10 Aug 2017

8 Free Interactive Video Tools to Impact Student Learning

As educators, we all know that videos engage students more than reading texts. Although having students analyze and reflect on videos should be balanced with textual analysis and interpretations, videos do have the added value of using the visual and auditory channels to help students retain more information so that they can be in a better position to  deconstruct the messages encoded in the video, reflect on it, and discuss with peers. However, like reading texts, especially long intricate texts, students need embedded formative feedback. Watching a 20 minute video for example might disengage a student, or might include more information than the student can retrieve. The best solution to help students think about the video they are watching is embedded questions and discussions.

This is why we have listed 8 free video tools that can help you, more or less, build activities or questions around videos students watch at home as part of a blended, online  or flipped learning course/class. We are presenting them in preference of open source technologies as we support and acknowledge the efforts put into open source technologies as opposed to for-profit edtechs.

1. H5P (open source)

2017-08-10_23-32-41H5P is much more than an interactive video platform. It has so many possibilities. But for this post, we are only discussing its interactive video feature. H5P Interactive video is an HTML5 based interactive video content type allowing users to add multiple choice and  fill in the blank questions, pop-up text and other types of interactions to their videos using only a web browser. What we also found awesome is that  you can make your videos more engaging with H5P and interactive video on WordPress, Moodle and Drupal; and it lets you track student performance. Here’s an example we did some while ago.

Here’s another example.

2. Videonot.es (open source)

Sometimes you just want to have you students take intermittent notes on particular time lapses of the video. Whether note-taking, posing questions, self-questioning, reflecting, or just summarizing, students use these techniques to improve their performance. Videonote.es is a powerful online video notes tool that lets students take all the notes they type automatically synchronized with the video. Later, they just click on a line for the video to jump to the relevant part. Videonot.es is integrated with Google Drive. So any student can save their notes to Google Drive. Students can share their Video.notes file on G Drive to share with teachers for assignment feedback.

3. Office Mix (free)

2017-08-10_23-29-52I know you adore PowerPoint. Don’t we all?Fortunately,  Microsoft has added a PowerPoint add-in, Office Mix that turns your PowerPoint presentation into an interactive video, for free. Yup! for free.

You can add audio, video, and digital ink; create polls and interactive apps; create quizzes and simulations; design assessments and get reports; gain insights and analytics of video interactors; and it can playback on any device. Microsoft has created a decent set of tutorials for Office Microsoft. It also has a page just for educators to support their classroom teaching for blended, flipped or completely online instructions. Download and install it here. Here’s an example.

4. Vialogues (free, registration needed)

2017-08-10_23-35-39Short for video dialogues, Vialogues claims that it helps anyone to start meaningful discussions around videos. Being built by Edlab, Teachers College at Columbia University, we don’t have any reason not to believe it delivers what it promises. Vialogues includes 4 easy steps to get started: Create, Invite, Interact, and Share.

An award-winning discussion platform that proves that videos are both powerful teaching resources and the ultimate conversation starters. Vialogues provides a space for users to hold meaningful and dynamic time-stamped discussions about videos.

5. Videoposit (freemimum for individual account)

2017-08-10_23-45-09Lately, I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback on Videoposit by teachers. Based on the language used on Videoposit website, it seems it is mostly geared towards higher education and corporate settings, although they claim that k12 school setting is also supported. Videoposit claims to improve professional development and on-boarding of instructors/employees. It says it renders effortless authorship, learner engagement, accountable tracking, and seamless workflow.

I wouldn’t trust a website that uses its owner’s pet dog as a logo, but you are welcome to try it anyway.

6. Edpuzzle (freemimum for individual account)

2017-08-11_0-10-53Edupuzzle claims it is the easiest way to engage students with videos by picking a video, adding a magical touch and tracking students’ understanding. Edpuzzle saves time and improves student learning by taking an already existing video on Youtube, Khan Academy, Crash Course etc. or uploading your own, by enabling self-paced learning with interactive lessons, adding one’s voice and questions along the video, and by knowing if your students are watching your videos, how many times and see the answers they give. Edpuzzle is also available as an Android and iOS app, and ass a Chrome extension, a Youtube extension.

7. TEDed Lessons (free)

2017-08-11_0-20-23If you are like me, you would binge watch TED talks. They are tremendously inspiring. TEDed Lessons was created to build lessons around TED videos, or any other video as well. The video questions are sorted into four categories: Watch (student watches video.), Think (student answers multiple choice questions.), Dig Deeper (Student answers a subjective question or follows some additional resources.), and Discuss( Students discuss the video with peers.). This categorization is a great way for differentiating learning in terms of cognitive processes. The technical difference between TEDed lessons and Edupuzzle, Videoposit, and H5P above is that the questions in TEDed lessons are not embedded in the video. The student watches the whole video and answers the questions, although toggling between watching and answering questions is an option too (perhaps it is better for students to choose whether to answer questions whilst watching or later?).

