Tag Archives: video

[Video] How to use a semicolon

Students struggling with punctuation? Tired of suggesting corrections for comma splices? Is it time to brush up on writing conventions before a big essay assignment?

Check out this brief video: in two and a half minutes, we can quell your students’ fears about correct semicolon usage.

Watch on YouTube:  How to use a semicolon

Visit our YouTube channel for great videos on punctuation and grammar, #edtech, and more!



5 Cool Science YouTube Channels

by Hope Morley

science youtube channels

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last month we shared five YouTube channels that offer great educational videos on a wide variety of topics. This week, we focus on the best YouTube channels for science videos.


LEVEL: Middle school

An offshoot of MinutePhysics, this channel offers “science and stories about our awesome planet!” Animated videos provide information about earth science subjects such as the atmosphere as well as life science topics about organisms. Its most viewed video is “Where Did Earth’s Water Come From?”

National Geographic

LEVEL: Middle to high school

The National Geographic Society, “one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world,” was founded in 1888. Its YouTube channel contains thousands of videos, including scores of fun animal clips that feature the “World’s Deadliest” and “World’s Weirdest.” It also includes glimpses into peoples and traditions from around the world as well as videos about historical and current events. The channel offers information about nature and science, too. One playlist for National Geographic’s Genographic Project shows how the Society is tracking human origins and migration through DNA analysis.

The Periodic Table of Videos

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Video journalist Brady Haran works with University of Nottingham, England, chemists to produce short videos about every element on the periodic table from hydrogen to ununoctium. The channel also includes videos showing experiments at extremely slow rates of speed (it’s more entertaining that it sounds, trust me), such as pouring mercury into liquid nitrogen, which can lead to new discoveries that the scientists then share with their viewers. In “Hydrogen Explosions (slow motion),” Professor Martyn Poliakoff enthuses, “It’s always good for a scientist to be proved wrong.”

The Science Channel

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Developed through the Cassiopeia Project, this channel aims to provide teachers and students with videos that explain difficult concepts in astronomy, biology, and physics simply and clearly. The “From Big Bang to Man” series provides detailed descriptions about the “baby” universe, the universe today, how life evolved on Earth, the first humans, and people today. The Science Channel also includes dozens of videos about the Hubble Telescope.


LEVEL: Middle to high school

When Derek Muller was studying for his doctorate in Physics Education Research, he found that “addressing misconceptions first is often essential to engage the audience and promote conceptual change.” He applies this knowledge on the Veritasium YouTube channel, which gets its name from the Latin word for truthveritas—and the suffix -ium, a common suffix for many elements on the periodic table. Many of the offerings focus on physics. Viewed more than 9 million times, “World’s Roundest Object!” explains the history of the kilogram measurement and how to “eliminate the kilogram’s dependence on a physical object.”

What do you think about these science YouTube channels? Are there other channels that you would add to this list? Leave a comment below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Hope bioHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

5 Educational YouTube Channels to Follow

by Hope Morley

Educational youtube channel

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Far from being just for cat videos, YouTube offers an unlimited amount of resources for learners. Many well-known and reliable websites and institutions have channels that focus specifically on one area of interest or study. Other channels present information from both the humanities and the sciences.

Here are five YouTube channels that offer educational videos on a wide variety of topics, including science, literature, social studies, music, and everything in between!

C.G.P. Grey

The C.G.P. Grey channel offers dozens of videos on politics, geography, and economics, as well as a few on science topics. C.G.P. Grey’s most popular video is “The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained” (who doesn’t need a refresher on that?), which had more than 6 million views at the end of August 2014.

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Crash Course

Brothers Hank Green and John Green (yes, the The Fault in Our Stars author) launched this entertaining and informational channel in January 2012 with its first—and still most viewed—video about the agricultural revolution, the first in a 42-episode series on world history. When asked by a “student” if the presented information will be “on the test,” John’s reply is: “The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, make your life yours.” Other subjects covered are U.S. history, biology, ecology, literature, chemistry, and psychology.

