Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Remember the days when you would walk into class and see that you were going to watch a video? Whether you got excited or not, chances are you didn’t think you were going to actually have to learn anything that day.
The sad truth is that we still associate watching videos as passive and non-educational. But as more courses are offered online, plenty of research has been done on how to make video learning more effective. Experts agree that videos can be a useful tool, as long as they are designed the right way.
Instead of just assigning our students a video to watch, we as educators can turn videos into engaging lessons that activate learning and hold our students accountable. Check out our best practices for making awesome video lessons your students will love.
The Keys to a Fantastic Video Lesson
The good news is you already know more about making great video lessons than you think! A lot of the important principles of video lessons are similar to those of normal teaching.
Chunk information. Our brains can only take in so much information at a time. That’s why short videos (studies recommend 6-9 minutes maximum for older students) are crucial. If you teach younger children, use your teacher instinct to figure out what’s best for your students.
Speak informally. Even though your students might cringe at your voice impressions, they would still rather hear the authentic you. A robotic lecture voice is bad in the classroom and even worse on video. Make students feel like they are in your normal class and being taught material prepared especially for them.
Integrate questions. This is probably the most powerful thing you can do! Students remember things better when they have to practice recalling new information on their own. Embed multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions to check for understanding and have students engage more with the content.
So now that you know these key elements, here’s some even better news. Edpuzzle allows you to do all of these things! Whether it’s a video you find on YouTube or one that you record yourself, we give you the superpower to create amazing video lessons.
Using existing video
Let’s face it, teachers are busy and it’s more time-saving to find a pre-made video for your class. Edpuzzle makes it quick and easy to find engaging videos from quality sources.
Numberphile and Khan Academy are two great channels available for math teachers. Science teachers might like Veritasium and National Geographic, and Crash Course is nice for social studies. Remember, you can always use Edpuzzle’s video editor to make a video shorter or edit out anything you don’t need.
Because you’re using a pre-made video, it’s a good idea to add as much personalization as you can. We recommend starting every video with an audio note.
In less than a minute, you can go over what your students are going to watch and how it relates to what they’re learning in class. Hearing your voice also adds a personal touch that will comfort and encourage your students!
As you start to embed questions throughout your video, don’t forget that the end of the video is just as important for creating your dynamic video lesson!
Try ending your videos with an open-ended question to check in with your students. You could have them share how confident they feel about the new information they’ve learned or ask them if they have any questions for you. This feedback will be super useful for when you decide how to differentiate your next lesson!
Recording your own video
Even though there are already a lot of resources out there, sometimes only you can provide students with something custom-tailored to their needs.
It doesn’t take any fancy tech or tools to create your own video, the more low-tech the better! You can use a screen-recording tool to easily record a lesson from your computer. If you’re really enthusiastic, consider researching the tools you need to make even better educational videos.
Depending on what you teach, you'll need to decide how to best present material to your students. Many teachers find it best to record a slide presentation. Elementary school teachers could consider screen-recording online tools or games to better engage younger students.
When you record video, you can pause to ask questions or prompt your students just like you would in a normal lesson. Once you upload your video to Edpuzzle, simply embed your questions at these pauses and see the responses flow in!
At the end of the day, the lesson itself is the most important thing to plan. Don’t worry about the little technical things and just make sure your students are getting the information that they need.
Want more great video-lesson tips? Check out our webinars and find out how Edpuzzle can help you transform your video, no matter what subject or grade you teach!