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5 Quick and easy instructional video ideas for teachers

The move to asynchronous learning can have a steep learning curve, but it’s so important to have engaging materials for online-only classrooms. It goes without saying that blended classrooms also use instructional videos a lot. As such, instructional videos do more than simply convey information, they are useful teaching tools that replace traditional lectures.

On the flip side, teachers often don’t have the expertise to create these videos. If you’re used to teaching a lesson face-to-face, you’ll quickly find out that you have to make some changes and get accustomed to speaking in front of a camera. Your institution can choose to have a third-party instructional video provider, which is totally fine.

However, there are major arguments why you should try to create them yourself, such as:

  • Tailoring lessons for your classroom’s specific needs;
  • Using in-classroom time for deep learning activities;
  • Reusing videos for future classes, with minor modifications;
  • Following simple video rules is more important than production value.

If you’re looking to inspire many students with your content, that’s even better! There will always be a need for great lessons, judging by the number of teachers and creators who upload these types of videos for free on the internet.

What do you need to create instructional videos?

If you want to create more video lessons, you have to know that there are options and that it won’t cost an arm and a leg. They can be quick, as in the case of screen recordings. The job gets much easier if you’re using video software made specifically for teaching. 

It’s up to you to decide what could work best for your classroom and maybe get more teachers to join in and make it a fun group activity. But first, let’s see what you’ll need:

  • A recording device, such as your smartphone;
  • A good microphone (can be a headset);
  • Good lighting (many online teachers use a ring light when teaching);
  • A good background space such as a white wall behind you;
  • Editing software (there are free ones that you can use);
  • Screencasting apps;
  • A good video platform that also integrates with your LMS, such as Kaltura.

Sure, as you’ve probably guessed by now, not all of these are mandatory, not even the recording device!

5 Instructional video ideas for teachers

Before we dive in, I want to mention that this list is presented on an easy-to-hard continuum, but different teachers have various skills and preferences. The truth is that you can mix and match these video creation methods and find what’s doable for you:

  1. Screencasting

    In my opinion, screencasting is the easiest method there is, as all you need is a screen recorder. Alternatively, you may like the idea of a lecture capture option that publishes videos directly to your LMS. PowerPoint allows you to record your presentation directly,

    Teachers usually record presentations with already-made slides. However, you can present anything on your screen. You can use the lessons you’ve already created in your LMS to teach, create tutorials on how to use certain software, teach using maps and other visual elements, etc.

    However, you do need to make sure to divide lessons into smaller chunks. For example, instead of uploading an hour-long video, make it four or five videos, each representing a different subpart or goal of the lesson.

    What it works best for:

    • Anything, including online lectures where you need to explain a lot of information;
    • Tutorial-type videos that are related to anything you can share on your screen.

    Read more: How to select the best screencasting tool for your flipped classroom

  2. Smartboard/whiteboard

    In this case, you need a whiteboard or smartboard and a lot of patience to film yourself. If your school uses a smartboard, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the screen annotation feature and show more than a simple whiteboard onscreen, such as LMS lessons.

    Keep in mind that in these videos, as in real life, you wouldn’t be spending all lecture time writing on the whiteboard. That’s why it’s best to speed up those parts. You can also cut out those parts of the video entirely but it could confuse students, so beware.

    Otherwise, if you’re using a traditional whiteboard, always make sure that the camera captures a good enough and clear image.

    This method is fun since you can also add props and explain things as if you were actually teaching a class by addressing the students directly and even adding other effects post-production.

    What it works best for:

    • Modeling: giving explanations, using this as a way to solve a Math or Physics problem, for example;

    Read more: How teachers can use smart boards in the classroom

  3. Greenscreen videos

    A green screen is a great tool for classroom activities and can be used for any subject, for creating videos or even photos, assignments, and so on. It’s inexpensive and quite simple to use, even if you’re teaching a remote or blended class.

    This is good if you need to deliver lecture-type videos in which you can add a static or moving background. For example, this background could be so cool for a CompSci class.

    However, you can also use these videos as a way to deliver hands-on demonstrations, such as instructing students how to recreate a science experiment at home. You can be as creative as you want, especially with props!

    What it works best for:

    • Lecture-types videos and class introductions;
    • Hands-on demonstrations, such as Science experiments.

    Read more: Green light for using green screen in classroom activities

  4. Interactive videos

    Interactive videos are the best in terms of how much time you can save. For example, a tool such as Kaltura not only integrates with your LMS but also features a timeline so you can edit your videos with ease.

    Plus, you can also add annotations, highlight important parts with hotspots, add captions and even break videos into chapters. The best part is that you can also create video quizzes so students can watch your instructional videos and test their knowledge at the same time.

    However, if you want something more advanced, there are also learning paths, which means that students can watch videos in a certain order or have a “choose your own adventure” experience.

    What it works best for:

    • Any kind of lesson or tutorial video
    • Assessing student knowledge with the help of the video
    • Accessing analytics to see student progress in video lessons
  5. Whiteboard animation videos

    I could watch whiteboard animation videos all day. Just look at how this short video explains Plato’s ideas in under five minutes. At first glance, it may seem unattainable for a teacher with no technical skills, which is so not true!

    In fact, you can create explainer videos with free animation software that allows you to experiment with visual items such as text, images, charts, and animated maps by simply dragging and dropping items on a template. Some of them also have pre-created scenes and the ability to add voiceovers.

    You can also make your video look like sketch animation videos, making the best use of speech and visual elements to convey information. However, this isn’t super easy, even if you don’t do the drawings yourself, so I’d stick to short, informative videos about a specific concept. Adding this type of video every once in a while can liven up your lessons and make students pay attention to essential information.

    What it works best for:

    • Storytelling type of videos, where you use narration to explain important parts of the lesson;
    • Short, information-packed videos that convey important ideas.

Easy instructional video ideas

With the help of video, you can use classroom time for other activities that are more social learning oriented. In this way, you’re also making sure that everyone has access to the same materials.

However, not all video ideas are made the same, and you can mix and match them to suit your lessons, from the humble screen capture to explainer animation videos.

The main idea is that you can create instructional videos yourself without needing to invest in expensive equipment. It also helps you save more time since you can reuse them over and over again, especially in online classes. So, what are you waiting for? 

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