Creating videos for the classroom: a guide with examples

Videos are probably the most underused tool in classrooms, both when it comes to meaningful consumption and production. Particularly the latter is hardly ever used by teachers as they assume the technological level required to create videos is simply too high. However, with the introduction of smartphones and simple free editing tools making videos has become as easy as writing a text in a word processing application and putting it on the web has become a piece of cake with video sharing sites such as vimeo, facebook or the most popular among them all, YouTube.

Before you use YouTube for video projects you should familiarize yourself with it features such as channels, upload options and editing.
When you know where and how the students can upload their videos you are ready to go.

You can produce videos for:

Video podcasts: have the students produce short (2 min.) videos of themselves talking about any topic you would like to discuss in class. It is not necessary to show them all in class, preferably only the best ones. Some students do not feel at ease anyway when their videos are shown in class.

Educasts: The students produce a video that teaches (their classmates/younger students – peer teaching) how to do something. They could make a tutorial on how to tune a guitar or how to cook a certain dish.  
Screencasts: Students choose a software/web 2.0 tool which they would like to show their classmates. Here is an example on how to create a video slideshow. There are a number of free screencasting  (recording) tools such as camstudio  and jing as well as a host of free web 2.0 tools (e.g.

Documenting projects: students use their mobile phones to document a project they are working on.  If they work on a bigger project they could even create a “making of” video.

Documenting field trips. Students usually complain when you take pictures/video of them during field trip, but they love watching them later. Here is an example from a trip to London.

Interviews: Doing interviews on various topics with their parents/grandparents, conducting a survey among passer-bys, or interviewing their host parents on a language trip.

Short features: creating short (3 min.) feature films on serious topics like “safer internet” or xenophobia. Or simply a fun video where the content does not matter (e.g. a foreign language project).

Animations: there a lot of great animation tools such as Flash and After Effects which are available to very few schools only due to their high cost. However, there are also some easily available programmes with which you can create animations (and record with screencasting software) such as MS PowerPoint or the free Prezi as well as specialized free Web 2.0 animation tools (e.g.
Many teachers might wonder what they could use animations for. Very simple: creating short and simple stories or an animated Xmas card. If that doesn’t sound like learning to you, then the students could create animated vocabulary that complies with the curriculum. In my project “video vocab for hospitality jobs” the students had the task to animate their own curriculum-related “dialogues” and explain the vocabulary used. 

Stopmotion: can be used for the same purposes as animations without animation software, just using a still camera or a webcam. 

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