Digitized Diversity: Using Footage in the Classroom
Just when I think I have found a great multimedia resource for my class posted on Youtube a commercial pops up, too often consisting of Viking hoards questioning the contents of my wallet. Not exactly the best classroom practice if you intend to keep your students on task.
Another popular site for video is Vimeo, but their advertisements rival Cosmo magazine covers and guarantee giggles. Don’t expect your students to then pay attention to either you or the video. So where can a history teacher turn for over 90,000 videos covering newsreels, social history documentaries, entertainment, and music stories from 1896-1976? I surreptitiously spammed my colleagues earlier this week with a link that I shall now share with the general public:
This site is filled with newsreel footage that was created with the cinema in mind, many years before television was available in homes. In addition to important inaugurations and famous inventors, there are films that simply provide images of historical context. London traffic from 1896 can bring to life a street scene from over a hundred years ago. Film from World War I demonstrates the futility of trench warfare. Documentation of countries in transition as former colonies are granted their independence. Film footage captures images of people in chaos, displaced from their homeland with the entire contents of their lives carried on their backs. A British news agency filming the race riots in America offers an outsider’s perspective. A number of these films are silent and provide an excellent opportunity for discussion, student inquiry and potentially further research.
With no pop-ups or amateur home video, this site is an appropriate and welcome resource in the classroom.