10 Videos To Inspire & Engage Educators

If video is not part of your educator toolkit, your faculty and students are missing out on connecting our emotive selves to meaningful learning. The right videos inspire and motivate us, help facilitate problem solving and deeper thinking, and create natural collaborative conversation. A relevant message that engages multiple senses often constructs an environment where viewers lean in and open up. These are my current favorites.

1. Alike
Amazing “show don’t tell” animated film about school and life. Great discussion starter on what is most important in the work educators do. 8:01 min/sec. 2017.


2. A Happy Little Thing Called “Thank You”
As teachers and school leaders, there are days when finding something to be grateful about is the furthest thought from our minds. Show this towards end of school year and come ready with small thank you gifts for everyone. Better yet, bring cards and have faculty write special notes after viewing. Created by Boston College student. 8:41 min/sec. 2014.


3. The Surprising Truth About Learning In Schools
Will Richardson’s TEDx talk. “The only question we have now is: Do we have the courage and commitment to make the necessary changes?” Prior to viewing, teachers can brainstorm list of the conditions and structures necessary in schools to create powerful learning experiences for children. Will provides his list in the video. 16:27 min/sec. 2015.

4. Fear Less: Our Hope For Children

Boulder Journey School urges viewers to give children the freedom to learn. “What if the experiences from which we most desperately try to shelter our children are the very ones that will enable them to be successful, joyful, and capable citizens of our world? What if, rather than telling our children to be careful, we instead put aside our own anxieties and recognize that there can be no learning and no innovation without risk?” 3:48 min/sec. 2017.

5. All That We Share

Danish TV ad that went viral with a powerful, emotive message on diversity. Let the discussion flow on the “boxes of education” that current educational system has created. Great video to take back into the classroom. 3:00 min/sec. 2017.

6. What Is Your Hope?

What a powerful yet simple activity to bring a school community together. Just ask a simple question. I would add the parent perspective too. 3:14 min/sec. 2016.

7. Mr. D Talks Grading

Here’s a short excerpt from Mr. D, Canadian TV sitcom teacher. Sometimes levity can be an appropriate icebreaker when we take on a serious issue like grading.  2:00 min/sec. 2011.

8. 7 Amazing Technologies We’ll See By 2030

How will these technologies impact education? Educators need to spend time analyzing the impact of technology on teaching and learning. Helps stretch teachers to think beyond the typical linear view of learning and life. 2:52 min/sec. 2017.

9. 10 Expectations

“We hear often of the high expectations schools must have of and for their students, yet we seldom hear of the expectations students have of their schools.” Using the student perspective, the video lays out possibilities to re-think who should be at the center of learning. 3:02 min/sec. 2013. Here is link to additional strategies for implementing high expectations for schools.

10. Every Kid Needs A Champion

No list is complete without including Rita Pierson’s inspirational, timeless TED talk. Sadly, Rita died two months after delivering her message. 7:48 min/sec. 2013.

BONUS 1. Harvard & MIT Graduates Misunderstand Basic Science

These brief excerpts from a 1980s film, A Private Universe, illustrate a significant flaw in education. Basic, elemental concepts don’t stick, even with students from the most prestigious institutions. Would be funny if not so disappointing.

BONUS 2. The Five Minute University
Rated one of the 40 best characters ever on Saturday Night Live, Father Guido Sarducci mocks universities by providing the basics of his Five Minute University. “What a college graduate remembers five years after finishing school!” 3:55 min/sec. 1980.