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5 Ways To Use Online Video In Your Classroom

by Mike Paul

By now, you’ve probably used some form of online video in your classroom. Whether you’ve shown a video to your entire class or posted something on your class web page, video is a growing part of our connected lives and as educators. We should take advantage of video to engage students, get them more involved in our classrooms, and take charge of their own learning.

When it comes to video there are definitely some challenges for teachers. First, some still believe that they need to take the time to create their own videos in order to provide quality content for their students. While I always encourage teachers to make their own videos as current tools make that task much easier than in the past, I understand issues of time and fear of the camera.

However, unless you really want to create your own videos, there is so much great content available that you really don’t have to do so.

Secondly, some teachers feel like they have will have a hard time knowing exactly how many students are actually watching any videos that might be used and if the videos are benefitting students. While these are valid concerns, there are tools and systems that can help teachers know how many students are watching a certain video and how these videos are affecting student engagement and learning.

Before we talk about how to use online video in your class, let’s talk tips to finding videos that you may not yet have considered.

Where Do I Find Content?

Of course, the 800-pound gorilla hanging around any conversation about online video is YouTube. It is undeniably the king of video and, thanks to Google, has a number of useful tools that you can use to your advantage as a classroom teacher. If you happen to be a GSuite for EDU school or district, YouTube should definitely be one of the tools you use on a regular basis.

However, there are many more sources of online video. Think about all the streaming services out there now that have thousands of users creating hundreds of thousands of hours of videos every day. Follow a few people on Periscope (through Twitter) or Instagram or even, dare I say it, Snapchat. Even Facebook is now in the live streaming game. Even if you had to view one of these videos on your own computer and record your screen using a piece of software like Camtasia, you could use a video from any service (of course, keep in mind copyright and permissions issues).

Your sources for content are many and, frankly, will only increase in number as online video continues to expand. More people are creating video every day and teachers should leverage these content creators to reach students that carry a video screen in their pocket every where they go.

Now that you’ve got some content for your subject, let’s figure out how to make it work in your classroom. Here are five ways you can use online video in your classroom:

Introduce New Content

Whenever you begin a new topic in your room, a great way to get started is to use video to introduce concepts and topics that are new to your students. Video is a great hook to grab your students’ attention and get them focused where they need to be. They are used to having content delivered to them in video format so why not use a video to introduce a historical period or event, a math concept, or even a writing prompt?

Your video doesn’t necessarily have to be an instructional video. It might be a video that serves as the focus of a class discussion, a Question Formulation Technique session, or inspire and hook students into a group project. You are the teacher and the video is just a tool. Make it work for you and your students.

Formative Assessments

You may not think that video can help you assess your students but it most certainly can. Remember, you could use a video to start a lesson. Could you use a different video on the same subject to lead into a check for student understanding?


Using edtech tools that are currently available, you can certainly use video for assessments or make your assessments involve real information from real world sources, not a textbook or standardized test.

RooClick allows you to not only use YouTube videos but to upload your own videos and add questions or links directly in the video itself. As students progress through the video, they might answer questions or have the opportunity to visit other sites that offer more information about the subject. RooClick also has a tracking feature so you can see how many clicks students made during a video, helping to measure student engagement.

Formative allows you to add a YouTube video in an assignment through either search or by adding the URL and then you could ask questions about the video. Formative allows you to see in real-time how students are answering and gives you the opportunity to provide feedback.

Even if you added a YouTube video to a Google Slide deck, you could then provide a link to a Google Form for students to answer questions about the video content. There are so many ways to use video in assessments that the only limits are your creativity as a professional.

Showcase Student Understanding

While many teachers still have some uneasy feelings about making their own videos, students certainly don’t. They make videos any chance they get and post them to Instagram or Snapchat. Why not make use of those skills in your class? To showcase their understanding of a topic, let your students create a 10-second video on the topic. If you have a class account on Twitter or other social media platforms, post their videos there and share with the world.

Students appreciate having an authentic audience see their work and if you allow them some level of control over how they can prove their learning, you will have more engaged students and you will likely have more fun in class.

Provide Supports and Extensions

More than an entertainment medium, online video can be an extra support to students that need help. Or, if you have students that need a challenge, perhaps using video could give them a challenge to deepen their understanding of a topic to true mastery.

Many learning management systems offer the ability to use a series of videos to help students that are struggling. Even without an LMS, you can create playlist on YouTube that could provide the exact support a struggling student needs and create a resource they could refer back to over and over again.

Offer Meaningful Feedback

Here’s where I’m going to ask you to step beyond your comfort zone and take some time to make your own videos. When you provide meaningful feedback to a student, they learn so much more than just the content. They learn that someone cares about the work they are doing and that someone wants them to succeed. Students want to hear your voice as you give feedback. They want to see your face. They want to know that YOU are invested in their success.

You can record video feedback in so many different ways but the easiest way is likely in your pocket or sitting on your desk next to you. Your smartphone is quite possibly the best and easiest to use video camera you’ll ever own. Get yourself a tripod and make a video as you write comments on a paper if that’s all you can do. Make a screen capture recording using Camtasia or any number of other tools. Upload your videos to Google Drive or Dropbox and share the link with your students.

Online video has it’s place in the classroom of the present and the future. How will you integrate video on a regular basis in your classroom?

image attribution flickr user nasagoddard; previously published at

1 Comment

  1. Uzoma

    I found this interesting.
    How do I infuse this to create an Interactive lesson?

    From a Nigerian chemistry teacher


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