Video Lesson: The Tech Guide

I had a few people ask how I make the video lessons, so I thought I might do an extra post to answer that question.  First, I have just completed my Master’s in Educational Technology, and that was a great idea to really learn to use the technology out there and to really see the benefits of students using technology EFFECTIVELY.  But in order to see the students using technology effectively to produce academic gains, there are a few steps the teacher must take.  The most important, however, is intentionally planning for growth instead of edutainment.  The second is management and ensuring the students are doing what they are supposed to be doing while on the device.  I know… But I have a strategy for that.

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE: No one likes a dirty belly button.

  1. Clean the belly button.  We use iPads, and class starts by taking the device off airplane mode (quicker charging and holds battery longer as the power cell in the device begins to die) and cleaning the belly button. What this means is that the students double-click the home key to reveal all open apps and windows.  Students must then close everything except what I tell them to use.
  2. At any point in the lesson, randomly double-click the belly button to see what is opened.  If anything other than what I have instructed is opened, I screen shot and email it to myself. If it is just off task, I give one warning and then contact the parent the second time. I ask for parent email, and then for any additional offenses, I include the parent.  The third time, I involve administration because clearly I’m not good enough to make the behavioral change in the student.  If it violates school policy, I send the screen shot directly to administration and enter a disciplinary referral.  If the only thing open is what I have directed, students sometimes get a piece of candy or just a positive phone call home.

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE: Use apps that monitor student activity for you.

  1. Try Nearpod.  There is a free version that allows for LIVE implementation of the lesson.  This means that the students must progress in the lesson as you push them through the slides.  Student assessment can be built into the presentation, making it totally awesome. Finally, you can actually show student responses (with or without giving student names) to the class for feedback.  All data is tracked, and you get a PDF analysis of student work individually and as a class. If you use the purchased version, Nearpod lessons can be launched in HOMEWORK so students progress at their own rates.  This is great for leading PLE instruction.  Join Nearpod by visiting
  2. Try Zaption. This has a cost, but I think it is totally worth it.   Basically, you create videos and post them.  Then, you build a Zaption lesson with assessment built into the video you have created. Or, you can use a video someone else has created.  I’m convinced this is worth the cost, but you can get a free two month trial by visiting



  1.  Have the lesson.  To make instruction clear, I still use PowerPoint to start everything. In each PowerPoint, I include the notes of what I want to be sure to say.  Instead of adding animations that advance on my click, I add a new slide for each part.  For example, if the slide has 4 bullets, I make four slides so the first has the first bullet, the second has the first and second bullet, and so on.  This helps with the video elements.
  2. Buy the “ExplainEverything” app.  I cannot put to words how valuable this has been.  There are others out there, and I’ve used several.  But this is the best five bucks you can spend. Promise.
  3. Transfer the PPT into a PDF and email it to yourself. (Trust me, easiest this way.)


USING NEARPOD FROM THIS POINT: While you can import videos into Nearpod, you can’t stop the video to add the assessments.  So, for implementing this tool, you would combine the lesson with videos through the interactions menu in Nearpod. Sounds confusion, but I promise that playing around with the program will be helpful.

  1. Open Nearpod and click to create a new Nearpod.  When open, click to import your Powerpoint or JPG files. Each slide will import as its own page. (Note, importing from jpg will reduce file size and keep fonts and spacings.  With PPT, sometimes that gets messed up.)
  2. With the slides imported, begin adding activities and assessments for the students.
  3. Save the file and publish it for students to begin learning.
  4. Once published, you will want to share it when you are ready to use it.  For LIVE mode, you are in control.  For HOMEWORK, just give the students the pin or send them an email for them to use at the appropriate time.
  5. As a part of my degree, I had to create instructional guides.  One of the guides I created was Nearpod, and you can find it by visiting



  1. Open the email on the device with Explain Everything.  When it is open, click to open in “ExplainEverything” app. Each slide will import as its own video page.
  2. Begin recording your speech for each of the slides.  I recommend allowing record to run for one second BEFORE you start talking and 2 seconds AFTER you stop.  This helps with signaling for revisions if you need to record over what you have and for giving time to import the activity in Zaption.
  3. Once you have recorded everything, hold down the play button until the big yellow play button appears.  Push the big play button and verify you like the video.
  4. Save the file and export it to your youtube channel. (Don’t have one? Just visit youtube and create one.  This is also free and easy.)
  5. Once the video has exported, ExplainEverything will ask if you want to share. Click yes and select to share by email. This is great for giving a backup link to the video.  Once in your email, copy the link.
  6. In Zaption, click New Lesson.  From here, paste the link to your video.  Alas, you’re now ready to add the assessment parts.

(By the way, I get nothing from having you use any of this. I’m just going with my personal favorites from my own practices and my own data of what seems to works best with my students.)


Hope this all helps! If you have any comments, questions, or ideas, please let me know!

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