Grabbing Great Media for Classroom Use
by Bernard Gorman and Shepard Gorman
many hats in our professional and private lives. Because one of the
authors (annonymous, but still a Gorman) has four heads, this
especially true. Despite this
oddity, we spend a great deal of our time teaching courses in
psychology. There are many exciting trends in basic research, medicine,
genetics, and social policies that have powerful impacts on modern
psychology. The field we entered decades ago changes on a daily basis.
We love to share the excitement of our profession with our students.
Unlike fields like tool-and-die making, steam-fitting, cost accounting,
or shoe repair, psychology and psychiatry get plenty of radio, TV, and
Internet media coverage. If we’re clever enough, we can grab some media
for use in our courses.
outset, we’ve got to mention that broadcast and Internet media are
intellectual properties and copyright laws regulate their use. However,
under the doctrine of Fair Use, you may legally use these media in your
classes under certain conditions. With this caveat, let’s talk about
“getting the good stuff” for our classes.
see it, the easiest way to get current TV broadcasts is through the use
of standalone DVD recorders. Although the price of recorders was
prohibitive a decade ago, you can now buy very decent recorders in the
$100 range and spectacular recorders for less than $300. Like the VHS
recorders that preceded them, many DVD recorders have tuners and timers
and all of them have composite RCA jack inputs (yellow, red, and white
cables) for connections to cable boxes and VHS recorders. The fancier
recorders often allow you to connect a digital video camera to your
recorders via a Firewire (IEE-1394 or I-link) cable. Some DVD recorders
have input and output connections to S-video, high-definition (HDMI) and
component video sources. Personally, we’ve enjoyed recorders made by
Phillips, LiteOn, and Panasonic.
recorders can insert chapter marks at convenient intervals (e.g. 2
minutes, 5 minutes, etc.), so you can easily skip forwards and backwards
through a program. All recorders can read DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and
DVD+RW disc formats while some can record in all four DVD formats and
even to CD’s.
you’re recording a program that has no commercials, then you can enjoy
the full program as soon as recording stops. On the other hand (Bernie
prefers his left hand),
if you want to do some editing to remove advertisements and irrelevant
material, you might want to re-author your DVD with software like
) Some recorders
allow you to do some simple editing in the reorders itself. To be
honest, we’ve never found this process to be easy. We’ll discuss
editing in future articles.
recent years, the use of streaming, on-demand video services has
exploded on the Internet scene. Among the most popular ones are Google
Video and YouTube. Many YouTube productions are amateurish and silly but
some golden nuggets are buried in the labyrinths of the YouTube vaults.
YouTube videos can be uploaded in many formats but all YouTube video is
stored in a format knows as Flash Video Format (FLV). YouTube videos are
not easy to download. However, through the use of software on sites like
or free software like
Ashampoo YouTube Clip Finder (http://www2.ashampoo.com),
you can download FLV files and convert them to other vide formats.
Some, but not all, of Google Videos can be rapidly downloaded in
formats for use in Apple IPOD’s or other portable media players.
Although Google owns both YouTube and Google Video, the offerings of
Google Video have a more serious tone. You’ll find some excellent
university-based lectures and documentaries, including Google’s own
Tech Talks and the Technology, Education and Design Foundation’s
TED Talks. Many, but not all, of the Google videos can
be downloaded in formats
that are directly useable in portable video players.
Moving Image Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/movies)
provides another rich source of material. Thousands of public domain
documentaries, feature films, and cartoons can be downloaded from there.
Most are available in MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and some are available in MPEG4
(H.264), DIVX, and Apple QuickTime formats. If you want to get your fill
of such classics as “Duck and Cover,” the Cold War air raid drill film,
“Reefer Madness,” a remarkably inaccurate anti-marijuana film, and
“Night of the Living Dead,” the prototype of all zombie movies, then
this place is for you.
Library of Congress (www.loc.gov)
has an ample collection of historical film footage. You’ll find many
historic newsreels and speeches as well as some of Thomas Edison’s
first films here
people think of ITUNES (www.apple.com/itunes/)
as a place for downloading popular music. However, ITUNES has thousands
of free podcasts in both audio (MP3) and video formats. While it’s
difficult to get students to listen to audio material in the classroom,
you might consider distributing these as MP3’s or audio CD’s.
Finally, some school systems subscribe to streaming TV services such as
EdVideo Online (www.powermediaplus.com),
Teacher’s Domain (www.teachersdomain.org),
and Disvoery Education Streaming
(http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com), which offer hundreds of
documentary and instructional films, both as streaming video and as
downloadable files. If you’re an educator, you may have hit your mother
lode with these sites.