8. Google Forms? (free)

2017-08-11_0-22-27I know what you are thinking! Again? Back to Google? Well, the generic aspect of G Suite is that it can allow you to remix anything you want to produce what you need for your instructional objectives. Using Google Form Quiz template, you can embed a YouTube video followed by questions on the video. Although the questions are not embedded in the video, itself this helps students check their understanding and think deeper about the issues in the video. You can also add YouTube video questions at consequent times in the video so that students watch the video and answer questions before moving on to the next part of the video. For example, question 1 would be a YouTube video that starts at 0 sec. and ends at 1 min. Question 2 includes the same video start time at 1 min. and ends at 3 min. and so on (see here on how to do it).

We hope you liked the interactive video tools above. Have you used any of these before? Are they new to you? Are you willing to try one this school year? Share your thoughts in the comment box below

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16 Oct 2013

11 Reasons Every Educator Needs a Video Strategy

This blog post was already published on OnlineUniversities


Any company, organization, or individual hoping to take advantage of digital video to educate or entertain the populace or promote a product should have a video strategy in place before springing for the time and equipment involved. Educators, of course, are not exempt from the core tenets of solidifying a viable video strategy — especially when it comes to how exactly they plan to take advantage of everything the medium offers.

  1. Online and open source:Because both the online and the open source movements within education have been enjoying steady growth, it behooves any adherents to fire up their cameras and film a few lectures or other helpful videos. Educators who upload for public consumption on a personal site, iTunes U, YouTube Education, or other hosting resource reach a range of students beyond their rosters. For plugged-in teachers hoping to extend their influence and bring knowledge to the world, or an exclusively digital classroom at the very least, videos add a more human element.
  2. Accessibility:Incorporating videos into lessons offers a viable method for students with special needs, such as ADD/ADHD or conditions requiring home-bound stints, to retain and remember information. The medium makes for one more way to ensure all learners enjoy access to educational materials that meet their specific requirements. Just make sure to remember subtitles or transcripts for hearing-impaired students.
  3. Archiving:Teachers who require their students to shoot videos might want to keep a digital archive of their work to show off to future classes. Or, of course, tracking their own creations for online, open source, or hybrid classrooms. For the older crowd needing to convert their educational VHS and DVD presentations to digital media, a video strategy ensures these materials make the transition from generation after generation of learners.
  4. Visual learners:Some students just learn better when viewing animated diagrams, step-by-step how-tos, and other video lessons. A well-balanced classroom spreads things out across different styles, and creating short movies and lectures reaches out to those with a more visual outlook. Cobbling together a video strategy addresses the inherently diverse nature of students’ methods for soaking up information.
  5. Greater classroom connectivity:Video conferencing with Skype and other VOIP services entices educators who want their students to tackle collaborative projects with counterparts from around the world. In fact, Skype itself provides its own social media site for teachers wanting to connect and set up everything from foreign language exchanges to group poems. It’s an engaging strategy opening up some amazing and unique opportunities that weren’t available a decade ago.
  6. Low-cost field trips:Thanks to the recession, schools must watch on helplessly as their funding dissolves, which means their field trip budgets come up scant. But infusing video into the classroom transports students to notable sites around the world, with some museums even offering free virtual tours. All the benefits of exploring and experiencing sans the transportation and admissions fees! The principal will love you.
  7. Video games:Video games are not the scourge society seems to enjoy painting them as — in fact, they actually possess some incredible educational benefits when wielded correctly. Immersive environments particularly engage digital natives, but even the FBI takes advantage of the technology for training its agents. Not every video strategy necessarily needs to think about the whys of Wiis, of course. But instructors might want to research the positives behind serious gaming and strongly think about introducing it into the syllabus.
  8. Addressing absences:No matter who has to stay at home — teacher or student — pre-recording lectures, instructions, or assignments helps close up any gaps in lessons that result from absences. All video strategies, even the most rudimentary, should keep this not-so-little perk in mind. Learners experiencing prolonged illnesses or other situations requiring homebound education will especially appreciate not being left behind. Alternately, streaming video with Skype, Google Talk, or another VOIP provider works as a stellar alternative.
  9. Supplementary materials:Snag Films, Hulu, and Documentary Heaven all stream free documentaries. And, of course, the Internet overflows with open source lectures from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, like MIT, Stanford, and Yale. Take advantage of this rich bounty of educational delights to drive home points made in classroom lectures, or add to students’ overall knowledge of the subject at hand.
  10. Nurture creativity:Long before digital video became a thing that existed, students shot videos as classroom assignments. There’s no reason now why this can’t continue! Rather than forcing paper after quiz after exam after worksheet, challenge them to share what they’ve learned creatively, through film they’ve shot and edited themselves. And with technology being what it is and everything, whipping up something awesome proves easier and faster than ever.
  11. Digital literacy:Both students and educators alike benefit from building their digital literacy skills, regardless of whether or not they hope to share their videos online. With a working knowledge of computers, the Internet, and peripherals — not to mention how to operate and navigate them all safely and responsibly — such a desirable suite of abilities in countless industries today, getting learners familiar with the core tenets as early as possible proves a fruitful endeavor. Even the older set looking to score new jobs or simply keep their mind occupied can pick up a few things through video and other digital resources.
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