doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

British Pathe

How things have changed!

When I was in secondary school, movies were a true event.  It was actually our version of the flipped classroom.

When there was a movie to be shown in history, we flipped with the geography class because it was on the other side of the school and didn’t catch the morning sun and, if I remember correctly, had better curtains to darken the room for the event.  We were the second history class in our grade so word got around when it was “movie time”.

We came prepared – actually prepared for anything but learning.  When the lights were turned off and the projector started, a whole lot took place totally unrelated to the video.  Mostly flying objects – paper airplanes, crumbled paper, …

Surprisingly, I do recall having some great discussions about the video content later so I guess the activity wasn’t completely a waste.

The thought that we might be able to watch the video at home and come to school prepared to talk about it was most certainly foreign!

Not so today. 

With devices being so ubiquitous, and sources like a school or public library, video is an important component of a teacher’s toolkit.

Many of us have fought the fight for years to get better bandwidth and to unblock video sharing sites for exactly this purpose.  Now open, the challenge becomes one of getting the best of the best.

Our times, and our students’ times, have been well documented.  One place to find a huge wonderful collection of important and relevant videos is British Pathé.

Pathé News was a producer of newsreels, cinemagazines, and documentaries from 1910 until 1976 in the United Kingdom. Its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era. The Pathé News archive is known today as "British Pathé". Its collection of news film and movies is fully digitised and available online.

Over 80,000 videos from a variety of areas of interest are available at their Youtube site.  It’s difficult to even point to a particular video.  There’s just so much there.  You have to visit and experience it for yourself.  You might consider subscribing to get announcements and access to playlists.

I know that many people search for video using their favourite search engine – having British Pathé as a starting point makes a great deal of sense.  Whether you’re looking for in-class use, videos to assign at home, or even just personal research and interest, you’re going to find this invaluable.


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

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