Welcome to the eighth step in our free self-paced course to help you set up your own personal or professional educator blog!
The aim of this step is to:
- Share some free tools for creating videos online
- Explain some different methods for creating videos offline
- Explain the copyright implications of using videos
- Provide an overview of different video hosting websites
- Teach you how to embed videos into your blog posts and pages
Why Use Video?
Traditionally, blog posts were all about text and images. However, videos can really bring your blog alive and make the visitor experience more engaging and interactive.
Below is an overview of some tools you can use to create your own videos, along with examples and tutorials. We also offer guidance on using videos created by others.
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Online Video Creation
Making your own videos is easier than ever! There are online options that are:
- for editing/creating
- for all ages/restricted to over 13 or 18
- designed for video footage/images/animation
Screencasting is where you narrate a video recording of your computer screen. Sometimes it’s just audio and sometimes you can see your face in the video as well.
For a very simple example, you could narrate a Google Slide presentation as per the example below made for our Better Blogging With Students course.
Make Your Post Into A Video (Lumen5)
It’s a simple way to make a slideshow type video.
It can even “automagically” make your blog post into a video (for best results you’ll need to edit it slightly).
Lumen5 contains a library of Creative Commons Zero images and music so you don’t need to search for content either (although you can use your own pictures and video).
You can’t embed your video directly onto your blog currently. So you have to put it on social media or YouTube first and then get the embed code from there. Or you could download the video and upload it directly into your post/page.
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Both of these tools have free plans and can be used by students under 13, however, they do require students to sign up via email. I contacted both companies to confirm the age restrictions. PowToon recommended supervision or using a paid classroom account (obviously, supervision is always a good idea!)
One benefit of PowToon over Biteable is that you can download your finished product as a PowerPoint or PDF file. You can only download your Biteable creation with a paid plan.
You can embed both tools into your blog posts or pages.
This is a video a student made for the Student Blogging Challenge about quality commenting.
Another student taking part in the challenge created this Biteable about YAPPY.
Offline Video Creation
You can make videos in the traditional way too. You don’t need any fancy equipment either — a phone, tablet, or webcam can work just fine!
Here are three ideas that might work for your blog posts.
Piece To Camera
I know, I know… who likes getting in front of a camera? Most teachers would avoid it at all costs! But it is really a great way to connect with your readers.
Here is an example Linda Yollis made to welcome her new students to the classroom.
Get creative with a green screen!
Want to learn more about green screens?
- Tony Vincent has compiled some different green screen set ups.
- LitFilmFest has shared 7 tips for using a green screen in the classroom.
- Jonathan Wylie has compiled green screen tips from teachers on Twitter.
10 Filming Tips
There are a few things you can do to enhance the quality of your piece to camera.
- Lighting: This is really important! Sit near a window if you can or add lamps etc. Aim for even natural light. Don’t have a window behind you.
- Audio: Your phone or computer will record video just fine (in good lighting) but the audio quality won’t be great. Add an external microphone if possible.
- Tripod: If you’re using a phone, it needs to be steady. Many discount stores now sell basic phone tripods. You can elevate these on furniture as needed.
- Location: Keep your background simple and film in a quiet location (easier said than done at school?).
- Clean your lens: Especially if you’re filming on your phone, wipe that dirty lens.
- Horizontal: If you’re using a phone, turn it on its side. If you want to know why your video should be horizontal, you might enjoy this very funny video.
- Raise your device: If you’re using a laptop to film, you might want to raise it so you’re at eye level. Same with a phone or tablet.
- Front facing camera: If you’re alone, switch the camera so you can see where you are in the frame (consider positioning yourself slightly off center in the frame).
- Look at the lens: Find the tiny hole and try to make eye contact with it. Smile!
- Record: Whether or not you want to actually script what you want to say is up to you. A more natural approach may be to create a few notes or an outline, rather than scripting or reading. Pace yourself and enjoy!
Want to share these tips with your students or colleagues? Download the PDF.
Film Your Lesson
Have you ever thought about recording your lessons and publishing them, not just for your own class, but for anyone who wants to watch and learn?
Eddie Woo is a Sydney maths teacher who has done just that.
Eddie’s award winning work has earned him a huge following with students from across the world.
Here is an example…
As you can see, it’s nothing fancy but it works!
Of course, students can “be the teacher” too and record tutorials for other students.
A Note On Editing Software
Most people know how to record a video. It can be as simple as opening the camera function on your phone and hitting record.
But then what do you do with your raw video?
It’s not always essential, but you’ll generally want to do some basic editing. This can include things like:
- Adding text titles or captions
- Adding music
- Chopping out certain parts of the video
- Mixing together video and images
If you use a Mac computer, the go-to program is generally iMovie. You can also use the iMovie app on your iPhone or iPad if you have one.
It’s a little more complicated on a Windows computer. Windows Movie Maker used to be a popular choice for simple editing but it has been discontinued now.
Let us know your choice of video editor in a comment!
Copyright And Videos
Video is more confusing than images because you see a lot of remixed videos online or videos using commercial music, especially on YouTube.
That being said, you can’t necessarily use parts from videos on YouTube (or other sources) to make mashups or as part of another video.
If you use any video that you are cutting, making changes to, or adding to a project, or adding audio, it is better to:
- use Creative Commons content, or
- use free or public domain content, or
- request permission from the copyright holder
You can read more about Creative Commons and free or public domain content here. Refer to The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons for comprehensive information on the use of images, curriculum docs, text and quotes, music, videos.
