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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

In my quest to find new ways of reaching and connecting with students, I searched high and low for opinions, research, and common sense theory on the topic.  I found a great website that reviewed the use of films in the classroom. Below is an abstract of the research. I know from experience that when students are not engaged, they are unlikely to retain knowledge and absorb new information, especially when they are not engaged in the lesson or topic. 

To use film or not...                                                   

The use of films as a supplement in business courses addresses the need to engage and connect our students to ever evolving curriculum. First, film is a powerful and engaging visual and audio medium for transmitting information. Second, complex and sometimes puzzling business management concepts can be more easily digested by kinesthetic learners who benefit from examples, which can then be reinforced through class discussion. Concepts can be introduced through book or lecture mode, reinforced through film, and then followed by discussion.  Third, students’ imaginations are engaged and connected through relating the concepts that they have learned by reading or attending lectures to the “real life” depicted in the movies.  Thus stimulated, students move toward intellectual ownership of the material, implying long- term retention of business concepts.

The use of contemporary or “popular” films rather than “educational” ones is beneficial for several reasons.  First, popular films have a higher probability of engaging students’ interest; second, the cost is lower; school districts don't have multi-million dollar budgets and creative directors to ensure success, and, third, they are widely available.