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Technology in the Classroom: Incorporating Supplemental Videos

Jordan Catapano

Maybe you’ve heard about the “Flipped classroom” or desired to supplement your regular technology in the classroom time with videos students can view elsewhere. Supplemental videos can be powerful technology in the classroom tools for you to reach students in a way that reinforces their learning.

Supplemental videos give students a chance to extend their learning, to view material at their own pace, and to have a resource available outside of the classroom to assist them with their work. With the investment of your time today, you can impact the quality and extent of your teaching for years to come. It’s time to take advantage of the power of supplement videos!

Are you interested in incorporating supplemental videos for your class but not sure where to start? Start here with these three easy-to-use ideas!

Technology in the Classroom: Find Supplement Videos

Who says you have to create your own videos? With Youtube, Ted-Ed, Khan Academy, and so many other instructional video sources available, one easy way to extend student learning is to simply share links to these helpful videos.

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First, you’ll need to identify what it is that you want to provide students with. Do you want someone to explain the same thing you cover in class, in their own words? Do you want to provide background information leading up to your subject? Do you want a documentary, an expert speaking, or a real-world example of your topic? Decide what it is exactly that you think will benefit your students.

Once you decide what you are looking for, it’s time to look for it. It may take some time to search and view videos, but this time spent up front is completely worth it. Once you identify the right video, save the link and share with your students. If you have a class website or learning management system, you can simply post your links there. If not, try putting a QR code on a print-out document.

If the video suits your purposes well, then all that time spent searching is worth it. For years to come you can simply share your link and ask students to view the video!

Film Your Class

“What did the teacher say?” Class content might make sense to students when they’re right there in the room. But once they go home and try to apply what they learned, your class time together may become foggy.

You can solve this problem by simply filming your own class period. This method involves less work than any other, because all it involves is setting up a camera on a tripod in the back of your room and pressing “Record.” Once class is over, upload your video to your class website or learning management system, and students can watch the parts of class most relevant to what they’re working on. Math students can review a process for solving an equation, science students can hear an explanation of a term, English students can think through the interpretations they heard in class, and history students can hear about what happened in that time and place one more time. The possibilities are extensive.

Filming your class period is especially convenient for students who are absent. They might not be able to physically attend, but at least they can experience class right from the comforts of their own home and not miss a beat.

Create Your Own Video

Finally, why not embrace the power of video creation and make your own video?

Like the recommendations above, you first want to decide what it is that your video ought to contain. Think through your students’ needs and your course objectives, and then follow these steps to complete your video:

Do your research. Make sure that you know everything you need to know that you want to include in your video. This might involve the acquisition of additional resources or texts to help make sure you are covering all the elements that will benefit your students.

Script it out. You could totally ad-lib your video, but I recommend that you compose a script first. Scripting your video will make sure that you say things exactly as you mean to say them, and it ensures that you aren’t leaving out any important information.

Film it. You can use a camcorder, a tablet, a smartphone, or even your laptop to film yourself. Select the tool most readily available and most convenient for you to use. You can be as creative or as plain as you like with your video – it’s all up to you! If you’re just starting out making videos, keep it simple. You can read your script, walk students through a demonstration, or film whatever it is that you want students to see.

Edit it. It’s very, very rare that you’ll capture something in one take and post it exactly as-is. In most cases, there is some editing you’ll need to perform so that you have a smooth video without distracting errors or unnecessary content. It becomes completely worth it here to invest in some simple-to-use editing apps such as iMovie, Pinnacle Studio Pro, Explain Everything, or Adobe Premiere Clip. Also when you edit, you will (slowly) begin to learn how you can include other features – like photos, PowerPoints, or video and audio effects – to enhance the deliver of information in your video.

Share it. Once your video is filmed and fine-tuned, it’s time to share it with students. You can upload your video to YouTube and give students the link, or you can even use Google Drive or another online storage drive to save and share from.

Clarify Your Expectations

Remember that to be effective, your video should have some clear purpose for your students. You do not want to just post or share a video without telling your students what it’s for or how to use it.

When you share the video, you ought to tell students exactly what its purpose is and what your expectations are. In some cases, the video is truly supplemental and therefore fully optional for students who want to personally extend their knowledge. In other cases, the video is there for students to use as a resource to help them with their independent work. Other times your video may be required viewing that supplements what you’re about to cover in class. Or maybe the video itself is the content delivery, and students must watch it so that they are getting exposure to core material prior to applying it in class.

No matter the case, tell your students what the video is for.

Ask Questions and Connect to Class

Finally, the effective video is one that has a clear pertinence to both your class content and activities. One easy way to do this is to include specific questions at the end of your video that you want students to consider. Ask students to prepare an opinion on the material, or even follow up your video with review questions to help students make sure they’ve understood the important portions.

Or instead of questions, consider closing your video with a specific action point for students. If you’ve just shared information with them, then give them some way to apply the information so they can understand how what they’ve learned has relevance to the real world.

Remember that videos like these are not a replacement for class instruction; rather, they are supplements. Also, remember that video creation is a skill that you’ll improve at over time. If you think it’s challenging and time-consuming now, then you’re right! But the big picture is that you will improve with the speed and quality of your video supplements, and all the effort you put in this year will pay off for years down the line when you show future classes your same effective film.

So think through your objectives and your students’ needs, and consider how creating and sharing videos can play a small role in the overall learning of your students!

What do you recommend to make supplemental videos an effective part of your classroom? What easy-to-follow steps do you recommend for including videos as a part of your course? Share your thoughts with our TeachHUB community in the comments below!

Jordan Catapano is a high school English teacher in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated and head of his school’s Instructional Development Committee, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and has experience as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website

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