Five Strategies for Using Video in the Classroom

Five Strategies for Using Video in the Classroom

Strategy 1: Never Project to the Whole Class

Student devices and simple strategies render whole-class video projection obsolete. When students view video individually, they can watch at their own pace by pausing and rewinding. They can be assessed and engaged at their own pace.

A video projected to the whole class lives in the recesses of students’ memories where it can be forgotten or misremembered. A video shared for individualized viewing will live on a teacher website, LMS or, preferably, Google Classroom. There students can access it anywhere, anytime. The time for whole-class projection is over. No 1:1 devices? Try a computer lab.

Strategy 2: Take Advantage of YouTube Beyond Pressing Play

Teachers can make their own videos for free using their device’s built-in webcam and Screencastify. Beyond simply uploading and sharing videos, there are four components of YouTube teachers should take advantage of:


Teachers can add text boxes to their videos using annotations. This is a great opportunity to point students to further resources or scaffold content conveyed in video. This is what it looks like:


Adding annotations when uploading video or adding them to old videos is easy.


Cards appear in the upper-right corner of a video. They link to other videos. This is a great way to point students to another resource. Notice the use of an annotation and a card in this video:


Making cards is simple. They can be added when uploading videos or to old videos.

Here I demonstrate adding cards and annotations to a YouTube video:

Custom Thumbnails

A YouTube video thumbnail appears when a video comes up in search results or is embedded on a website. YouTube gives users three thumbnails to choose from when uploading a video. Each is a paused moment from the video. They rarely look good. Users can also upload a custom thumbnail.

It is helpful to students to have an image and title on a custom thumbnail. I design mine using Google Slides (keeping the default 16:9 ratio in page setup) and then screen capture them to create an image. Google Drawings works too. I have made custom thumbnails for the first video in each of my playlists:

Screenshot 2015-12-07 at 7.54.11 PM

Here are steps to add custom thumbnails to your videos.

Watch as I demonstrate how to add a custom thumbnail to a YouTube video:


My playlist, Student-Centered and Future Ready, contains videos created by others. YouTube users can make playlists using all videos on YouTube, not just their own. This is a great way to easily curate and share videos with students. Creating playlists and adding videos to them is as easy as clicking “Add to” in any YouTube video:

Adding to or Creating a Playlist

Strategy 3: Use DragonTape to Edit and Curate YouTube Videos

Is there a great video for your next lesson that has a moment of inappropriate content? Do you want students to watch that video with the offensive content magically removed? That’s what DragonTape does. DragonTape lets users make mix-tapes using YouTube videos.  The magic is that users can crop videos and insert clips from the same video over and over again. This means a YouTube video can be cropped in infinite ways. Teachers can also use DragonTape to curate videos like they would playlists in YouTube.

DragonTape allows users to make mix-tapes with YouTube videos. Additionally, users can crop videos and use the same video multiple times.

Strategy 4: Use TED-Ed to Add Assessment and Engagement

TED-Ed is a great tool to add assessment questions, discussion prompts, and links to further resources after students watch a video.

TED-Ed Plain
A YouTube video in TED-Ed. “Think” questions are multiple choice. “Dig Deeper” leads students to further resources. “Discuss” questions give students a discussion prompt and opportunities to comment on responses.

Here is a tutorial to help you get started using TED-Ed.

Don’t have time to create a TED-Ed lesson? Search through their more than 150,000 lessons to see if they have what you need.

Strategy 5: Use EDPuzzle to Add Assessment and Engagement

EdPuzzle allows teachers to add assessment questions and their own voice to videos as students watch them. This is what a student sees when watching a video in EdPuzzle:

EdPuzzle Answer a Question
Student view of a video in EdPuzzle. The yellow mark shows where a student has to listen to a voice recording of their teacher.

Here is a tutorial to help you get started using EdPuzzle.

Don’t have time to create an EdPuzzle lesson? Search through the many lessons other teachers have created!

If you would like to discuss these strategies further, please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom. Thank you for reading.




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