We were all kids at some point. Whether we were raised during the baby boom of the 1950s and 60s or were born more recently and are considered to be part of the millennial generation, our understanding of human development is always rooted in what we understand best: our personal experiences.
But for faculty members who are teaching students about educational psychology and human development, how do you both confirm a student’s own experience and yet also consider how different experiences may affect others?
This was the dilemma that Sharon Frey, an educational psychologist at East Mississippi Community College struggled with on a daily basis. While her textbook covers a lot of ground and does a decent job of introducing material, Frey wanted a way to bring these topics to life for her students. She turned to NBC Learn to fill that need.
“I just feel like [NBC Learn] is the best way for me to reinforce information in my text book,” says Frey “Let students read it first and then watch it second.”
For students who prefer to learn through visual or auditory ways, NBC Learn’s resources help ensure instructor’s like Frey can reach their students’ individual needs.
“They aren’t really ‘Let’s hold a book in their hands’ kind of kids,” says Frey. “I think that they would rather view it on a computer than they would to read it. Instructors like myself are using [NBC Learn] more as a supplement, a reinforcement.”
While Frey has access to other digital video platforms through her community college’s library system, she trusts NBC Learn to provide her with resources that will not only enhance her instruction, but also do so in a shorter amount of time.
“I really use NBC Learn because of the length of the clips,” says Frey. “The length of them is more tolerable for the students. I feel like they can get more information from a shorter clip. But I might include 3 or 4 clips in one assignment.”
After having her students watch the clips, Frey often asks them to respond to the videos by posing thought provoking questions. For example, in her Child Psychology class, she covers a variety of topics including how aggression, altruism, and moral development are cultivated in children. To help bring those topics to life, she shows her students stories exploring the link between cartoons and violence and the Supreme Court’s ruling about violence in video games.
“With those types of videos, students can bring the information of the development of aggression and see what the specialists say,” says Frey. “Then they can go back to their book and in turn give me feedback on if they agree or disagree.”
As she read through their reflections on the topic, Frey was excited to see that the lessons she was hoping to impart left a lasting impression on her students.
“They agreed that the violent videos should be regulated to the appropriate ages because children are too vulnerable to suggestions of violence in video games,” says Frey. “They also think that technology makes you lose contact and communication with the real world if it is not monitored.”
In her Human Growth and Development class, students explore the full progression of human life, from conception through childhood, adolescence, old age, and ultimately death. Frey has found a way to embed NBC Learn resources throughout every stage of the course.
As her students are studying early childhood, they wrestle with key issues like the benefit of having a bilingual classroom and how learning centers can stimulate a child’s brain.
After showing her students this video that highlights the push for more early childhood education, she has her students participate in a role play assignment. “I have them actually build a pretend day care center after they view some child care facility videos,” says Frey.
Later in the semester, her students grapple with such hot button issues as the impact of caffeine on children and the alarming rise in high blood pressure among children. However the topic that always seems to pique her students’ interest the most is when they dig into eating disorders.
“There is a session of four videos that we watch on [eating disorders] that is fantastic, because it shows progression,” says Frey. “A lot of my students didn’t know that boys suffer from anorexia, as well as eating disorders and bulimia. And that was good for them to know, personally.”
The four videos that Frey shows are part of a special hour long broadcast that the TODAY Show produced in 2004 that explore these issues in depth.
“What [students] liked about it was that it took the story and developed it,” says Frey. “The videos took a character and pulled that character into the next one and the next one. They really enjoyed it because the kids were talking to them just like regular people. It was like they were conversing with the audience.”
The expansive content isn’t the only thing that Frey adores about NBC Learn, she also admires some of the functionality that comes with the resource, like the fully proofed transcripts and the citation generator.
“That’s why I love NBC Learn, because it is easy for me to also copy transcripts and paste them in a document,” says Frey. “If the students says, ‘Hey I can’t pull this up,’ for whatever reason, they will still have the information.”
As Frey has continued to include NBC Learn resources in her instruction, she noticed something unique happening among her students. They keep asking for more.
“It is something that is quite popular now with our students,” says Frey. "And that popularity only seems to grow.”