binge watching 101.

Browsing through the prompts provided for this month’s challenge, I was curious to find Netflix pop up in one. I mean, it’s my go to procrastination stop when I should be doing so many other more valuable things. It has in fact probably helped me delay the writing of this post!

Now having been distracted searching for Netflix memes, I’m trying to refocus on the task at hand!

I took a few minutes and checked out this video from the PBS Idea Channel.

The overall premise of the video was to discuss what might be the type of work that will carry through from this current period of time. They stipulate that in the past, novels, film, and TV have all become formats that resonate in history. The creators of this video argue that this decade will be remembered for the “Streaming Series”, those that are ‘screen agnostic’, they are on demand and always available and there are no ads. These shows are designed to be binged.

And, as we know, they are!

The video goes on to argue that a type of media that makes a lasting impression ‘doesn’t just change the way we consume, it also changes how the story gets told.’

Because of the popularity of these series, more and more producers of media must rethink their programming and what will capture the audience. I almost always choose short episodic TV shows vs. a full length film. My attention span is surely shrinking and I just don’t have the stamina for a two hour movie. (But I can watch 10 hours of episodic nonsense…don’t worry.)

But, at the end of the video I was contemplating how this type of media can and will change our students and their learning needs.

I did a quick search to see what information was already out there about these streaming series providers, like Netflix, and students. Here’s a couple links if you’d like to read more:

Netflix: is it every student’s worst addiction?

What Netflix Research Teaches Us About Student Study Habits

I think the advent of streaming shows continues to build the human desire to get what we want at the moment we want it. We need to take this idea and determine how it translates into an education setting.

Most schools today are still building very prescribed programs for students. These are often driven by a standardized testing experience that sets guidelines and standards that must be met. Why do we continue to pursue such narrow pathways for student learning?

It quickly makes me think about the work my friend Madeleine Brookes is doing at WAB right now that allows students to personalize their learning journey.

And Sam Sherratt’s stance on Breaking Moulds, encouraging schools to step away from boxed-in models of education.

The idea of challenging ourselves as educators to rethink the current vision of a school is often scary and difficult to conceptualize, but overall so exciting! It gives me such encouragement for the future. I’m glad to know that there are educators out there looking to push boundaries and take the challenges today’s students offer and use them as a springboard for future planning.

What are your thoughts on “streamed series” and the role they may play with our students? Are you a Netflix addict? And, of course, I’m happy to hear which series I should include in my summer viewing! #suggestionsplease

5 thoughts on “binge watching 101.

  1. Joel Bevans

    Hi Carrie,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Netflix revolution! It is crazy to think that just a few years ago streaming services were so expensive and not for the mainstream. Now Netflix is everywhere… and you are right it is so addictive. “Oh I will just watch one more” must be the most used phrase whilst binge watching a series or two!
    Is it the addictive nature of cliffhangers that keep is wanting more or is it the ability to watch whatever we want it on demand (our terms)?
    I suppose it is a little like education, when it is done well. Good teaching and learning will want the learner wanting more.. it should ignite a spark in them that they can then revisit at a later time. It also makes me think about the tailored education systems that meet the diverse needs of the students because Netflix allows you to watch what you want. It is not a one size fit all approach where everyone must watch House of Cards, for instance. It gives you choice.
    Netflix took the old television format and remixed it to a more personalised format…that is what needs to happen more in education so that children have more opportunities for personalised learning.
    Thanks for making me think.
    Some suggestions for Summer Viewing
    Master of None
    House of Cards
    Better Call Saul
    Stranger things
    Black Mirror
    Abstract:The art of Design

  2. Nicola Coles

    Hi Carrie, thanks for giving us an insight into your relationship with Netflix. I can definitely relate to your binge watching of series – I have often set out with the intention of watching 1 or 2 episodes, only to find myself still in front of the screen hours later. Sometimes I feel guilty for having ‘wasted’ a day vegging out in front of the screen but on the other hand I do see a time and a place for such activities. I think at times I use Netflix as a form of escapism, I think its OK to work hard all week and then choose what you want to do on a Friday night – and if that’s watching the complete first season of skin wars then so be it. Streaming content definitely helped with my degree (architecture) – it was a fail safe companion to keep my company as I worked on making models throughout the night. My dual screen set up was particularly beneficial… Photoshop one screen and youtube on the other. One thing I do try to ensure now is that I am not *just* watching Netflix, I’m into sewing and knitting so will allow myself to watch Netflix only if I do something productive at the same time … let’s be honest, most series don’t require your full attention!

    I definitely echo Joel’s comment with regard to watching Master of None (very lighthearted) and Black Mirror (anything but lighthearted!) – Here’s to guilt free binging!

  3. Nicki Hambleton

    I concur with Joel, above re Black Mirror and Better Call Saul. Have you seen Big Little Lies yet? I binge watched it on the plane! An easy way to kill some of the journey. Paula Guinto recommended Abstract and I loved it too. Unfortunately streaming and generally watching anything other than a gentle Twitter feed is all we can manage here in the Tuscan hills. In fact, I am amazed I was able to load, read and comment on your post at all! We hang a little toy basket out of the kitchen window to catch the only phone signal to then get 2G on a little dongle type gadget!
    I love your thinking and when I’m back in the land of downloads I’ll watch the video you posted.
    Ciao bella

  4. Kimberly House

    Hi Carrie,
    I’m doing a massive catch up this summer. June was just too hectic to comment on everyone’s posts, but I didn’t want to simply let your post slip by. I loved Madeline’s L2 talk and the connection that you make between the Netflix phenomenon and personalised learning. I agree, they are motivated by the culture of personalisation we have come to expect. Why shouldn’t it move into education? The idea that we as teachers need to ‘recondition’ ourselves really resonates with me. I seem to be on this non-stop drip of ‘change school’ themed posts, videos, articles, etc. I’m convinced it can be done if enough people help make it happen. Thanks for your post! xK

  5. Tricia Friedman

    Hi Carrie,

    Your post also makes me wonder how accessible ‘school’ is for students who would want to ‘binge learn.’ Are we making sure that there are not only bread crumbs leading back for those needing support—-but ‘next episode’ features for students wanting to push forward on their own?

    I think Netflix and new media have pointed to a trend where the user is empowered to set the pace. How can we leverage that in the classroom?

    Have you head of the Portuguese series called The 3%? I really love the premise and find it highly relevant. For new shows, I am an avid listener and fan of a podcast by Slate called The Slate Culture Gabfest. Their recommendations are always spot on.


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