Science and Medicine Videos from BBC Active – the Perfect Educational Learning Resource

Video for learning

Educational video is a valuable addition to any course of study, presenting students with information in a way that is proven to engage their interest and make the content more memorable than when it is delivered by teacher- or tutor-led learning alone. BBC Active videos are used as a teaching resource in a wide variety of educational settings including schools, colleges, universities and vocational training. The BBC has always been celebrated for its high quality, thought-provoking documentaries which, as well as appealing to the mass audience, also include in-depth examination of their subject matter which makes them suitable as a learning resource for the more specialist audience.

Science and medicine videos are a prime example of this, as they are often able to bring to life events which it would not otherwise be possible for students to witness, or to present the results of experiments conducted over longer periods of time in a more concise and interesting format. Medicine videos from BBC Active like Kill or Cure, for example, provide a close-up view of diseases that affect people around the world and give students an insight into the development of medicines to combat these major killers. Since most students are unlikely to ever witness the ravages of these diseases at first hand or get the opportunity to be involved in the cutting-edge science that seeks out possible cures, it is only through this sort of medicine teaching resource that they can gain an understanding of their effects and treatment.

Medicine videos are not confined to exploring physical illnesses, many of which strike predominantly in the developing world; they also allow students to see some of the issues which are affecting our own society today. In  we look inside the human mind from the point of view of a man who lost his wife and himself suffered life-changing injuries in a car crash. Whilst his physical injuries are showing improvement, the painful memories associated with the crash are less easy to overcome, prompting the question as to whether in the future scientists may find a way to modify such difficult memories to lessen the psychological damage they cause. The programme examines how memories are formed and what makes them degenerate as we get older, a topic very relevant to our ageing society.

Other science and medicine videos from the BBC

BBC Active has an extensive library of science and medicine videos which are applicable to secondary, further and higher education courses as well as in training for those in caring or technical professions.

Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery, presented by Dr Michael Mosley, charts the history of surgery from its infancy with all its connotations of body snatchers and crazed anatomists, through surgical interventions once alarmingly commonplace which have since come to be viewed as brutal and ineffective, right through to some of the ground-breaking surgical procedures which are possible today.

There are also videos focusing on some of the issues which are topical in today’s society. Addiction and the associated social issues are examined in Cannabis: The Evil Weed? while our modern lifestyle with its binge drinking, legal highs and other forms of excess is the focus of the Body Hits series. The threefold rise in conditions like eczema, hay fever and asthma are under the spotlight in Allergy Planet, and the often controversial subject of genetic modification of crops is viewed from both sides in Jimmy’s GM Food Fight.

Science videos have the ability to demonstrate concepts which are difficult to grasp in the classroom or by reading alone; indeed, many are difficult or simply too dangerous to recreate even in the laboratory. Video comes into its own when covering these topics, taking the viewer to places they can’t go themselves. Journeying to the edge of a black hole is something we associate with science fiction and not something we expect to ever do, yet scientists at MIT give us the opportunity to do just that, as documented in Who’s Afraid of a Big Black Hole? Meanwhile, for biology students, The Cell is essential viewing. In three compelling episodes it charts the 300-year history of cellular biological science as well as looking at modern-day synthetic biology, developments in cell manipulation and engineering and the potential for this relatively new science in the future.

BBC Active Video for Education offers licences for the use of BBC science and medicine videos, enabling them to be shown in DVD or VHS format in the classroom. Digital licensing options are also available for those wishing to use the content in an online environment.