360° Video – The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

360 Video - The New Frontier in Learner Engagement

YouTube is a vital tool all teachers should employ to engage learners. Teachers can use tools such as EdPuzzle and TED-Ed to build on the YouTube learning experience. Teachers can now use YouTube to share 360° videos – giving students a tactile, kinesthetic experience that allows for movement (see below) when watching videos.

Take advantage of these videos by using a YouTube search filter to find them:

Even better than having learners use a trackpad or mouse to explore a 360° video on a laptop is using the YouTube iPad app to have them explore using their fingers and movement. Watch as I demonstrate:

The amount of 360° content on YouTube will likely continue to grow. Teachers will have access to more excellent content to share with learners. In the meantime, here are four of my favorite 360° videos, two for science teachers and two for history teachers. Click play and use a mouse (or finger on a phone or tablet) to explore all 360 degrees of each video:




If you would like to discuss this with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.

Seven Wishes for Education This Holiday Season


My latest BamRadio Network EdWords blog post, Seven Wishes for Education This Holiday Season, covers a wide range of things I would like to see in education from integrating schools to getting teachers on YouTube. Please read and share what you are wishing for education in comments or tweet me @edtechtom.

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:

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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.


Use EDPuzzle to Make YouTube a Powerful Educational Tool


YouTube, the second largest search engine, is a transcendent resource for educators.  TEDEd is a great tool for engaging and assessing students after they watch YouTube videos. There is another great resource for ensuring students are getting it as they watch. This tool gives teachers the ability to add explanations during videos while individual students watch at their own pace. This free tool, EDpuzzle, is a great way to enrich video instruction.


To get started, go to EDpuzzle. Create a free teacher account:

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Use your school account to sign up. Edpuzzle has a “sign in with Google” feature that is great for GAFE schools. Students also have to set up accounts to log-in. This means teachers can easily keep track of assessment data.

Create classes and enroll students by sharing a unique class code, just like Google Classroom:

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Creating Lessons

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This brings the teacher to “My Content” where lessons are stored:

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To make a lesson with a YouTube video:

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An editor opens that looks like this:

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Teachers can add short-answer and multiple choice questions. To add a multiple choice question:

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Another good option for teachers is audio notes:

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EdPuzzle gives teachers the option to delete and re-record audio notes to get them just right. Teachers can also add a separate audio track:

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One Extra Benefit of EdPuzzle

EdPuzzle just added a “Share to Google Classroom” button:

EdPuzzle Share to Google Classroom for Blog Post

In Conclusion

YouTube is a great resource for teachers. However, it has nothing to ensure students are learning and engaged while watching. EdPuzzle changes that. Use it to make YouTube a powerful tool for your students. This is the EdPuzzle lesson I made in this post. If you have any questions about it, please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom. The video is The Forgotten War Hero – Milunka Savic by The Great War. It is well worth watching:




Making Lesson Recap Videos with SnagIt and a Chromebook

I went to to EdCamp New Jersey at the end of November where I heard Chris Aviles suggest teachers should make video recaps. He argued that in a 1:1 classroom, video lesson recaps are a powerful tool to fight learned helplessness. A student doesn’t know the answer to a question? Have them watch the video recap. Chris also made the point that video recaps give students multiple opportunities to learn and help absent students catch up.

Intrigued, I set about using December to incorporate video recaps into my practice. I made this video about what I have done so far:

After you create your account (I used my school Google e-mail), SnagIt creates a folder in your Google Drive. It is called “TechSmith” after the company that makes SnagIt.

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When you record using SnagIt, the app will capture your screen and the Chromebook’s microphone. I use the Chromebook camera so students can see my face rather than listen to a disembodied voice. When you stop a recording, it will appear as ” unfinished video” in the TechSmith folder.

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You can rename your video in the SnagIt video player and push it directly to your GAFE connected YouTube account.

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When SnagIt is finished processing you can access the video file in the TechSmith Google Drive folder.

