We are in the golden age of documentary. Many students have seen them, on YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming services, often without even having the medium categorized and defined for them as such. As school-aged children consume more and more streaming content, transferring documentary content to the classroom setting is a natural transition. Even more natural, in many cases, than a textbook, research article, or news report.
In addition to the video format being more accessible, documentary – with its engaging combination of archival images, video, interviews with experts, analysis, music, and imagery – can often be an incredibly effective teaching tool. Particularly when the concepts are difficult or controversial, screening documentaries can be a way for students to digest information most efficiently. Not only that, but documentary film can appeal to visual learners, as well as those who are ELL (English Language Learners) because the images help those learners better process what they are learning.
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