It can be extremely useful to clarify some aspects of a tough topic, such as explaining how the human body functions or how an ancient Roman house was built. The examples are just endless, but there is a risk of losing students' attention, because after 10 minutes they could drift off. To keep them engaged all the time, I first hand out some questions about the video.
It is is even better if I don't make the questions follow the sequence of the video itself: they're kept busy all the time concentrating enough to understand what is explained so that they can identify the right question as well as answer it.
I have used videos when we did Aggression and Conformity for the Social Psychology course, for example. For the Sociology course, while running the unit on Family, we talked about the Future of the Family, its changes in recent years, the roles of parents, the influence of Women's Movements and so on. There are many videos about changing family life and I've ranged questions from "What part has the media played in influencing family life?"
to "Why are some people so scared of having families?"
Sara Ferro, PGCE student at Canterbury Christ Church University College