With more Chromebook and other devices in classrooms than ever before, teachers have the opportunity to help students deepen their learning with digital tools, including video. If you’ve been using video in class, but want to be sure it’s time well spent, check out these free tools you (and your students) can use to create interactive video lessons to flip your instruction, enhance study time, and engage your class.
Bringing Video to Life
You’re probably already using video in your class, so why bother with these new tools? Video is already useful, but we can make it even more relevant to educational use with tools specifically geared toward using videos for student learning. Even a great, highly engaging video that is germane to your learning objective can be ineffective if students are zoning out when they’re supposed to be watching it. With interactive video tools, you can not only guide students’ thinking and reflection while they watch the video, you can also drop questions into the video at just the right spots to deepen their thinking or reinforce an important point. Each of these tools works slightly differently; one of them should be just right for your classroom.
[Something to consider: because they’re third-party tools, you may want to double-check with your IT department or instructional technology coach to be sure that these tools are approved for student use in your district. Many of these websites (and those of many other educational tools) collect the email address of the student when they login, which could be considered personally identifiable information. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits sharing of such information with third parties unless parental consent is obtained. This applies if you’re having students under 13 log in to view videos you’ve enhanced, or if you’re asking students to use the tools themselves to create quizzes or study materials. Asking students to view the videos on these websites without logging in shouldn’t create any problems, but you will not be able to collect data on student responses directly from the tool if they are not logged in.]
Interactive Video Options
Playposit: Log into this interactive video tool using OpenID–your Google, Microsoft, Clever or Edmodo account–and find the perfect video for your lesson from a number of sources, including YouTube and Vimeo. Add multiple choice or short answer questions throughout the video, then connect to Google Classroom or other tools to share your videos with students. You can view publicly shared “bulbs” (Playposit’s name for a video with questions) and use those for your class, too (though you’re limited to only a few shared bulbs as a free user). Playposit’s dashboard allows you to monitor student progress. It will let you know who’s viewed your videos and who hasn’t, but you’ll have to manually post links to the bulbs via Google Classroom, and your students will need to log in to Playposit (using their Google accounts) in order to view the videos.
EdPuzzle: This tool works in a similar way to Playposit, but allows you to upload your own videos when using a free account. You can also use YouTube or Vimeo videos, or videos from a number of different sources Like Playposit, you can use other teachers’ publicly posted lessons. Import classes from Google Classroom and post to Classroom directly from EdPuzzle using the “post to Classroom” button. You can prevent students from skipping ahead in your videos with this tool.
TED-Ed: This tool, as you might expect, was developed by the same organization that brings you TED Talks and conferences. It offers pre-made Ted-Ed lessons and series, as well as permitting you to choose YouTube videos (by searching or pasting in a URL) to create your own lessons. Ted-Ed has a very clean interface and is simple to use. It’s also 100% free, and you can choose to have students log in (if they’re over 13) or just watch the videos and take the quizzes with a nickname. Ted-Ed doesn’t collect data on the answers students submit, so it’s not as immediately useful for formative assessment as some of the other tools.
Vialogues: Another simple tool for creating interactive videos, Vialogues creates a comment stream alongside a Youtube, Vimeo, or uploaded video. Like Ted-Ed, it doesn’t collect answer data, but facilitates a discussion of issues in the video, based on questions or reflection prompts placed at certain points. As the creator of the questions and prompts, you’re a “moderator” rather than a teacher. Vialogues doesn’t connect to Google Classroom or other learning management systems, but it’s useful for non-graded activities such as encouraging reflection before an in-class discussion, or for introducing a topic.
Watching movies in class might have received a bad rap in years past, but with the abundance of digital video tools available to teachers today, we now know it can be an important part of an engaging learning unit. Try a few of these tools out with the videos you’re planning to show your class, and see how they deepen your students’ thinking. You’ve got nothing to lose!