Easily Assess Student Engagement With Video Lessons With This Powerful Free Application
Being able to take any video and add questions to it that students must answer before continuing to watch is an outstanding technique for making a video lesson richer and more engaging. It also provides very useful feedback.
When I first learned back in 2014 that there were tools that could let you do this for free, I was blown away, and rushed to get to know one. The first tool I tried was EduCanon, and I created a 3 Minute Teaching “Tool-torial” providing an overview of it.
Once I became a fan of this brilliant tech construct, I quickly learned of the existence of other apps that did the same basic thing … specifically, EdPuzzle and Zaption. I was instantly curious about the differences between these apps, and made a note to check them out.
Of course, intending to do something and doing it are two difference things, and time rolled on. What ultimately compelled me to finally spend some time with one of these other apps was dialogue and questions that have come up as I would show EduCanon to educators while delivering flipped classroom workshops at schools and conferences.
Which Tool to Check out Next – EdPuzzle or Zaption?
I am a huge proponent of taking measures to ensure that students engage with digital learning content delivered outside of class, and this type of tool is a real home run in that regard. During these flipped classroom PD sessions, teachers would often ask good questions about the specific functionality of EduCanon or similar tools. A couple of questions that arose in a session I ran at the Saranac Lake School District last week were about being able to know whether or not a student watched a video, and the ability to quickly review results for the embedded questions.
I decided it was time to sink my teeth into at least one of these alternative tools. After some initial exploration, it was easy to pick EdPuzzle as the first to try for one reason – cost. Both EduCanon and Zaption have free and premium pricing plans, whereas EdPuzzle is totally free. It only seemed logical to get a closer look at the totally free tool and see how it could empower educators.
Getting to Know EdPuzzle
EdPuzzle allows you to pull videos from many common video sites (YouTube, Khan Academy, TED Ed, Vimeo, etc.) or upload your own and then do the following things with these videos.
- You can trim videos (clipping the beginning and/or end).
- Insert audio notes anywhere throughout the video (when the student watches the video and comes to the point at which an audio note has been inserted, the video pauses and the audio note plays).
- Add voice over across the entire video clip (of course, that would only seem logical for videos with limited audio in them already, as these play while the video is playing).
- Insert questions that must be answered in order for the viewer to continue forward. These can be multiple choice questions (which can easily be used for True/False questions), or open ended response questions. You can also provide feedback for each question (this displays after the answer is submitted).
I have to note that I did struggle from time to time with how to use the EdPuzzle interface to do certain things. I was always able to figure it out though, by either clicking around a while or watching the little how-to videos that are available when you try something for the first time.
After creating your enhanced videos, you will want to create classes and assign the videos to classes. A “class” is essentially a label you create for organizational purposes. Students will create an account for themselves and then enter a code that EdPuzzle gives you for each class. This is pretty straightforward. EdPuzzle also has an “Import from Google Classroom” function, which I imagine is a big time saver for users of that increasingly popular platform.
Monitoring Student Progress
This is an area where EdPuzzle clearly stands above EduCanon (at least the free functionality in EduCanon). In addition to being able to easily review student's results on the questions that you embed in the videos, you can also see if they watched the whole video, and if they re-watched parts of it. That alone is a very useful function! Even if you didn't use EdPuzzle for anything else, being able to know if students watched a video all the way through, and if they re-watched portions (and how many times they did so), can be very informative.
Here are a couple of screens showing views of student progress. I borrowed these two images from Lori Uemura's excellent comparative article on Coetail.com, looking at EdPuzzle and Zaption (I recommend that readers check it out next if they want to learn more about both EdPuzzle and Zaption).
So, there you have it … EdPuzzle. I'm a fan for sure. One of these days I may take a close look at Zaption as well, but the price is right on EdPuzzle and it has better free assessment tools than EduCanon, so I am going ahead myself and using it to add questions to a video I am assigning next week.
Are you using one of these tools, or another, to add questions to videos and monitor progress? How has your experience been? Drop a comment and share :).