An educator’s guide to teaching with video

Boy student video conference e-learning with teacher and classmates on computer in living room at home.

Using educational video content in your courses can help better engage students and illustrate important concepts. This can work especially well for remote and distance learning, but is also helpful for hybrid and in-person classes. “Blended learning” is a relatively new term in education that allows students to learn in part through online learning and to have some control over where, when, and how they work. One effective way to incorporate blended learning is to use videos to teach specific ideas and then use valuable class time for in-depth discussions or conduct enrichment activities on the same topic.

Blended learning is a proven way to increase the effectiveness of your teaching. In a study conducted by the University of Iowa, 95 percent of students enrolled in blended learning courses earned a grade of C-minus or higher, compared to 82 percent of students in traditional lectures, and 81 percent of online-only students. Blended learning methods work well in K-12 classrooms, as well as higher education.

Aside from using video for blended learning, they can also enhance your traditional classroom environment. Multimedia adds variety to instruction and can also be a way to engage learners in projects to illustrate what they are learning.

Shift eLearning reports 40 percent of learners respond better to visual information than text alone. This is because images are easily digestible, interactive, and more engaging. Using videos for educational purposes can also help students develop media and digital literacy, which is an important skill, for any consumer of online media, but also in higher education and professional development.

Creating video content for students

The video content you create and feature in your courses will largely depend on the grade you’re teaching, as well as the type of classroom you have. For example, video content for a second-grade science class will be vastly different from a college-level psychology course.

There are several different ways you can create educational videos, including through classic filmmaking techniques and the use of editing software. Before you start creating videos for your classroom, you should consider the following:

Once you know this information, you are ready to get started on your video creations.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous videos

Synchronous videos are two-way communications with no delay. For example, a zoom conference would be a synchronous video, because both the teacher and the students can respond to information in real time. The benefits of using synchronous videos include:

Asynchronous videos are one-way communications. A pre-recorded lecture would be an example of an asynchronous video. These types of videos are often most associated with blended learning. The benefits of asynchronous videos include:

Synchronous and asynchronous videos are both great tools for creating a blended classroom. Synchronous videos are often more suited for remote learners who may not have other set times to interact with their teachers, while asynchronous videos provide learners with flexibility for when, where, and how often they will access the video. Whether you use either or both will depend on your classroom type and student needs.

Video creation tools and applications

Recording video is the first step in creating a video for your class. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive and there are several tools available that work for bothsynchronous and asynchronous video creation. These tools are free or low cost and usually have special offers for teachers and students. Some of these tools include:

For some of these tools, like Blackboard, you will need to have educator credentials to create an account. Other tools, like YouTube, are free and open to the public. If you require a paid account to unlock premium features, check to see what type of educational discounts are available.

Video editing software

Once you have created a video, you’ll want to edit and upload it. Editing a video can mean many things — cutting out mistakes, resizing your video for different platforms, and even adding closed-captioning, as well as inserting things like transitions and other effects.

It’s important to have at least basic editing software on your work/school device. Some tools allow you to edit video from your mobile device, however, most people find it easier to edit on a larger screen, such as a desktop monitor.

Some video editing software to help you create high-quality education materials includes:

Each of these programs offers different resources for teachers with different experience levels, from beginner to advanced. The type of editing and video production software you’ll need will depend largely on what you’re trying to do with your videos. For example, Adobe Animate is perfect for creating animated characters and elements, but wouldn’t be the best general video editor, like Premiere Rush or Premiere Pro.

Teaching strategies for video

Learning different video creation techniques, for both asynchronous and synchronous videos, is a good way to keep your content engaging, unique, and effective. Teaching to a camera can be very different from teaching to a classroom, particularly if you aren’t used to it. The following techniques can help you:

Other aids included in your videos during editing, like transcripts and closed captioning, can make your videos more accessible to students with hearing impairments, as well as easier to produce. If you’re following a script, you’re less likely to forget what you need to say, which will make for clearer content.

Types of educational videos

Different types of educational videos can also increase engagement in blended classes. Different types of videos include:

Creating a video type that serves your main goal can increase retention and clarity of your objective. For example, if you’re teaching a math formula, then a simple whiteboard video is a great tool. It gives a step-by-step visual that puts the focus on the formula, making it easier for students to tune out distractions.

Using non-educational videos in the classroom

When using other videos besides your own in the classroom, be selective and purposeful. The clips you show should emphasize points in the lesson objectives, rather than be a distraction. Additionally, it’s crucial to make sure the media is age-appropriate and accurate by viewing it ahead of time. This gives you time to fact-check if the media isn’t from an accredited or authoritative source.

There are several online video libraries from authoritative sources for you to choose from when creating a lesson. For example, TEDTalk offers a video library of past speeches given by experts. Adobe also offers an educational video library, which is a great classroom resource. The Library of Congress video collection is another free resource educators can use — it’s full of authoritative content.

If you’re going to use content from a non-authoritative source, make sure it still informs the lesson. For example, using a viral video from Twitter as an example of propaganda and how it works in today’s age can be a great, engaging lesson. It’s important that when you do this, you disclaim the video and explain it’s from a non-expert source before viewing. Applying digital literacy best practices to how you select video content will be a good example to your students as they choose media sources on their own.

Ways to assign videos for learning objectives and assignments

As an educator, you can also assign video projects to students. This will help them learn skills such as editing, public speaking, creative planning, and more. Some examples of video assignments could include:

Using video creation as a part of an assignment is a great way for you to make an average assignment — for example, a book report — more engaging. Through this, students have a higher chance of absorbing more of the material and retaining it longer because they are interacting with it in more than one way.

Ways to share your videos with others outside the classroom

If you’re interested in posting your educational videos publicly, for other students or educators to use, there are several ways you can do that. Some hosting platforms that will give those outside your classroom access to your videos include:

In some cases, you can even earn money for the videos you share publicly, depending on the platform you use as well as the size of your audience. But in every case of a video that includes students, be sure to have a signed media release from the student, or their parent if they are a minor, before making it publicly available.

Further reading

For more reading about blended classrooms and the use of video as educational materials, check the resources below:

Blended and online learning continues to grow in popularity because of its proven benefits and accessibility. Applying these techniques in your classroom — such as with educational videos — is a great way to keep your students engaged and stay on top of new and exciting education trends.