way to engage children and young people in their learning, whilst also allowing them to follow up further at home in a medium that is increasingly accessible.

Michael Wilkinson spent over 20 years working in education before taking up the role of Managing Director of ASCL Premier Partner ClickView UK. In a recent Primary Podcast, I spoke to him about the benefits of video content to teaching and learning and in this blog, I explore some of our discussion further.  

In the podcast, Michael highlights three significant issues relating to the use of videos and online content in schools:
  • Workload 
  • Safeguarding
  • Legalities
Children spent on average three hours and 18 minutes per day watching television programmes
In the podcast, we discussed the above statistic from  Ofcom’s Children and parents: media use and attitudes report (2021).

The statistics go on to suggest that “children spent more time watching content (programmes, video and short clips) in 2020 than they did in 2019 (from 2 hours 54 minutes to 3 hours 18 minutes in 2020).”

Michael believes we could use part of this ‘screen time’ for the benefit of learning and education. He adds that teachers are increasingly using videos as a ‘de facto’ resource in classroom teaching, as was also the case before lockdown, due to, amongst many other reasons, the ease of access and use for students. 

What are the issues?

Teachers spend a lot of planning time identifying safe, suitable, age-appropriate resources and this eats significantly into teacher time. The recently published DfE report Working lives for teachers and leaders – Wave 1 highlights the many pressures on workload and teacher time, with 48% of their survey stating they spent ‘too much’ time on lesson planning.      

When looking for resources, for many teachers, YouTube is the ‘go to’ place. YouTube has some fantastic content, but this can add to workload. To illustrate part of the challenge, for example, a search for ‘verbs’ on YouTube will display a list of 28 million. More specifically, a search of ‘Key Stage 1 verbs’ also provides over 2 million results - which one of those is the best to use? Topics such as ‘sustainability’ also yield impossibly high search results, still requiring hours of work to find suitable resources.   As with such content, teachers really need to watch the entire clip, vetting for suitability for their learners, particularly if researching a topic such as ‘puberty’. Productivity time is being wasted in transforming the learning environment of the classroom before the lesson planning and outcomes have even started, and even then, videos are subject to adverts which impacts students focus and attention.

Compounding this challenge, teachers express frustration with content disappearing, leading to a lack of confidence locking into longer-term planning. 

Having already invested time vetting content for safeguarding and suitability, the challenge is further complicated when considering independent access and out of school learning.  

The same Ofcom research report highlights the statistic that “29% have seen worrying or nasty content online (aged 8-15s who go online in England).”

The importance of children and young people having their own logins to use outside of school so they can continue to access safe and age-appropriate videos supports parents and carers in giving them confidence there will be no unwanted adverts and, essentially, no safeguarding distractions.  And of course, it is also worth a reminder that You Tube’s own T&Cs state users must be a minimum of 13 years-old to use the platform.  

Extensive guidance and resources for education professionals, parents, grandparents and carers and children and young people are provided by the UK Safer Internet Centre, including information on how to report harmful content. 

Many teachers are taking to use their personal video streaming services accounts. Films, documentaries, drama and news are powerful tools for capturing students’ attention, providing sensory experiences and really bringing learning to life, so much so, the DfE fund a licence (the ERA licence) for all state schools to legally use TV content for educational purchases. Using personal accounts is clearly limited to in-class use which limits its potential, however, the major issue here is the terms of most streaming services do not legally permit this use. The recent password sharing cases from Netflix also highlight this with regards to personal streaming, let alone broadcasting to wider audiences. 

Further ideas and resources to help
In the podcast, Michael discusses how ClickView can support teachers, offering a central bank of vetted video resources that have sound education quality whilst also ensuring content is safe and legal to use for copywriting purposes. To extend activities further, ClickView also provide quiz style questions on top of videos, which gives more opportunities for classroom discussion and formative assessment.

As Michael says, there are many benefits to students and teachers using suitable video resources in the classroom and beyond to enrich learning and give teachers more time to do what they do best. Providing classroom-safe video content for schools alongside on-demand films, documentaries and news is a great aid for educators for all age groups and settings.  

Tiffnie Harris is ASCL Primary and Data Specialist and was in conversation on the Primary Podcast with Michael Wilkinson, Managing Director of ClickView, an ASCL Premier Partner. 
Posted: 18/04/2023 12:09:10