Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer EdTech Challenge #7: Interactive videos

Welcome to the Summer EdTech Challenge! Summertime is a wonderful time to be a teacher! It's the perfect time to recharge your batteries, catch up on trends in education, read for pleasure, and learn new things. How about taking the opportunity to learn new tech skills or try out new tools and strategies?

Each Monday this summer I'll post a simple tech challenge, something you can do between dips in the pool and binge watching your favorite TV show. These challenges are practical, easy to implement ideas to help you develop your tech skills and start next year off on the right technology foot!

Our students live in a video filled world. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, with 3 billion searches per month and 6 billion hours of video viewed every month. They say a picture is worth a thousand words (see what I did there?), so what is a video worth in your classroom? Videos engage students in the content, set the stage for a lesson, reach more visual modalities, take students places they may never get to, and help them visualize complex concepts.

The biggest problem with using video, especially when assigned as individual assignments, is holding students accountable for what they view. While video is easy to link to or embed, its much harder to make sure students watch a clip in its entirety, don't get distracted by "related videos", or get lost on the world wide web, let alone understand the concepts we wanted them to master from the video.

This post originally started out with the idea of encouraging teachers to look at three really good options for embedding questions into videos as a means of holding students accountable. Unfortunately a post came across my Twitter feed announcing that Zaption was shutting down in September.
As far as I can tell this leaves only two options: EDpuzzle and PlayPosit (formerly known as EduCanon). I tried looking at a third option, Vizia, which is a super simple version of the same idea. But I just couldn't get it to work. The videos took forever to load and when I went to preview it after embedding questions the video never loaded. I'm hoping the developers continue to work on it because it was super simple to use and I love having options.

So now we are down to two options, unless someone leaves me a comment with other ideas. Both of these platforms allow you to import video from a variety of sources (YouTube, Vimeo, Khan Academy, LearnZillion, TedTalks, etc), clip the section you want, and embed multiple choice and free response questions. These interactive videos are then assigned to students. Both offer Google Classroom integration, making it easy to create classes and student accounts. Students then view the video and are stopped at teacher determined points to answer questions. Students cannot advance through the video until the questions are answered. Pretty slick way to hold students accountable!

Your challenge this week is to create an interactive video for your class to use next year. If you need some ideas of how you can use video, check out my blog post 7 Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom. Then read my reviews on these two platforms (linked in the images below). Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a different interface. You'll need to try them out to see which one you prefer.

After deciding on a platform, create an interactive video to use in your class. Let me know in the comments how you plan to use the video. Was it difficult to embed the questions? What do you see is the value of a tool like this?

Here is an example of an interactive video I created for a 5th grade class using EDpuzzle.

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