Partner Spotlight: ClassHook

When did your organization launch and why?

ClassHook launched as a website in February 2016 to help educators better engage their students and save time finding high-quality videos for their lessons. A 2016 Gallup poll reports that student engagement drops drastically, from 74% in 5th grade to just 32% in 11th grade. This is because students don’t find their learning to be important or relevant. As a result, millions of students are missing out on valuable knowledge, skills, and opportunities, and we want to help them be successful.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

ClassHook helps K-12 teachers increase student engagement by 66% using a curated video library of popular TV shows and movies, leading to better student outcomes and less time spent lesson planning. ClassHook’s content is organized by topic, aligned to standards, and accompanied by discussion questions and smart tools to pique students’ curiosity and passion for learning. We change how students think about academic topics by presenting them in a different, more entertaining way. Imagine learning about the metric system through The Simpsons or about economics through Frozen.

Our goal is to make education more relevant, engaging, and inspiring for students so that they will have the knowledge and ambition to access more opportunities and become the changemakers of the future.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

ClassHook stands out by repurposing popular media for educational purposes. Most people don’t think of TV shows and movies as educational, but we shift that thinking by surfacing the educational moments in them. It’s incredible how much educational content, whether on purpose or incidental, is out there: we have over 6,400 scenes on our website, and we’re just getting started.

Unlike most organizations who create their own educational content, we are a content aggregator. In talking with teachers, we’ve learned that the problem isn’t a lack of content; instead, it’s finding the high-quality content that’s out there. We believe the most relevant type of content for students is popular media, as they’re frequently watching it, quoting from it, and it’s very much a part of their everyday lives.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

We have been invited by the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program to submit a grant to develop technology that would automatically identify learning moments in media. We’re starting with TV shows and movies, as that is our expertise. Our goal is to help people learn through everyday media to make learning more accessible, fun, and relevant.

We are looking for partners who see merit in the technology and would be able to utilize it when it is commercially available. We are looking for both early testers of the technology and letters of support from these partners. This link is a one-pager summarizing the technology.

Additionally, we invite NAMLE members to view the video clips on our website and suggest others that may be relevant to media literacy. If ClassHook is a valuable resource for you, we would like to discuss gaining access to our Premium plan. Also, we would like to expand our footprint in media literacy as it becomes increasingly important, and we want experts in the community to inform us on how we build our video library in that area.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

ClassHook curates content from TV shows and movies that is appropriate, accurate and relevant. Teachers are able to easily search by subject or skill and utilize short clips to support active inquiry and critical thinking about the messages we receive and internalize. We recognize that media is a large part of culture and thus prioritize the inclusion of diverse content so that students can understand various perspectives and be agents of the change they wish to see.

ClassHook also supports teachers in building media literacy skills by incorporating discussion questions and tools to help educators guide students’ thinking and actively involve them in discussion as they watch videos on our website.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

With media such a central part of our lives, it’s important that people understand how they are being influenced by it. Students in particular are susceptible to this influence because they have not yet developed the skills to identify bias and distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources. If we want students to develop healthy mindsets, they need to be able to think on their own.

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

We are incredibly dedicated to our work of making education more accessible, relevant, fun, and engaging. If there’s any way that you think we can collaborate, especially if you create your own content, please reach out!

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.