LEVEL: High school

Library of Congress

Based in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress (LOC) considers itself “the steward of millions of recordings dating from the earliest Edison films to the present.” Along with these first films and archival footage of historical and artistic events, the videos on the LOC channel range from music concerts to lectures on dozens of subjects to interviews with authors and other notable figures. The most viewed piece of media is a five-second film from 1894 showing the “Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze.” Another popular video is of boxing cats, which is exactly what it sounds like and proves that people were amused by feline behavior decades before the rise of the Internet.

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and MIT OCW

One of the top universities in the country, MIT and its news team post videos of science experiments, the latest in technology and medicine, and even how to deflect asteroids with a paintball cloud! The most viewed page is a video that visualizes the speed of light.

In addition to its YouTube channel, MIT also maintains a web-based publication known as MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW). MIT OCW offers thousands of university courses for free. MIT OCW has its own YouTube channel, in which learners can choose between thousands of lectures on subjects such as computer programming, the sciences, architecture, communications, law, and languages.

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Have any thoughts on these educational YouTube channels? Have any others you’d like to share? Leave a comment, or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Hope bioHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

How to Use Powtoon in the Classroom

Studies have shown that students lose valuable knowledge over the summer months. Some suggest that students can lose more than two months of reading and math skills over the break. How can you help your students brush up on rusty skills without cutting into your plans for the new school year?

Our recommendation is PowToon, a website that helps you create short animated videos on any topic. PowToon—which launched in 2012 and is gaining popularity every day—is a fun and easy-to-use alternative to PowerPoint and Prezi.

The free version of PowToon lets you build an animated video using a number of backgrounds, images, effects, and sounds. A paid subscription gives you additional choices as well as the option to publish your creation without the PowToon watermark.

PowToon is more than just a flashy way to focus your students’ attention. It is also a great way to pack a lot of content into a few minutes of classroom time. Created by a former college composition instructor, this short and snappy video presents material that used to take an entire class period to cover. Instead of spending 50 minutes listening to a lecture and practicing, students can spend a few minutes watching the video, save the link, and revisit the lesson as needed.

We discovered PowToon a few months ago when we were doing research for our blog post on using videos in the classroom. Now we can’t stop using it! Green Light Learning Tools has been working to develop a suite of grammar and English language arts videos to help educators teach basic concepts their students can use when writing in any discipline.

However, PowToon can be used for more than grammar and writing. Math, history, science, foreign language—any material you can write on a board or IWB screen can be transformed into an engaging animated video. With PowToon, your only restriction is the five-minute time limit for each video.

There is a bit of a learning curve involved when using PowToon at first, but overall, we’ve found that the results are well worth the time and effort. Plus, there are lots of handy tutorials to help you along the way.

So, as you prepare for the upcoming school year, consider turning some of your lesson plans into animated videos using PowToon. Your students will appreciate the lively and entertaining new way to absorb information, and you’ll have fun, too.

How can PowToon benefit your classroom?

Getting Started With Mystery Skype

by Hope Morley

Mystery Skype map

Image courtesy of phanlop88 | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Need ideas for how to use video chats as learning opportunities in your classroom? Mystery Skype can turn your students into modern-day detectives! As you may already know, Skype is a great resource for educators; it allows your class to connect with adults and other students around the world.

Mystery Skype is generally used as a “global guessing game” played by two classrooms: each class gets 20 questions to figure out where in the country or world the other class is. However, Mystery Skype can also be used to talk to experts in subjects that students are studying or to individuals whose careers you want the class to learn more about. Finally, Mystery Skype can be used as a tool for students to practice a foreign language with native speakers and for English language learners to hone their English skills.

Before the Mystery Skype Session

To get started, follow these steps to begin your own adventure.

(1) Sign up at the Skype in the Classroom Mystery Skype web page. This will bring you into contact with other educators and professionals who might be a good resource for your classroom.

(2) Connect with the Mystery Skype community. Skype’s education page includes interested classes, virtual field trips, and experts looking for classrooms to connect with.

(3) Choose a date and time with a classroom or individual. When arranging the chat, make sure to keep different time zones in mind—and don’t forget about the International Date Line!