Watch this video on Creative Commons for a simple explanation.
YouTube Copyright Basics
If you do use copyright content on YouTube this is what might happen:
- The video and/or audio is pulled because of a DMCA complaint, copyright infringement, or content ID match.
- No action is taken but they might add an advertisement to your video that says ‘Buy this song’.
The following videos are good for explaining video copyright to younger students.
Video hosting websites
Videos from video hosting websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Media Core, SchoolTube, and Google Drive can be easily embedded into posts or pages.
This is handy when you:
- have large video files you want to add to your blog posts
- want to play your video within an embedded player, or
- want to embed a video created by someone else into your posts.
While some schools block YouTube, there are lots of educators who use YouTube to share videos they or their students have created. Teachers also use YouTube to source video resources to use in the classroom or for their professional practice.
We recommend you set up a class or teacher YouTube account if you plan to upload videos or create YouTube Playlists because this helps separate your work videos from your personal videos.
YouTube Playlists are a fantastic way of compiling a list, or group, of videos that play in order to share with students. When one video finishes playing the next video starts. Using YouTube playlists, you can control the start and finish times of each video — this is handy if you want students to watch specific parts of videos.
Watch this video tutorial to learn how to create YouTube Playlists.
Vimeo is another popular video sharing and viewing website. Fewer videos are hosted on Vimeo compared to YouTube. Vimeo is less likely to be blocked in schools compared to YouTube which is why it’s a popular video hosting website for uploading videos for class and for finding videos to use in class.
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Google Drive allows you upload video files up to 10 GB in size on your desktop computer or using the Google Drive app on your mobile device. You can then share them with select people or embed them into posts and websites.
Google Drive is a popular video hosting option for schools using Google Apps for education. Many of our Google Apps for education schools upload their videos to Google Drive and use the embed code to add to their posts.
Once you’ve uploaded your video to Google Drive you need to:
1. Click on the video or photo you want to embed and then click on the More icon and select Share.
2. Click on Advanced option in Share window.
3. Click on Change next to Private.
4. Click on On – Anyone with a link or On – Public on the web and then click on Save.
5. Click on Done to close the Share window.
6. Click on the More icon and then Open in new window link.
7. Click on the More icon in the new window and select Embed item.
8. Copy the embed code.
9. Paste the embed code into your post using Insert Embed in the Add Media Window and then click Insert into Post.
10. Once your post is published you’ll see your photo or video embedded.
Embedding videos into posts
Videos from video sharing websites can be embedded into posts or pages by either using:
- Their video URL
- Their embed code
(Note: embed code is not allowed on Edublogs free blogs due to misuse by spammers).
Using the Video URL
Edublogs allows you to quickly embed videos, images and other content such as Tweets and Scribd into a post or page using their URL.
Websites that you can embed using their URL are:
- Flickr – videos and images
- YouTube – public videos only
You embed a video using the URL as follows:
1. Copy the video’s URL from your web browser’s address bar while viewing the video.
- For YouTube videos, you need to use the video URL listed in Share this video.
2. Go to Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New or open an existing post or page in editing mode.
3. Paste the URL on a line by itself in your post/page editor.
Important URL Embed Tips
The link must be on its own line without any characters or white spaces before or after the URL. It must not be hyperlinked otherwise it won’t embed.
You can tell if a URL is hyperlinked by clicking on the link. If the hyperlink button in the toolbar highlights and a link box with the option to edit appears (like in the screenshot below), it means your link is hyperlinked.
Click on Remove link icon to remove the hyperlink.
Using Embed Code
You can also embed videos using their embed code if you have an Edublogs Pro or CampusPress blog.
This is handy when you want to change the size of the video embed, remove related videos when embedding YouTube videos, or are embedding from a video sharing websites where you can’t use the video URL (e.g. TED Talks, SchoolTube or TeacherTube).
Here is how you remove suggested videos in YouTube using embed code:
1. Click on Share underneath the YouTube video you want to embed.
2. Click on Embed and then on Show More.
3. Deselect Show suggested videos when the video finishes.
4. Copy the embed code.
5. Go to Posts > Add New or Pages > Add New.
6. Place your cursor where you want the video to appear and then click on the Add Media button.
7. In the Add Media window click on the Insert Embed Code tab.
8. Paste the video embed code into the embed code field.
9. Click on Insert into Post.
10. Your Add Media window will close and the embed will appear in the visual editor as shown below.
11. When you view your published post you will see your video.
We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about blogging by undertaking one or more of these challenges:
- Share a video: Find a video on a site like YouTube or Vimeo that you would like to share and embed it into a blog post. If you have a free blog, use the URL method that was explained in the post. Then leave a comment with your blog URL so we can take a look.
- Try a tool: Choose one or more of the video creation tools mentioned and try using the tool yourself (or with your students). Leave a comment with a link to where you’ve embedded the video so we can check out how you went.
- Be brave! Make a short piece to camera and embed it in a blog post (or upload it to a site like YouTube and share the link with us).
- Other tool suggestions: Leave a comment with a description of some other tools you’ve come across to create or edit videos. Tell us how you’ve used video in the classroom before, or how you use video as part of your professional practice.
Also feel free to leave any questions you are having (or tips/advice) as well.
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