A descriptive study of VCR use among social studies teachers in rural public high schools of less than 300 students in the United States



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Texas Tech University


This project studied the use of VCRs by secondary social studies teachers in United States school districts with less than 300 total student enrollment. These districts were selected as being most likely to exhibit the problems listed as typical of rural education: geographic isolation, financial limitations, limited course offerings, and weaknesses in certification of instructional staff.

The study was intended to determine the instructional use of VCRs and the quality of that instruction. Specific research information to be gathered included (1) the availability of VCR equipment, (2) the types and sources of videotapes being used, (3) whether the teachers were following recognized film-use techniques as teaching strategies with videotapes, (4) whether most VCR use was additive, integrated or independent, and (5) whether social studies educators were knowledgeable and observant of the United States Copyright Revision Act of 1976.

It was found that the VCR was a popular tool for social studies educators in the very small school districts. It would be used more frequently if more materials were available at reasonable prices. VCRs were generally available to educators, but most furnished their own videotapes or ordered them from regional media centers. Most social studies educators used recognized filmed media-use techniques, most of the time, to maximize instructional opportunities for their students, but formal training in these techniques was generally lacking. There appeared to be little or no difference in the use of effective instructional techniques between those who indicated that they had had formal training and those who had not. Videotapes were used as supplemental material rather than as the predominant instructional method or to present elements of instructions, or basic concepts. Teachers, as a rule, were not informed of the copyright law and, in practice, did not abide by its provisions. However, even those who indicated some training on or information about the copyright law tended to ignore it if it conflicted with what they perceived to be the educational needs of their students.



Social sciences -- Audio-visual aids, Rural -- Effect of video tape recorders, Video tapes in education -- United States, Education, Educational technology -- Audio-visual aids