Viral Videos and Trending Topics in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 2.01.49 PMA wildlife photographer puts a camera on a remote control car, takes stunning images, and his video goes viral. A man hunts a lion and the world erupts in an online conversation using the hashtag #cecilthelion.

But do videos and hashtags have a place in the adult education classroom?

 

Viral videos are videos that are the ‘talk of the town’. They receive attention on all the social media sites such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Tumblr. Some even make it to major news outlets. Through watching these videos, millions of people have a shared experience with a common talking point.

In the classroom, using videos that have gone viral can help adult learners make connections with difficult concepts. For example, consider the video Clouds by Zach Sobiech that has been viewed 11,965,743 times.Student’s can explore poetry and making inferences.

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge

The benefits of using viral videos in the classroom includes using media that is familiar and is attention grabbing while introducing or reinforcing important instructional topics. Or, they can just be fun and used as an icebreaker in the classroom.

Moving beyond videos, what role do hashtags play in the learning experience? The power of social media to give students a voice has never been stronger. Viral hashtags introduce students to different experiences or affirm all to familiar experiences. Use these powerful conversations to discuss current events.Think about the following hashtags:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.11.57 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.12.09 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.13.45 PM

#Bringbackourgirls, #50dollarsnot50shades and #ifIdieinpolicecustody are examples of the advocacy that is happening online. Giving students a voice is perhaps one of the most powerful outcomes in adult literacy education.

There is definitely room for viral videos and trending topics in the classroom. How would you use them?