Math can be a challenging subject for some students, but research has shown that using videos can help make it more engaging and accessible. As an educator, I always want to be using research-based best practices to help my upper elementary students learn and grow! This blog post will discuss the benefits of using videos in math class, as found by research. It will also provide tips for using videos in math class and provide links to resources for finding videos.
Benefits of Using Videos in Math Class
There are many benefits to using videos in math class. Here are some of the most notable benefits:
1. Videos can help students visualize abstract concepts.
Math is often full of abstract concepts that can be difficult for students to understand. Videos can help students visualize these concepts by showing them in a real-world context. For example, a video could show how fractions are used to divide a pizza into equal slices. It helps give students a visual to the abstract. In fact, one study shows that students who watched math videos scored higher on a math test than students who did not watch the videos. For example, in this study, students who watched videos on fractions scored an average of 85% on a math test, while students who did not watch the videos scored an average of 75% (Boster et al., 2007).
2. Videos can provide step-by-step instructions.
Math can be a procedural subject, which means that students need to learn how to follow a series of steps to solve a problem. Videos can be a great way to provide students with step-by-step instructions. This can be especially helpful for students who are struggling to keep up with the teacher in class. A study by Brame (2016) showed that students who watched videos that included interactive elements, such as drag-and-drop exercises, scored higher on a math test than students who watched videos without interactive elements.
3. Videos can help increase engagement.
Students can help engage students in their learning. In fact, one study shows that the use of short videos enhanced student satisfaction and motivation for an online introductory course in computer science/mathematics. They achieved a significantly higher percentage of involved students and their average grades increased. (Choi & Johnson, 2005).
4. Videos can be used to review concepts.
Videos can be a great way to review concepts that have already been taught. This can be helpful for students who need a little extra help remembering what they've learned. One study found that with the use of videos that students could go back to review, students did not need as much intervention or direct help from the instructor (Hsin & Cigas, 2013).
5. Videos can be used to provide extra practice.
Videos can be a great way to provide students with extra practice with math problems. This can help students solidify their understanding of the concepts they're learning. They are also a great resource if a teacher is not available to help the student when they are practicing the subject. A recent study done during the pandemic showed that high school students scored better on assessments when they viewed teacher-created videos online (Baer and Vargas, 2021).
Tips for Using Videos in Math Class
To make videos most effective for students in math, research has shown that a few things can be helpful for students.
1. Choose videos that are high quality and relevant to the concepts you're teaching.
There are many videos available online, so it's important to take the time to find videos that are high-quality and relevant to the concepts you're teaching. Look below for what I consider to be high-quality videos ( the research supports it also).
2. Make sure the videos are the right length for your students.
Some videos are very short, while others can be quite long. It's important to choose videos that are the right length for your students. Shorter videos are often better for younger students, while longer videos may be more appropriate for older students. The research supports videos that are 6 minutes or less. 12 minutes or longer, students tend to get distracted (Brame, 2016).
3. Preview the videos before you show them to your students.
It's a good idea to preview the videos before you show them to your students. This will give you a chance to make sure the videos are appropriate for your students and that they are aligned with your lesson plans. I always like to remind teachers and parents that just because a video is online does not mean it is accurate.
4. Stop the videos at key points to allow students to discuss what they're seeing.
When you're showing videos to your students, it's a good idea to stop the videos at key points to allow students to discuss what they're seeing. This will help students to make sense of the information in the videos and to engage in meaningful learning. I always like to pause the video and ask students what they notice or wonder to help facilitate a discussion (Brame, 2016).
5. Ask students questions about the videos.
After you've shown the videos to your students, it's a good idea to ask them questions about the videos. This will help students to consolidate their understanding of the material and to demonstrate their learning. They can even turn and talk to their neighbor about what surprised them or what they already knew.
6. Encourage students to take notes on what they're learning from the videos.
Taking notes is a great way for students to retain the information they learn from videos. Encourage your students to take notes on what they're learning from the videos, and then review the notes with them later. Have them fill out a worksheet that goes along with the video. Want one to practice with? Check out my video starter kit which includes a worksheet to one of my most popular videos!
Best Practices in Educational Videos
The research is clear on what makes a good educational video. According to Brame in 2016, there are a few things that all educational videos should include. Here is the summary of what she listed. Doodles and Digits tries to include all of these in our videos.
Highlights keywords, High contrast, and connects the topic to real life.
Use segmenting to break down information
The video weeds out extraneous information
Use audio and visuals together
Keep each video brief (preferably under 6 minutes)
Use conversational language
Speak quickly and with enthusiasm
Put interactive questions throughout
Resources for Finding Videos
Here are some resources for finding videos that you can use in math class:
Using videos in math class can be a great way to make math more engaging and accessible for your students. By following the tips in this blog post, you can find and use videos that will help your students learn and grow.
Boster, F. J., Meyer, G. S., Roberto, A. J., Lindsey, L., Smith, R., Inge, C., & Strom, R. E. (2007). The impact of video streaming on mathematics performance. Communication Education, 56(2), 134-144. Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03634520601071801
Brame, CJ. Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2016 Winter;15(4):es6. doi: 10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125. PMID: 27789532; PMCID: PMC5132380. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5132380/
Choi, H. J., & Johnson, S. D. (2005). The effect of context-based video instruction on learning and motivation in online courses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(4), 215-227. Link: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ724832
Hsin, W. J., & Cigas, J. (2013). Short videos improve student learning in online education. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 28(5), 253-259. Link: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1075729
Jefferson S. Baer and Vargas, Danilo, Effects of Using Video Lessons in the Mathematics Achievement of Senior High School Learners (April 9, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3823175 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3823175 Link: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3823175