March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Flipped, Blended, or Stirred: Using Video to Enhance Learning in the Classroom | Tech Tidbits

Use of video in the classroom is a promising, effective tool for student and teacher learning and education. In her article “Understanding the Role of Video in Teacher Learning” Miriam Sherin, professor in the School of Education and Social Policy and the Learning Sciences Department at Northwestern University, demonstrates that while teachers initially used video to ask basic, comprehension-based questions, increased use of video in instruction can help them go much deeper and challenge students to achieve more in-depth reasoning with more inquiry-based questions. And who better to help the teachers find new tools and go deeper than us, their school librarians and media specialists?

Video in the classroom can also promote strong discussions, liven up a lesson, and can be downright fun. This media seems to be everywhere. More and more teachers are using videos for flipped or blended instruction, creating learning experiences outside of the classroom. Students are creating videos that can demonstrate subject mastery and understanding. As they create, they demonstrate not only their understanding—the very process of creating the video can lead to richer learning, creativity, failing, and then relearning.

Students in my school are using iMovie to create commercials showcasing their persuasive writing skills. Students have created “you were there”type historical video news reports. Our students have also used the video format to visually illustrate and narrate their “I Am” poems which define their values and goals, and can bring a tear to any parent’s eye.

The wealth of video tools available can also provide rich professional development opportunities for teachers trying to strengthen their own skills, using sites like and These sites provide quality instruction demonstrating best practices for teachers. The Teaching Channel also provides the opportunity for individual teachers to contribute to the collective knowledge, giving us increased opportunities to learn from each other.

teachingchannelIn the blended classroom venue, my teachers have been asking for tools they can use to create tutorials or screencasts, enhancing their online presence. Some teachers are creating screencast tutorials in YouTube and organizing them using Google Playlist, which makes it easy for teachers and students to locate. Another example is the creation of video tutorials explaining the use of databases or ebook access, which are then posted on the library website or in the teacher’s Google Classroom or Blackboard class.

Some of my teachers have their students create video tutorials, which can be posted on a blog or website for other students and parents. Any teacher can attest to the fact that they learn their subject best when they have to break it down into steps in order to teach it to others. Students, too, learn more as they create the videos and explain processes.

screencastifyEach video tool meets a need and this month, I’d like to share my top favorite video tools starting with two very nice Chrome extensions, which do screen capturing. Screencastify is a video screen capture program that stores video in a special folder in Google Docs. It also has the option to embed webcam videos, which might be you explaining some process or concept to your students. Snag It is also a Chrome app and extension that allows users to capture and manipulate still images from their screens, as well as capture video with narration.

Touchcast is a great tool to create an interactive video that allows users to click active hyperlinks right in the video to view and manipulate online information. To create a Touchcast, the user must download software for PC or Mac platforms, but it is well worth it. There are also educational Touchcasts available on the site that can be viewed before creating your own. This is a great tool for blended classrooms, as seen in this example of interactive video for education.

Edpuzzle is a YouTube annotation tool for creating or editing YouTube videos by clipping the source, and adding narration, quiz questions and comments. Teachers can add students to their virtual Edpuzzle classroom, view which students have completed the video lesson, and post grades. This free resource was created by math teachers in Barcelona, Spain; check out the great video introduction to Edpuzzle.

There are so many ways to use video in the classroom. You can individualize instruction, show classroom procedures, create professional development tutorials, assign student-created videos to demonstrate learning, or even use video as a tool for reflection. Next month, I’ll share some tutorial creation tools that are fantastic, and easy to use. These video tools and their uses in education are getting stronger and stronger. The right one is waiting just for you!


Phil Goerner is a teacher librarian at Silver Creek High School, Longmont, CO.

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Phil Goerner About Phil Goerner

Phil Goerner is the teacher librarian and tech innovator at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, CO. He can be found on Twitter @pgoerner. Phil is also an adjunct professor with University of Colorado at Denver in the School Library and Instructional Leadership program.

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  1. Meg Newsome says:

    What can you tell me about, mentioned in this article? Is there a review of this resource I haven’t located?

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