If you’re a teacher then I suspect that you will have asked your students, at one time or another, to watch a video on YouTube. We all know it’s a great place for resources but using it for homework tasks comes with problems. How can you prove that a student has actually watched the video you’ve set? How do you know that they carefully watched the video and didn’t just give it a minimal amount of attention? Or, worse, they just pressed play and then walked away (or got distracted by other more interesting looking videos?). There’s never been a way to ensure that the video you have set as homework is given just as much focus as some traditional paper based homework task. I’m pretty certain students love it when teachers set them a ‘watch a video’ task as part of their homework. No writing, no test and an sanctioned opportunity to get online (where so much procrastination can take place!). Watching a video often doesn’t seem like ‘real’ homework to students as it’s too easy to complete and similar to their normal online activity. Parents may also object to the ‘watch a YouTube video’ as homework. To them, it may not seem as academically rigorous as researching or reading and then writing findings in an exercise book. Step forward EDpuzzle, a great video flipping tool which ensures that your carefully sourced and vetted video is not just watched but is also interactive for your students.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘flipping’ then this merely refers to the delivery of, for example, a topic at home usually via digital media e.g. video, music, ebooks etc, which would normally be delivered in the classroom by a teacher. The answering of questions on the topic, which would traditionally be the homework, is then ‘flipped’ to the classroom where the teacher can assist. I’ve been using the flipped classroom for years now, particularly with the use of my music theory videos. While it is an excellent way to manage and run many topics it has always frustrated me that students can conveniently bypass watching the video. They’ll claim that they have watched it but I know they haven’t by their flimsy or non-existent recollection of information from the video. EDpuzzle takes away all of these frustrations and concerns for both parents and teachers.
Here are some of the benefits of using EDpuzzle:
- It’s free!
- Select a video from a number of different video sources, not just YouTube, such as Khan Academy and TED Talks. You can even upload a video that you have created. (See side image for list of video providers – correct as of May 2016).
- Enable deadlines for homework tasks and send them via EDpuzzle.
- Easily identify the section of a video that you want your students to watch e.g. from 1min 23secs to 5min 10secs, rather than getting students to watch the whole video.
- Add your own audio to the video to tailor it to your lesson, teaching style or to add even more impact and content.
- Enable ‘prevent skipping’ to ensure that viewers cannot fast forward the video or jump to the end.
- Ask and collect questions as the video is playing (this is great when you’ve enabled ‘prevent skipping’ as it stops viewers from pressing play and then walking away).
- From your dashboard you can see when a student has watched the video, if they needed to replay the video (useful as evidence if they say they do not understand the content) and when they’ve completed the task.
- If you use Google Classroom then you can easily allocate a task to your class(es). If you don’t use Google Classroom, don’t worry, you can still use EDpuzzle, there’s a very easy way to get students joining your EDpuzzle class.
- Download student responses and answers.
Stay on top of tasks with ‘My Classes’. Easily view your current tasks and examine whether students have completed them:
EDpuzzle is not one of those online tools that tries to be too many things (communication tool, quiz master, image gallery, collaboration space etc…) it does exactly what it’s supposed to do and it does it simply. It makes the whole process of setting videos as homework tasks (or, if you prefer, videos to watch during class) a super-simple process. Teachers love setting videos as homework because they know that they can quickly help students understand and enjoy a topic or subject. EDpuzzle ensures that all students watch the set video(s) in readiness for the flipped classroom lesson. The interactive features, offered by EDpuzzle, adds that metaphorical icing on the cake and gives the teacher valuable data on realtime understanding of the video topic.
Like all online tools, how they work and how you use them change as more features are introduced (at the time of writing, May 2016, EDpuzzle are about to add yet another feature, ‘Gradebook’). Therefore, I haven’t included a set of how-to-use EDpuzzle instructions on this page but, rest assured, EDpuzzle is very intuitive and a joy to use for both teachers and students.
Like any of my digital recommendations, I do need to point out that I’m not employed by EDpuzzle, they have not asked me to write this article and I’m not being paid to write this blog post. This aside, do give EDpuzzle a whirl. I’ve found it to be an excellent way to convince both students, parents and teachers that using videos as homework can be useful, educational, fun and purposeful.
If you’ve used EDpuzzle, are just about to start using it or have any further thoughts, please do ‘join the discussion’ below.