The Explosion of Video in the Classroom

How Publishers are Making Videos “Teacher-Ready”

By Gina Faulk – General Manager, EdGate Correlation Services

What adult is not amazed (and sometimes exasperated) with the modern student’s prolific video watching? Students are downloading Netflix videos to their handhelds so they can fill time on the school bus. From their laptops they watch gamers stream that ubiquitous of all games, Fortnite, to the chagrin of their parents. When it’s finally homework time, they open their school-supplied tablet so they can watch a math problem being solved via a Khan Academy video.

At EdGate, we hold the position of curriculum alignment experts, a necessity of the K-12 curriculum sales and adoption process. Our team of SME’s, all former educators, are in the unique position of being exposed daily to all manner of content from a broad expanse of over 250 publishers. We see everything from online courses to interactive games, lesson plans and textbooks. However, we’ve seen no other format grow more than the video curriculum format. During any given month, hundreds of videos flow through our office. Thus we’ve been able to witness firsthand how the video revolution is achieving a Victory Royale (yes, that’s Fortnite-speak).

Classroom Video Use on the Rise

According to Kaltura’s fifth annual “State of Video in Education” report, video usage in the classroom by K-12 teachers is robust, with 56% of those polled stating that the majority of teachers are incorporating video for teaching and learning uses, specifically as supplemental material and student assignments. Further, the Kaltura report states that the rising generation is far more video-savvy than previous generations, thus it makes sense that teachers would see video as an obvious way to engage their students.

This reality is echoed by Elizabeth Murray at MIT BLOSSOMS. “We discovered that while many teachers are intimidated by educational content provided via computer technology, they feel unthreatened by lessons in video form – a technology they have been using all their lives. Video also frees teachers and students from the confines of a classroom and can transport them to a farm in Malaysia, a bridge in Mexico, or Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, USA.”

Without Good Metadata, a Video is just a Video

The SMEs at EdGate see everything from videos depicting and analyzing Shakespeare plays (from video provider ClickView) to videos explaining the “Physics of Pool” (from MIT Blossoms) to hip-hop videos that playfully “rap” the week’s news (from Flocabulary). Ahem, if you haven’t heard a rap about the Mueller investigation yet, well, you really should check out the Flocabulary site here.

All of this publisher content, of course, has been created with the express purpose of teaching a “learning outcome” so that students can be assessed for mastery of concepts. But how do teachers ensure that these videos are effectively teaching these learning outcomes? How do publishers make sure that the videos are used as a legitimate teaching medium?

Per Edward Filetti, CEO of ClickView, “We know good metadata is key. ClickView’s primary goal is to allow teachers to find appropriate content in the shortest space of time. To do this, we dedicate a great deal of resources to mapping to different curriculum standards, and refining our search engine.”

Concepts, Keywords, Accurate Descriptions, and Alignments to Standards

The main educational concepts of the video need to be extracted (this includes cross-curricular concepts), concise descriptions written, and crucial keywords for the video should be readily available so that even if the teacher does not search by the actual learning concept, they can search using other relevant keywords that will lead them to a suitable video. And of course, aligning/mapping these videos to the appropriate standards or learning outcomes is vital to the marketing, sales, and adoption process.

And What About Video Length?

Whether the video is five minutes long or sixty minutes long, the teacher should be able to easily pinpoint the concepts being served up. In fact, studies have found that shorter video segments (6-9 minutes) are more successful in the classroom than long-form video. Besides the obvious problem of keeping student’s engaged, teachers have limited time and certainly not enough time to scrub through longer videos on their own. Thus, shorter videos or segmented videos allow educators to stop and start the video as they see fit, easily locating the segments that are appropriate for the day’s lesson.

All of this work ensures teachers are successful in discovering content. Once the perfect video is identified, streaming video providers take even more steps to ensure a rich experience. For example, Infobase, a streaming video platform provider, allows for personalized video intros to be added so that educators can give an overview or provide context. Additionally, dynamic citations are available so that students can use and reference the videos in papers, projects, and reports.

Will Fortnite be popular in five years? Maybe? But we’ve got a hunch educational videos are here for the long haul and, as always, students will be ahead of the game.


Gina Faulk is the GM at EdGate Correlation Services, the leading company to offer content mapping to global educational performance standards and scalable methods to prepare educational films for the classroom. Gina has over 20 years of experience in publishing, previously working for Learning.com and Macmillan Publishing Solutions. As the GM at EdGate she focuses on business development and learning more than any sane person ever wanted to know about K-12 standards. Gina spends her free time searching for the best educational (and sometimes just silly) videos with her three school-age children.

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