In a world where digital media grabs children’s attentions more than ever, education needs to find a way to claim it back. According to a panel of international education leaders and publishers, the answer lies in well-produced video.

To mark the London launch of bo (, the world’s largest video library for education, a panel of experts at the BETT 2015 show was asked what role video would play in the future of education. The answer was unequivocal: video will be hugely influential in education, and now is the time for it to emerge.

“Audiovisial media ‘works’. If it didn’t, there would not be a £3.5bn industry resting on the motivational power of video advertising. If it can sell a product, it can sell a learning outcome. "said Adam Singer

Jim Wynn (Chair of Imagine Education and a former headteacher) asked Adam Singer (Chairman of Digital Radio UK and ex-Chairman of Teachers TV), Tarek Shawki (Education Advisor to the President of Egypt), Vighnesh Padiachy (Head of European Education/Media Equity Research at Goldman Sachs) and Tom Davy (CEO of Panopto EMEA)

The panel at the launch of bo all agreed that engaging children around the world would be central to boosting educational attainment. The well-crafted websites, apps, films and television programmes that children watch make it difficult for the standard teacher toolkit to compete. Short videos, when used to illustrate an idea, spark a discussion, demonstrate a moment in history or simply bring a subject to life, have been demonstrated to increase engagement and enjoyment of education, and subsequently results.

Capturing learners’ imaginations will be critical to furthering their skills. Tarek Shawki referred to the use of video in education as “an obvious way to help teachers in Egypt to be more effective”, while Tom Davy highlighted the power of using clips of “current events or recognizable faces” to explain a concept.

The platform provides education publishers and providers with engaging content for exactly this purpose. David Bainbridge, co-founder of bo, gave the example of physics teachers around the world explaining terminal velocity to their class: “they can explain the relationship between gravity, air resistance and speed verbally, and some children will immediately understand, but most won’t. They might draw a diagram, and yet more will understand, but many will be left behind. On the other hand if that teacher shows a video of Felix Baumgartner jumping down to Earth from space, we believe that is how everyone will understand terminal velocity.”

Why video now?    

“What’s different now is that video is cheap to make and everyone has easy access though their laptops and mobile devices. Add to this the massive increases in computing power, huge reductions in digital storage costs, as well as search and the integration of materials, and we now have the conditions under which video is ready to be embedded in teaching materials.”
– Tom Davy

Knowledgemotion research has estimated that video education will represent a $1.2bn market within ten years, and the panel agreed that now was the time for the video revolution in education. Vighnesh Padiachy argued that Wi-Fi enabled classrooms, smartdevice penetration in schools and advances in video technology and availability had set the stage for a market transformation in education, while Tom Davy attributed improvements in “technology, infrastructure and sentiment” to the sea-change.

Adam Singer reminded the audience that when the James Pillan invented the blackboard in 1801 at Eton College, it was dubbed by the teacher community a “pedagogical device of dubious provenance that would destroy the traditional relationship between teacher and pupil and ruin discipline.” Teachers, he argued, have always been resistant to change.

However, they are beginning to integrate technology into their lessons, and encourage the appropriate use of mobile devices and tablets. Now that they have been assured that technology will help, rather than replace them, their reluctance is fading away, and a technological revolution is taking place in the classroom.

How can bo help?
bo allows education publishers and providers to find, license and use high-quality, rights-cleared and low rights-risk video clips from the most respected content owners on the planet. Knowledgemotion, its founding company, has agreements with Getty Images, Bloomberg, BBC Worldwide Learning, The Associated Press, SNTV, Global ImageWorks and British Movietone, giving bo access to up to three million video clips.

Critically, the most relevant of these clips are algorithmically tagged to the curriculum, so that education providers can easily search for only the most useful clips to a given topic area. David Bainbridge, founder of Knowledgemotion, closed the talk by stating “We believe that in a digital age, the education industry must raise the quality of the content it produces.” bo can help solve that problem.