Posted in Edublogs

Video Killed The Radio Star

youtube-1684601_1280EduBlogsClub Prompt #23:

Prompt: Write a post about videos and/or that includes a video.

Here are some possible topics to help get you started:

  • Write a post about any topic, but embed a video. Even better if you created the video!
  • Discuss how videos have helped you engage students?
  • How have videos helped you be a better educator?
  • Share a story about a lesson that involves videos and how the students responded in ways you didn’t expect.
  • Create a list of video clips that either provide educator professional development or help create lessons in the classroom.
  • If you find incorporating videos difficult, discuss why you find them challenging.

I love making videos. I love teaching students how to make videos. I make some “vlogs” with my son on my YouTube channel, but it’s pretty much a hobby and something he and I do for fun.  My YouTube channel is mainly just a catch all for the videos I make, personal and professional. If I was serious about focused video creation, I would make a new channel just for that specific purpose. So for any who look at my YouTube channel, you have been warned, it’s a mixed bag.

When I have taught students how to make videos, I am limited by district devices and allowed programs. I remember years ago when I taught 5th grade, I had attended an American Film Institute (AFI) training via the Discovery Educator Network on making movies. It was after that institute that I hosted an after-school film club and taught 5th graders what I had learned about making films. We had a few small video cameras and district computers that came standard with Windows Movie Maker. Those early years of film making were great for the kids, they really learned a lot about making and editing videos, at least on a very basic level. Sadly, over time equipment stopped working and was not replaced, so film making went by the wayside.

More recently in my classroom I had taken to creating paper slide videos with my students using a smartphone or a tablet. (The linked video is not my own, but I did have one once upon the time, though it doesn’t seem to be up on my YouTube channel.) Once again, it was the Discovery Educator Network that exposed me to this idea. It is a very affordable and fun way for kids to make videos.

When it comes to making the most basic of machinima, I have used Screencast-o-matic to capture myself gaming. Take for example some machinima I made of my Minecraft Club: (keep in mind I was VERY new to Minecraft and that I hadn’t worked out how to capture my students talking to me so you only hear me talking to them…I did say it was basic 🙂 )

Once out of the classroom and in my role as a teacher on assignment, I spent a little more time with PowTooons. It was a tool I had come across and had known about for some time, but hadn’t had the time to really dig into and learn how to use. Now that I have taken the time to create with it, it is certainly a tool I would use with students if I were still in the classroom. Here is a sample of one of my Powtoons:

I really enjoyed the concept of a “Mrs. Ruiz Explains” series, but I have not had much time to make that really come to life. Video making takes a lot of time, and producing something that could serve students (or a YouTube audience) is something most people make a full time job out of. So at the moment for me, video creation remains a hobby and something I know I can do if the need arises.

I have found that the use of videos increases student engagement, and even more so when you have students creating the videos.  As an educator, I have found that creating my own videos really focuses my thoughts on a topic and allows me to create a video for my specific instructional needs. On a personal level, I find video creation to be a very rewarding outlet for creativity.

How do you use videos in your teaching? Share with me in the comments below. 🙂



Wife, mother, National Board Certified Teacher, doctoral student researching the learner centered teaching practices of fully online K-12 teachers, Elementary Assistant Principal and dog lover. Passionate about educational technology, academic innovation, and redesigning the American educational system.

4 thoughts on “Video Killed The Radio Star

  1. Hi Melanie,

    You sure have a lot of skills and interests!

    I’m particularly interested in your experiences here. I have always enjoyed dabbling with movie making but as you say, it is very time consuming. And sometimes you have to really invest time in learning the tool first. This is something I never go too far with when trying to learn programs like Camtasia or Vegas.

    Tools like Windows Movie Maker are pretty straightforward and intuitive to use but I’d love to find something that allows you to be a little more creative without all the complicated options. A big ask? Let me know if you have any suggestions.

    I remember dabbling with PowToon briefly but didn’t get very far. Your video is amazing and really makes me want to give it a shot!

    I have read a few times that the future of online content is in videos. So I expect that there will be an increasing number of user-friendly tools becoming available. Something to look forward to!


    1. Thanks Kathleen! I am curious by nature and enjoy using anything I can to be creative, both personally and professionally,

      Like you I shy away from programs that have a steep learning curve and require a lot of time to achieve a completed project. That is why I use PicMonkey vs PhotoShop for example. I have tried to learn PhotoShop, but I run out of time and patience quickly. With PicMonkey I can get in and get out quickly and come away with something I am pleased with.

      I was sad to see that Windows Movie Maker was no longer included as an option in the latest Windows upgrades. I enjoyed how straight forward it was and when I needed a video editor, I went and downloaded the latest version of Windows Movie Maker. I did do some research into other more current or popular video editors, but I suppose I am creature of habit. Nothing seemed as simple and effective as Windows Movie Maker. I really hope Microsoft will come out with a new Movie Maker. It was so easy to teach my students how to use it.

      I am glad you liked my PowToon! I really enjoyed making it. PowToons is one that still takes a good deal of time, but the result is so fun and engaging that I am willing to invest the time. When I was looking at the two I had done, I realized I really need to do a new trailer for my YouTube channel and will use PowToons to do that. 🙂

      I like your outlook about the future of user-friendly tools and I agree. There are a lot of new tools that have made previously difficult or involved tasks a whole lot easier.

      1. It’s funny we both shy away from those programs with steep learning curves. I often dream of learning PhotoShop but I guess time is the issue. And I find myself wanting quick solutions rather than learning something for a hypothetical project. So if I want to make something, I just want to do it straight away!

        it’s frustrating about Windows Movie Maker. Let’s hope they do release something new! The only thing that has made me consider using a Mac in the past is the creative abilities. I’m pretty firmly set in the Windows camp for now though.

        A very interesting reflection!


      2. I am not surprised we and many others shy away from programs with steep learning curves, we have lots of things we want to do with our day and spending hours of it trying to edit a single photo doesn’t sounds very appealing. I often think I would sign up for one of Adobe’s courses on how to use PhotoShop or one of their other amazing tools, but again, that takes time I just don’t have right now. Maybe when I am done with my doctoral program. 🙂

        I did use a Mac for a while, but my district is Windows based, and I had used Windows long before a Mac so I went back to Windows. I know some people swear by a Mac for creative endeavors, but for the sorts of things I want to do and the level I want to do them at, Windows works for me. As long as I can download and use Movie Maker, I am going to be alright. I agree with you though, I would love to see Microsoft come out with an updated Movie Maker that doesn’t lose it’s ease of use.

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