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From Google Drive, you can download the video. I take this extra step because I post videos to my personal YouTube channel.  I want the videos to still exist should my job change. It is very easy with only upload and download time as minor inconveniences. Login to your personal GMail account and go to YouTube. From there:

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Then simply click on upload and you’re good to go.

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Pixiclip is another tool with great potential for video recaps. As I explained in the video above, I stopped using Pixiclip because when my students play it back on their Chromebooks they cannot rewind and fast forward.

Video lesson recaps are one way educational technology transforms educational practice. I am only one month into using them and am thrilled with the opportunities they create for my students!



Use TEDEd to Make YouTube a Powerful Educational Tool


Since its inception in the mid 2000s, YouTube has changed the way we look for and watch video. This voluminous archive is a great tool for educators. If only there was a way to leverage YouTube to make it a tool that can teach, reinforce and assess.

As a teacher, it is not enough to say to students, “Watch this video tonight. We’ll discuss tomorrow.” Today’s students need scaffolding and accountability to engage and learn.

If only there was a tool that added reading and questions to YouTube. It would be really great if that tool tracked student assessment data. Imagine if it had a discussion component so students could interact. And if only such a tool was free.

This all exists in one place. Meet TEDEd.


To get started, go to TEDEd. You have to set up an account if you want to customize questions and activities for YouTube videos and track student data. Trust me, you want to do this. I suggest using your school e-mail when setting up your account. Would you rather get updates on student progress in your work e-mail or your personal e-mail? Students also have to set up accounts to log-in and have their answers recorded.

Using TEDEd’s Videos

You can start very easily by using TEDEd’s ready-to-go lessons. They are usually TEDEd produced and have questions. You can find them by searching on the TEDEd site.

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The TEDEd produced videos (labeled TEDEd originals) are usually brief animated videos that are short enough to keep students’ attention but deep enough to convey content and provoke thought.

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The TEDEd originals come with three sections besides “Watch” which is simply the video itself. “Think” questions (multiple choice and short answer), “Dig Deeper” (links to further reading on the subject) and “Discuss” questions which are discussion board questions.  

You can customize the lesson by clicking “customize this lesson” found below the “Discuss” link.

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Customize the lesson by editing or deleting any of the lesson sections. Not only can TEDEd originals be customized, so can any lessons TEDEd users have generated.

The “Think” questions are limited to fifteen. You can delete questions and add your own. These questions allow for multiple choice or short answer. I try to use a mixture of both. Multiple choice give me a good data picture of how well my students have learned. The free response questions give students a chance to use think about content by considering perspective or building an argument.

The “Dig Deeper” tool is great for giving students more resources to explore a topic. For a video about the postwar development of American suburbs, I was able to use this tool to give students perspectives that differed from the speaker in the video. Once you have finished editing the sections, TEDEd gives you a link to share.

The “Discuss” tool allows you to enter discussion prompts. You can have students interact with each other, all in a space where you see exactly what every student has written. The different TEDEd sections build nicely from multiple choice through to student discussion.

As students answer the questions, you can log in to your TEDEd account to see student data and read answers to free response questions.

Advanced Level: Use ANY YouTube Video

The TEDEd originals and user generated content are great. The work is already done for you and you can simply customise it for your needs.

However, the great thing about TEDEd is that it can be used for any video on YouTube. Any at all. Find a video you want your students to interact with? Use TEDEd to make it happen.

Log in to TEDEd. Near the top of the screen is a link to “create a lesson.”

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From there you simply search the for the video you want. I suggest copying and pasting the video URL. From there you create questions and material for each TEDEd section you want to include. For an example of the end result, please have a look at my TEDEd lesson based on a video about JFK’s World War II experience informing his Cuban Missile Crisis decision making from The Armageddon Letters (link includes video) a great source for content about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In Conclusion

YouTube is great for teachers. However, it comes with neither scaffolding nor assessment. TEDEd changes that. Leverage it to make YouTube a powerful tool for your students.