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The impact of interactive videos in the classroom

Raising a child is not the easiest thing to do. I'm sure every parent can agree that it is exactly the opposite of easy.

If parents are like superheroes when they strive to meet all the needs of their one, two, seven or ten mini humans at home, then how should we call teachers, who do the same all day — but with 15 to 30 children? Super-superheroes? I'll go with that.

Super-superheroes, more commonly known as elementary teachers, know how hard it can be to make 30 pairs of sparkly eyes look at the same thing and engage in the learning process at the same time.

At least two reasons contribute to this:

The short attention span and the high energy levels

The attention span of humans — young and old — is said to have been surpassed by that of the cute goldfish from the fish-tank. 8 seconds is a hell of a short time to hook students' attention and guide it through the at-least-one-hour learning process. Teachers really need some super-super powers to do that.

Kids at school actually need their learning materials delivered in bite-sized, digestible chunks, rather than one hard-to-swallow class.

They get easily distracted and they can't really sit still for a long period of time. It's only natural. The human body was designed for movement and activity; that's how kids burn their high levels of energy — through moving and playing.

Yet, despite these biological characteristics, school systems everywhere stubbornly impose students to sit still and pay attention for a longer, thus not so comfortable, period of time.

It's really hard to change the system, but steps are taken in the right direction.

How interactive videos can impact classroom learning

Interactive videos have great potential to improve the current situation of students' learning because they are usually short, and because they are, well, interactive. But you should take this with a grain of salt, as interactive videos may not be the perfect solution for every classroom; at least not yet.

Videos are known to be the most successful learning materials in terms of engagement and retention rates. The brain is active on almost all sensorial levels when watching videos, grabbing kids' attention and helping them better remember what they learn.

But videos still require students to sit still in front of a screen, even though for a rather short period of time.

So the way to deliver a video must be as important as the learning content in it.

Interactivity in learning videos can come at different levels, from simple clicks on different parts of the screen, making items move in a certain way, to 360-degree views. When creating an online course as a set of interactive videos, teachers can have various technologies to work with. Of course, there's no need for the latest one, or the most expensive method, in order to successfully hold students' attention and guide them through the entire course.

And now comes the grain of salt: interactive video technology is still under tests. It does promise a lot — higher engagement rates, better retention rates, a more exciting learning experience — but it is still far from being the norm in online learning, and especially in most schools.

The technology advancements can make this possible though, perhaps faster that we can imagine.

What's your opinion about the use of interactive videos in the classroom? How long do you think it will take until each student will learn from such resources? The comments section awaits your input.

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