Do you use videos in your classroom? You don’t have to have a flipped classroom to leverage the power of video with your students. Whether you share tutorials, explainer videos, or clips from a documentary, you can create video playlists.
Last year, I shared a strategy for creating video playlists using YouTube. You might have heard about it on this episode of the Easy EdTech Podcast. I’ve embedded it below in case you want to listen now, or you can search for Episode 34 (Ways to Use Video Playlists in the Classroom) on your favorite podcast app.
In this blog post, I’m going to take you through another strategy for creating video playlists. It’s an extension of an earlier post on the blog about curating resources in your classroom. Today, I’m going to take you through a strategy for using Adobe Spark Page to set up a website with links of videos you’d like to share with students. You’ll see screenshots below from the Chrome web browser of my MacBook. But you can try out this same strategy with the Spark Page app for iPad and iPhone.
Creating Video Playlists for Your Classroom
Those of you who regularly stop by my blog or receive my free weekly newsletter, know that I love the Adobe Spark tools and even have a book with classroom activities. It’s titled, 40 Ways to Inject Creativity in the Classroom with Adobe Spark. Ben Forta and I wrote this book to help educators design exciting learning experiences for their students.
When you create a video playlist for your class, you are handpicking resources that are “just right” for the group. This playlist could include a top ten list of videos on a particular topic, or a handful of math tutorials related to a new unit of study. It’s totally up to you what goes on your video playlist. All you need is a vision of what you’d like to share, and a list of video links to put on your Spark Page to create a video playlist.
How to Create Video Playlists
First, choose a focus for your video playlist. In the example below, I’ve chosen Animal Habitats as my topic. Then, locate videos you would like to add to your video playlist. Once you have these two steps taken care of, you can get started with a new Spark Page.
Spark Page is a website creation tool, so essentially, you are setting up a website and adding your video links as buttons for students to click. Create a new Spark Page using the blue plus sign on the Spark homepage. At the top of the page, you can add your title and subtitle, and add a header image.
Then you’ll have a space to add all of your videos to create a playlist for students. I suggest adding a paragraph at the top of the page. This paragraph might include an explanation of the resources and directions on how to use them. For example, if students would watch the videos in order, or choose just one or two to view, add that direction to the top of your page.
Below your instructions, use the + sign to add buttons. These buttons will connect to your video links. You will want to put a title on the button and choose if you would like it right, left, or center aligned.
If all of your videos are from YouTube and Vimeo, you can use the Video option instead of the Button option. Either one will work, so it just depends on how you would like the videos organized on your page.
In addition to adding the links and videos to your page, you might use the text option to add a video description or citation. This text could go above or below the video, or accompany just a few or several of your videos. This sentence or paragraph is entirely optional. But it is an excellent way to explain to your students what to look out for as they watch, or to model how you give credit to sources you share in class.
Sharing Your Video Playlist
At the top of the page, you’ll see a Share button. This button will let you publish your page and receive a link to share with students. If you end up making any changes to your page, you can always hit the Share button again, and this will update the link with any of the edits you made.
You can post the link to your video playlist in Google Classroom, Schoology, or anywhere you typically share it with students. Since your video playlist gives you a link to share, you could even turn it into a QR code if you like.
Finding Videos for Students
Where can you find videos for a playlist? With the strategy I shared in this blog post, you will want to locate videos with a public link. You might head to YouTube or Vimeo to search for video content. In this episode of my Easy EdTech Podcast, I share some of my favorite YouTube channels.
There are plenty of websites with educational videos ready for you to share with students. One of my favorites is TED-Ed and their explainer videos. If you haven’t used it before, check out my free ebook on all the ways to use TED-Ed in your classroom.
Video Playlist Options
Who else can benefit from your video playlist? Instead of creating a video playlist for students, you can make one for colleagues or your students’ parents. For example, you might know that your grade level team is going to teach a unit on recycling next semester. You might create a video playlist with a selection of videos you think might be useful as they prepare to teach this unit.
If you are making a video playlist for parents, you might add a handful of read-aloud videos you select from StorylineOnline. Alternatively, you might create a video playlist of special moments from the past school year, to welcome families who are new to the school. The possibilities are really endless!
Get started with Adobe Spark by visiting their website! This page gives you all of the information you need to set up Spark for Education in your classroom. And if you make an awesome video playlist and share it on social media, tag me @classtechtips so I can check it out, too!
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