(4) Set rules with the other party. Will the call be recorded? Which classroom will ask the first question? What is the time parameter? Figuring out these details ahead of time will help things run smoothly.

(5) Acquire parental and administrative permission. This standard practice for any and all video chats protects the students, the instructors, and the administration.

(6) Assign roles to your students. The Mystery Skype site suggests “greeters, question keepers … bloggers, photographers, live tweeters, reporters” as options. Internet searchers and mappers are other jobs that could improve the class’s chances of figuring out the other classroom’s location or person’s career.

(7) Instruct the class to brainstorm questions. On her blog, Wisconsin teacher Pernille Ripp offers a great list of questions as well as additional tips for those new to Mystery Skype.

(8) Make a test call. To ensure that your software is working and up to date, schedule a short test run with another teacher.

During the Mystery Skype Session

If necessary, remind students to talk one at a time. Students should speak clearly and at an appropriate volume while looking into the camera.

After the Mystery Skype Session

Discuss how the adventure unfolded. With the class, create a list of questions and techniques that were most effective. Keep these on hand during your next Mystery Skype session.

By accessing the global community through Mystery Skype, you can increase student engagement and help your students improve their geography, language, comprehension, and teamwork skills.

Hope MorleyHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

How to Use Videos in the Classroom

by Hope Morley

A video we made using PowToon

There’s no shortage of video-sharing websites that teachers can access to enhance their lessons. But how can you find the most helpful, appropriate, and engaging videos for the classroom without spending hours sifting through the millions of online offerings?

Finding Videos

When it comes to finding video content online, YouTube seems to be the obvious choice. But YouTube isn’t as useful in the classroom as you might expect. Anyone can post to YouTube, and there is little to no content moderation, so you never really know what recommended videos might pop up. And videos often start with ads that may or may not be student-friendly. Plus, many schools block the site. However, SafeShare allows you to share a YouTube video safely. SafeShare removes the ads, sidebars, and recommendations for related videos, so students see only the content you’ve chosen for them.

SchoolTube has been designed specifically as a YouTube alternative for K–12 students and teachers to share content they’ve created. A team of volunteer teachers and other school staff moderates each video posted on SchoolTube to ensure that it’s suitable for student viewing.

If you’re looking for premade video lessons to incorporate into your lesson plan, Khan Academy is a good place to start. We’ve reviewed Khan Academy and found that the site has several helpful features, including a variety of video lessons across several subjects and metrics that keep track of students’ progress.

Making Videos

Plenty of educators have developed video lectures simply by setting up a tablet or camera and hitting record. But if you don’t want to be the star of your own video, various screencasting tools allow you to make a video screen capture of the movements you make on a computer or tablet. This method is perfect for creating a how-to video or recording on-screen video of an IWB presentation you’ve made. Some of this software must be purchased, but there are free options as well. (We use Quicktime on a Mac to create our ActivInspire how-to videos.)

One notable video-making option available online is PowToon, a site that provides templates for creating customized animated videos and presentations. To test how user-friendly the site is, we made a video on how to use a semi-colon. The 2-minute, 23-second video took almost 2 hours to make (mainly because we were having fun playing around with the different choices), but the site was relatively easy to use. We stuck to the free version, but subscriptions are available that include longer video lengths, better upload quality, and other style options.

Using Videos

So you’ve found or made your video. What’s next? Free web tools encourage higher levels of student engagement and interactivity than simply watching and discussing a video in class.

The Mad Video allows you to add “tags” to any Vimeo, Brightcove, or YouTube video to link to related articles, images, videos, or websites. As they watch a video, students can click on these tags to access the additional content. This is a great tool for differentiated instruction, since you can add content targeted to students of differing abilities.

VideoNot.es allows users to annotate online videos in real time. Simply provide a link to the video, and take notes as you watch. VideoNot.es synchronizes your input with the video, so later, you can click on your notes and the video will automatically jump to the related segment. This service connects through Google Drive, so you must have a Google account to use it. VideoNot.es is a must for any blended or flipped classroom.

How do you use videos in the classroom?

Hope Morley

Hope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT