Whether you're a teacher, a parent or someone developing an online class — teaching through video can be a complete game-changer (especially during a pandemic). It helps you focus your curriculum and spend more time teaching your students. Yet going from classroom to creating and editing videos can be incredibly intimidating.
So we put together an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how you can create engaging videos for your students in no time. We’ve even included a list of beneficial tools and resources to make the whole process that little more effortless and talk about how you can keep your videos interesting and compelling. Let’s hop right in.
1. Pick a video type & format
As a teacher, there’s a couple of ways you can get information across through video. Here are the most popular types of videos suitable for teaching:
- Filming a class/lecture
Although not as popular right now in Covid-19 times, teachers often record themselves during a class. Some might still choose a similar format without actual students being present.
- GIFs for teaching
If you don’t always want to film a full-on video lesson, you can add video GIFs to your slides to add a bit of spice to your presentations (and if you scroll down a little, we’ll teach you how).
- Screencasting for teaching
Screencasting is a popular method of teaching online through video. You can record whatever is on your screen and talk over the video — this allows you to do anything from googling to drawing and more. At the same time, your students still have a personal connection because your video shows up in the corner.
- Presentations for teaching
You can also create a presentation with all the information ready to be explained and present to your students. This allows you to have a very planned video, a preset design your students can recognize, and will enable you to focus on getting the message across vocally.
2. Decide where you’re going to create and publish videos
Before you start creating a video, you need to know where you’re going to publish it and who is going to see it. These are examples of publishing platforms for teachers:
Many teachers create a YouTube channel with link-only access. This means, although you can’t hide the channel entirely, people will only be able to find it if they have the link. Another great thing about YouTube is that you add automated subtitles, which YouTube will create once you upload your video. You can then go in and edit your video’s subtitles if needed, but this saves a ton of time.
Animoto is a great tool because not only is it free for educators, you can invite your students to create and watch videos too — without having to send videos back and forth via email. Animoto also offers preset styles you can use as a starting point.
Whether you want to publish your videos on a platform or simply share them via email is completely up to you.
3. Choose a topic
Before you start rolling, you should define just what topics you’re going to cover in your video/videos. To get you started, pick only one easy topic. But later down the line, you can think about developing a whole teaching video curriculum that covers a specific topic or even subject. You can always add to your library of videos, which is also great for students to go back over videos and revise certain topics.
4. Get the video equipment ready
Let’s just start by saying: you’re a teacher, and no one expects you to have a full professional setup — you don’t really need one either. But you’ll need some sort of equipment to get you started, whether that’s a phone, iPad, laptop, or computer + webcam. Either way, the sound is actually the most crucial part, believe it or not.
Here’s a checklist of essential things you need to film a teaching video:
- Phone, iPad, laptop, or computer + webcam
- Headphones with an integrated microphone
- Slides or a board to demonstrate what you’re talking about
- Essential video editing software such as:
Also, try putting a lamp next to your recording device or facing a window. This will improve your lighting dramatically and make sure your students can see you properly.
5. Prepare the content of the (class) video
As a teacher, you’re probably used to prepping for class and assigning homework. Think of this as your usual prep, but a little different. How would you prepare for a class? And do the same or similar for a video. Choose a topic you want to discuss, show the students some examples and give them questions and tasks in between to keep them engaged.
6. Make use of free video teaching tools
As we transition from regular teaching to online, there often isn’t a large budget left over for online teaching. So here are some free tools that will make life easier:
- Loom: for screen sharing + voice over videos
- Google slides / PowerPoint: for presentations
- Splice or InShot for editing
- Explain Everything: your online whiteboard
- Unscreen: create GIFs from videos
7. Create video slides with Google Slides or PowerPoint templates
Much like a school board, slides can be a great way to get your main messages across and give students visual prompts to remember. Creating a slide deck template might be a little time-consuming at first, but once you have that down, you’ll be flying. Slides go, for example, offers an array of educational templates which you can start using with the click of a button.
8. Add fun stuff like a GIF to your Google Slides/PowerPoint Presentation
Keeping the kids engaged is a tough task in a virtual classroom so try adding some fun stuff. For example, with Unscreen, you can turn any video into a GIF and add yourself or students to slides. Here’s how:
- Grab your phone or a camera and record a short 3-5 second video in front of a wall with a fairly plain background. Try doing one to two movements, like waving or pointing towards something (you can later make it look like you’re pointing at something on the presentation slide – how fun, right?)
- Send or save the video to your computer.
- Open up unscreen.com and drag and drop your video.
- Unscreen will automatically remove your video’s background — then go ahead and download it as a GIF to your desktop.
- Open up your Google Slide / PowerPoint.
- Choose Insert in the top bar.
- Select Image and upload your GIF.
- Voilà! You can now move around, adjust the GIF’s size, and even flip it horizontally to point at something else.
We just know the kids are going to love you for it.
How to make teaching videos on mobile/ iPad?
Most of us have a smartphone these days; the great thing about them is that their cameras and microphones are incredibly impressive and more than capable of becoming your video production buddy.
These are some general tips when making teaching videos on your mobile:
- Use the phone’s video recording app: no need to install a separate app to overcomplicate things, the app that’s already on your phone is sufficient.
- Film horizontally: it’s the standard format used in education, gives you space to perhaps add slides in the background, and is best suited to your students watching it on their laptop screens.
- Edit directly on your phone/ iPad: you don’t necessarily need to edit. But if you want to, there are many simple-to-use video editing apps such as Splice or InShot. Often a lot more user-friendly and straightforward to use than editing on your laptop. So give it a try.
How to make teaching videos on your laptop / with a computer + webcam?
The easiest way to make a teaching video on your laptop or computer is to do a screen recording. We love using loom. It’s a simple screen recording tool (like the one above on adding yourself as a GIF to Google Slides).
It’s an incredibly intuitive tool so hop on over to loom and start shooting your teaching videos.
How to make teaching videos interesting and effective?
Keeping kids and students engaged isn’t an easy task in real life, but online it can be even more difficult. Here are some top tips on keeping things interesting, so they’ll be just as engaged as usual, and you don’t fall asleep either:
- Try to keep the videos short and sweet: less than 10mins is ideal.
- Don’t overwhelm your students with text.
- Use visual cues such as an Unscreen GIF to highlight information.
- Keep students engaged by adding quiz polls or tasks.
- Switch up the design/ background in between.
That wraps up our step-by-step guide on how to make teaching videos. Hope you enjoyed it and can take some of these tips and tricks into your virtual classroom. Oh … and teachers, you’re among the true heroes of this pandemic.