video_jpgWhy make videos with students?

It gives a different focus to the lesson, and is a means to move away from the text books.

Students can see an outcome.

Students finish the process with a resource they have produced. They can use this to help them review the content.

Creating content for Youtube appeals to many young people’s interests.

The content can be used for review or even peer to peer teaching.

Possible issues

One of the issues related to videos is privacy and consent. Obviously before publishing content with young people you need permission from them and their parents.

Teens who are most interested in videos are likely to become self-conscious in front of a camera.


I’ve made different types of videos but I think using graphics rather than people is a good way to avoid the issues mentioned above.

What do I use to make the video?

There are a number of things out there but I think Powtoon is really useful for making short videos with graphics (Thanks to one of my students Jesus for suggesting it).

How to do it.

Powtoon recommends you write your script first.

In my case, I gave the students chance to brainstorm/review what they had learned in the lesson.

They were given their storyboard which was just a blank page with six squares. (The part we were working on was speaking part 2 for the PET exam).

The idea was that each slide would last ten seconds, so six squares would roughly equate to 1 minute. I was surprised how little information you can really discuss in that amount of time. So I’d say from my experience less is more.

I gave feedback on the script to avoid any major errors but tried to keep it as the students’ work

The first time I made the videos as I wanted to know how to do it. So I made the finished product using their storyboards and audio recordings. I designed the visuals.

In future, I would encourage the students to design the visuals in class or as homework.

They could use the voiceover to avoid converting and trimming files which is very time-consuming.

Any tips?

When making videos with students it is best to record in small chunks and then put them together. This way if the student makes a mistake or there’s an issue it’s much easier to solve. Nothing worse than two minutes into a recording one of the students getting the giggles.

Sometimes it’s useful to record audio as the sound quality can be better and the sound file can be edited but this means more work for the teacher.

I use my phone or the students use theirs and email me the sound documents. If you need to do need to edit sound files the following websites are useful.

Audio recordings: To convert from phone voice recorder to mp3

To trim MP3 tracks

Other things to know.

In the free version of Powtoon the maximum slide length is 20 secs.

Unless you pay  for the premium version you can’t download your video, but you can post to facebook and youtube or send links from your own Powtoon

I found the easiest way to make a video using it is select blank Powtoons and then choose the backgrounds etc.

You can add your own pictures and videos easily.

You can add audio files or record a voice over and then move when the graphics appear on the slide using the slide bar. You can cut and add seconds as necessary.

Here’s a link to one of the videos.

How do you use videos with your classes?