My Big List of Tools for a Variety of Classroom Video Projects

My Big List of Tools for a Variety of Classroom Video Projects

In addition to questions about Google Workspace tools, I get asked more questions about making videos than any other three topic combined. Over the years, I have used dozens and dozens of video creation tools. This is my current list of recommended video creation tools for classroom projects.

Video reflections / One-take videos

These are videos that require minimal, if any, editing before publishing. In this type of video creation activity, teachers will provide a prompt to their students and their students will respond with a short video statement.

Flipgrid is the best known of all platforms designed for students to record video responses at a teacher’s prompt. Teachers can create online classrooms where their students post short video responses. Teachers can moderate assignments before the rest of the class can watch the videos. And teachers can use Flipgrid to provide feedback directly to their students. There are many other features in Flipgrid that are worth noting and which are included below in the section on whiteboard videos. Watch this video to learn the basics of Flipgrid.
The paddle is a tool that I have used for more than a decade for a variety of purposes, including collecting short videos from students. Students can use the recording feature built into the Padlet to record a short video and share it with the class. Here’s a brief overview of how to record videos in Padlet.

Audio slideshow videos

Aside from one-take videos, the audio slideshow style for video is probably the easiest of all video formats to create. It’s also one of the most misunderstood when it comes to using it in the classroom. For an audio slide show project to be effective, students must first plan the sequence, find the best images, apply appropriate text (but not too much), and select an appropriate soundtrack. If you want to take it a step further, you want students to make a script to tell their videos. Here’s a list of features you should look for when creating audio slideshow videos.

Here are my top three choices that students can use to make audio slide show videos.

Adobe Spark video
Almost since its first launch five years ago, Adobe Spark has been my favorite recommendation for this type of video project. Adobe Spark makes it easy for students to create concise audio slideshow videos. Adobe Spark limits the amount of narration that students can record on each slide in their videos. Adobe Spark also includes a library of background music that students may have inserted into their videos. Finally, students can upload short audio clips to include in their audio slide show video projects. In this short video, I demonstrate how to make a video with Adobe Spark.

Canva now offers two ways for students to create audio slideshow videos. The first way is to simply put together a series of slides and then select an audio track to play in the background. That process is demonstrated here. The second method is to use Canvas’ full video editor to add narration and custom timings to an audio slide show video. That process is demonstrated in this video.

Microsoft Photos
Microsoft Photos includes a video creation tool for making short audio slideshow videos. You can find this by simply opening the built-in Photos app in Windows 10. The editor includes tools for adding animated effects to still images, inserting your existing video clips into a video project, and tools for adding audio to your video. There is also a great opportunity to search for Creative Commons licensed images and paste them directly into your video project. The best part of this feature is that attribution information is automatically added to the images you select via the built-in search tool. In the following video I give a demonstration of how to create a video in Microsoft Photos in Windows 10.

Green Screen videos

Making a green screen video can be a lot of fun for students and also a lot of fun for peers, parents and teachers to watch. Ten years later, I still occasionally refer to this video from Greg Kulowiec’s middle school class as an example of a fun greenscreen project. Making a green screen video may seem daunting at first, but once you’ve tried it once or twice, you’ll find that it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Today, there are plenty of tools for making green screen videos. Here are the three I typically recommend and introduce to teachers.

Make a Green Screen Video in iMovie
If you have access to a Mac or an iPad, this is the tool you need. It’s free (assuming you already have a modern Mac or iPad) and has just enough features to make a nice greenscreen video, but not so many features that it takes a long time to learn how to use it. Watch this video to learn how to make a green screen video in iMovie on a Mac. Watch this to learn how to make a green screen video on an iPad.

For Chromebook and Windows users, WeVideo is my top recommendation. Here’s a demonstration of how it works.

Zoom + Adobe Spark
If you do not have a physical green screen to record in front of, you can use Zoom’s built-in virtual green screen and then import that video into Adobe Spark for final editing. Watch this video to learn how to do it.

Animated videos

Making animations is a great way for students to bring their written stories to life on screen. Depending on the story, the animation may be a short frame or two played for twenty seconds, or it may be a five minute story.

ChatterPix children
ChatterPix Kids is one of my favorite digital storytelling apps for elementary school students. ChatterPix Kids is a free app that students can use to create talking pictures. To use the app, students simply open it on their iPads or Android devices and then take a picture. Once they have taken a picture, the students draw a mouth on their pictures. With their mouths in place, students record themselves while speaking for up to thirty seconds. The recording is then added to the image and saved as video on students’ iPads or Android devices. Watch my tutorial videos below to learn how to use ChatterPix Kids on Android devices and iPads.

Slides + Screencasting
Google Slides, like PowerPoint and Keynote, provide users with plenty of ways to animate elements of their slides. Use these animation tools to get clipart and simple drawings moving on the screen. Then capture these movements with a screencasting tool like Screencastify or Screencast-o-matic. Of course, you need to include a voiceover while recording. This method can be used to create animated videos like the ones that have become popular by Common Craft. You can read about and then see this whole process in this handy Ed Tech article.

Canva has lots of animation options that you can add to just about any graphic you create in it. You can animate text, make objects rotate and move, and even add sound to play in the background when creating a graphic in Canva. Your finished designs can be downloaded as animated GIFs and as MP4 files. This is actually how I make the videos for my Practical Ed Tech Instagram account. In addition, Canvas’ new video editor can be used to create animated videos. It is a process that I demonstrate in this video.

Whiteboard videos

From creating a math lesson to explaining a workflow, there are many purposes to creating instructional videos in whiteboard style. Last year, I had students make simple whiteboard videos to explain network and wiring diagrams. Here are a handful of tools for making whiteboard instructional videos.

Try using Screencastify to record over the free drawing space provided by Google’s online version of Jamboard. One of the benefits of using Jamboard for this kind of video is that when you are done, you can share the Jamboard pictures with your students. You can even share Jamboard via Google Classroom so students have a copy of the process you demonstrated while making your video.

Loom is also an excellent and popular choice for making screencast videos directly from your web browser. In the following video, I demonstrate how I paired Loom and Google’s Jamboard to make a whiteboard-style instructional video. One of the tips I shared in the video is to use the Jamboard sharing option to give your students a copy of the drawings or sketches you use in your instructional video.

Flipgrid offers an integrated whiteboard function. You can use this feature to create whiteboard videos that your students can watch in Flipgrid. You can also get your students to use the whiteboard tools to respond to a prompt that you have given them. In my video embedded below, I provide an overview of how to use the whiteboard feature and a few other features of Flipgrid.

Wakelet has integrated the Flipgrid camera into their service, allowing you to create whiteboard-style instructional videos directly in your Wakelet collections. Watch my video below to see how that process works.

Tilt is my best tool for creating digital portfolios. I like it because it is a versatile platform that can be used for more than just portfolio creation. You can use it as a blog, use it to share messages with parents, use it to distribute tasks, and you can use it to make whiteboard videos. In fact, there are a few ways you and your students can create whiteboard videos in Seesaw. Both of these methods are described in my new video embedded below.


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