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I was a late Netflix adopter, which is probably a surprise to many of my readers. Renting movies through Blockbuster or borrowing them from the library became a non-thinking habit. Late charges, having to actually go to a place to search for and pick up the movies, and high rental rates were just a few of the hardships I endured. Sure, I had heard of Netflix and many of my friends sang praises of their services. But I never took the time to really research and understand what Netflix was or how it worked until . . . I bought my first Internet-enabled HD television. Then, my movie-accessing and -viewing world was completely and irreversible transformed.
Once I realized I could not only have movies delivered to my home free of charge, but could also stream HD content on demand to my television for a relatively inexpensive monthly subscription, I was hooked. I will warn you that a Netflix subscription will require other expenditures–high-speed Internet, an HD television or computer, and a Blu-ray player to watch Blu-ray discs sent through the mail. But if you already have these devices and features, then Netflix is just a click away.
If you need television recommendations, I’ve been extremely happy with the Vizio televisions with Vizio Internet Apps as well as their Internet-enabled Blu-ray disc players. Sony also makes a good network Blu-ray disc player, but you’ll need to also purchase a wireless card if you want to connect to your network this way. (The Vizio Blu-ray disc player already has an integrated WI-fi built in.)
But you don’t even need a television to watch Netflix movies and other media. You can watch Netflix content on any computer, which makes it a perfect match for a classroom with a computer and projector. With a Netflix account ($7.99 a month for streamed media only, no CDs) you could select from a vast array of content to enrich your classroom.
Here’s an excellent resource that lists various types of content offered through Netflix that could be used in the classroom: Stream Your Education Online at Netflix.
Think about the many ways you might use multimedia: a video to serve as a pre-reading activity in an English class, a documentary film that brings history alive and can provide lively conversations about film genres, an interactive tour of the Louvre to enrich art history, a PBS series on U.S. government, a foreign film to enrich a foreign language class . . . the list is endless.
How can a school provide Netflix content to its classrooms? A school could purchase a Netflix account which could stream to 6 different devices (6 teachers’ classrooms). They would need to purchase additional licenses, for additional teachers. But at $7.99 a month and unlimited streaming of content, this could be an excellent way to augment a teacher’s digital library.
Netflix in the classroom. Its time has come.