Creating Effective Playlists on SAFARI Montage

By Emily Cruse on Wed, 3/31/2010
Picture of member, Emily Cruse

Emily Cruse
Curriculum Director, SAFARI Montage

While you may sometimes create a playlist simply to serve as a repository for a few favorite clips or videos, your most effective playlists will function as multimedia lesson plans and share certain qualities and instructional elements. To create truly successful playlists that will serve you and your colleagues well class after class, you’ll want to make maximum use of the SAFARI Montage playlist features.

As you would when developing any lesson plan, it’s important to have a sense of where you’re going before you start searching for digital resources—not just what content you’ll be teaching, though that’s obviously important, but also what approach do you plan to use when bringing in that content. What is the purpose of this playlist lesson? For instance, if you’re introducing a new unit or need to spark interest in a topic, you’ll be on the lookout for high-interest clips, something that appeals to the senses or opens a question without answering it. Perhaps your students are learning to analyze primary source material, or to compare and contrast the views of various experts against their own evolving understandings; this will affect the kinds of clips you select. And who is the audience for this playlist? If your playlist will be used for remediation with for students who have not yet mastered certain content, you may be searching for more didactic video segments, or clips that take a decidedly different approach to explaining the content than you have used already. Knowing the answers to these two simple questions will have a profound effect on both the substance and the approach of the content you are looking for.

As you begin to form a new playlist, you may often start by collecting a range of possible resources, and SAFARI Montage’s extensive metadata is designed to help you quickly and easily find a range of content that may be appropriate for your needs. Best practice dictates that you always preview all content before finalizing a playlist to ensure that you are selecting the best clips to represent the content you want to cover. You can further refine your playlist by using the bookmarking feature to tailor clips so that they exactly meet the requirements of you and your students, and the blue arrow buttons on the playlist itself allow you to organize the resources in the most logical order to accompany the scope and sequence of your lesson.

Effective playlists have complete overview information, such as grade range, subject(s) and comments. The comment box for the playlist as a whole is a great place for recording focusing or essential questions that the playlist addresses, or noting state standards that the playlist supports. You may also want to include directions for the playlist’s use, to serve as both a reminder to yourself and a guide to other teachers with whom you share the playlist. Playlists can also have comments to accompany individual items, such as discussion questions, related materials to reference, or simply reminder notes as to why you selected a particular clip or image. If your playlist is being accessed directly by students as part of individual or group work, you may wish to use these comment sections for directions to guide students’ progress through the playlist. Finally, the quiz feature allows you to easily add an assessment component to your playlist, rounding out the lesson.  The playlist, Newton's Laws of Motion, is a good example of this.

Check your spelling, ensure that your playlist title conforms to any protocols your school or district has implemented, and your playlist is ready to use and to share with your colleagues.

If you want to share your playlist with a wider audience please consider uploading it to SAFARI Montage HD Network's Playlist Exchange.  We are currently running a Playlist contest and you might be a lucky winner!   Or, if you haven't created any playlists yet, browse our Playlist Exchange for content you might be able to use or adapt in your own classroom.


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joshua kruzinski
home, fort dixs

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