Monday, July 7, 2008

Keeping Students Awake: Videos and Music

Students want variety. For some course topics they prefer the teacher to use only the chalkboard, and for the teacher to go slow, striving for clarity over entertainment. However, students do not want every lecture to be like this. Periodically, or perhaps frequently, they want to have fun. They want to watch videos. They want to link economics to something other than prices and interest rates, like pop culture. They want to be silly, to talk, to laugh.

Here are two teaching aides for these "other" lectures.

(1) Dirk Mateer of Penn State has put together an excellent YouTube channel with videos useful for teaching economics. The website address is Take a tour. Watch the videos. You will certainly find at least a few useful. Dirk also wrote a paper on teaching with YouTube available at, but reading the paper is really unnecessary if you are going to peruse the videos anyway.

(2) Students love music. Bringing music and music lyrics into the class for articulating economic concepts is now easy, thanks to, once again, Dirk Mateer. Available at (click on the from Abba to Zeppelin link at the right), the site provides selected music and the lyrics from that music with a relationship to economics. He even took the time to write assignments for you based on the lyrics.

Hopefully one or both of these links will help keep your students awake. If they are not awake, they are not learning!