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How to Make Instructional Videos with Adobe Spark

April 27, 2020

Do you head to YouTube when you have a problem you need to fix? This happens to me all the time. Sometimes I need help figuring out how to follow a recipe. Other times I’m trying to figure out how to fix something — like how to get my iPad out of an Otterbox case. In this blog post, I share steps so you can make instructional videos for students, too.

Instructional videos provide lots of value for students. They can demonstrate how to address a problem or show off how to implement a new strategy. If you are posting directions for students to follow, or want them to follow a sequence of steps, you can make instructional videos to share with them!

Regular readers of the blog know that I’m a big fan of the Adobe Spark tools. Ben Forta and I wrote a book full of activity ideas for students. And I’ve even created graphic organizers for students who make their own videos with Spark (download them for free).

Spark Video is one of the three creation tools from Adobe Spark. It lets teachers and students create videos by combining media like narration, image, text, icons, and more. Spark Video is also an excellent tool for making your own step-by-step instructional videos!

Note: Adobe Spark is totally free for schools — head over to this page to get your school set up.

Getting Ready to Make Instructional Videos

First, outline the steps for your instructional video. You don’t have to write a script, but you’ll want to have your key points outlined, so you don’t miss anything. Since this is an instructional video, you’ll want to make sure all the steps are clear and concise.

In addition to having a quick outline, you’ll want to prepare the images you’ll have on your screen. This might include pictures like screenshots or images that represent the idea you’ll talk about. Spark Video also lets you add video clips to your project. So if you have a short video clip or a screencast recording, you can add it here, too.

Tip: This is a great opportunity to include temporal words — words that signal time. Try and use words like: first, then, before, after, next, finally, etc.

Creating Your Instructional Video

To create your instructional video, open up Spark Video. The screenshots below show what this looks like on Chrome, but you can also use the Spark Video iOS app. If you’re on the web, you’ll want to choose “video” or “slideshow” from the options since you can also access Spark Page and Spark Post from the web version of Adobe Spark.

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

Next, add a title slide and start creating your slides. You can see that my example video gives instructions for making a BLT sandwich. Your video might have a title like, “How to Solve a Quadratic Equation” or “How to Use Context Clues.”

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

I chose the “start from scratch” option on the next page, so I can jump right into my video creation. For each slide in the video, you can use the orange button to record your voice and the text option to add captions. If you don’t have an image to go along with the step, you can search for icons to add instead.

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

One common component of an instructional or how to video is images and screenshots. If you have a picture of your screen or a picture you snapped with your camera, you can add it to your instructional video. When you choose the Photo option, you will see an option to upload a picture.

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

Note: Both students and teachers can make instructional videos. Teachers might use it to show off a new strategy, and students might use it to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. There are so many options! Download these free planning pages to help students create an instructional video.

Sharing Instructional Videos

When you finish your video, you can download it as an MP4 file or publish it as a link. Then you can share the link with students. They can follow the instructions in your video to learn a new strategy or review a process.

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

If you have a link or file for your video, there are lots of ways to get it in the hands of students. You might upload the file or add the link to the Materials section of Google Classroom. Another option is to upload the video to your YouTube channel. I would encourage you to use whichever workflow you usually use to share resources with students.

Learn quick steps so you can make instructional videos for students.

Instructional Videos and Learning at Home

If your school is exploring different formats for eLearning, instructional videos can come in handy. In asynchronous learning environments, students can refer to instructional videos as they explore new concepts.

Of course, you might curate videos from other sources, but if you decide to make your instructional videos, Spark Video makes it easy! If you make a handful of videos, check out this blog post all about creating video playlists.

I can’t wait to see what you create! If you make instructional videos with Spark Video, share it with students and on social media, too. Use the hashtag #AdobeEduCreate if you’d like other educators to find what you’ve made!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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