3 Tips to Create Engaging Instructional Videos for Students

3 Tips

Instructional videos empower learners to study at their own pace so it is no wonder teachers are creating more and more videos to support student learning.  But because teachers are making videos doesn’t necessarily mean that the videos are effective.  Just because a lecture moves from the classroom environment to youtube doesn’t mean a teacher has now individualized instruction because of the pause button.  Here are some tips to create more engaging instructional videos.

Keep it Short

In this post by Alice Keeler, she shares that according to Facebook analytics, videos that are over one minute receive far fewer views than than those that are under a minute.  She even suggests keeping videos under 30 seconds.  I’m just not there yet, but I do agree that many of the instructional videos being made by teachers today are way too long.  So how do you make them shorter and still cover all the content?

Create a separate video for each concept.  In doing so, teachers can create a playlist of videos which is beneficial for students who need to review a topic.  Rather than skimming a long video, students can jump to the video needed.  If your school doesn’t have access to youtube, upload your videos to a folder in Google Drive and share the folder with students.  Use a naming convention so students will know what order to watch the videos in.  A tip from Alice Keeler is to use 001, 002, etc.

Below is an example of a playlist of videos I created to help students learn iMovie.  Notice the title of the movie addresses the skill.


Creating instructional videos can take time, but they also save time in the long run, so you might as well do it right the first time (I’m sounding like my parents here).  Planning your video helps make sure you include everything in it.  It also helps cut down on the ums, and uhs, as you record (this is something I do even with my script!).

There are a number of tools you can use to plan your video.  A simple google search of “storyboard” will bring up many different editable storyboards you can use to help you plan.  I use Keynote a lot when making instructional videos and use the notes feature for my script.  Google Slides and PowerPoint are also great tools for planning.

Here’s a screenshot of how I use Keynote as a storyboard.


Adding questions to instructional videos helps set expectations for students and provides a context for the video.  It is a good technique to engage students as well as assess student knowledge.

Google forms is an excellent tool to create questions and gather responses from students while watching instructional videos.  EdPuzzle is a tool many of the teachers at my school use.  With EdPuzzle, you can add a variety of interactive questions as well as track student progress.  Another strategy is having students come up with their own questions as they watch.  Crystal Kirsch from Flipping with Kirsch successfully used the WSQ (Watch, Summarize, Question) strategy with her students when she was in the classroom and saw an overall improvement in student learning.  You can read all about how she did it here.

Instructional videos maximize learning efficiency and account for differences in learning styles.  What tips do you have for engaging students in instructional videos?

Hacking Keynote

Resources below are from my Hacking Keynote Presentation at the KS Maui Student Technology Conference.

HACKing Keynote.001

Keynote is my all time favorite presentation software.  This presentation includes some fun ways to Hack Keynote and customize slides (rather than using the same old templates…).


Creating Presentations with Style
Tips for creating presentations.


All fonts are free to download but make sure you read the licensing when available.

4 Things You Need to Know to Pair Fonts Well
Excellent tips from Piktochart.


Excellent color combination tool

How to pick great colors for your website even if you’re not a designer
Excellent resource for how to use paletton and an explanation of color combination

Color Pick Eyedropper
Need the HTML code of a color?  This chrome extension will do that for you


Public Domain Images

Best Practices for Attribution
My favorite resource for how to cite creative commons images

What are your favorite presentation tips?

Create Presentations That Don’t Suck Using Keynote

Resources from Maui Tech Slam – 10/12/15


Da Font
Download free font

Kimberly Geswein Fonts
My favorite font pairing resource

More Font Resources
My pinterest board of font resources


A Pinterest Board full of great color combinations

Image Resources

Copyright free image resources

Creative Commons
Search for creative commons licensed media.

Citing Creative Commons Images
My favorite “how to cite” CC images resource

Pinterest Board of Copyright Free Image Resources

Cute Google Slide Templates

2015-08-14_15-04-08Here’s a little Tech Tidbit about a great site called Slides Carnival.  I learned about Slides Carnival from Liz Castillo when we were collaborating on a presentation for Kukulu Kaiaulu.  She shared her Google Presentation and her slides were so cute!  Here it is:

Adorable, right?  And that’s just a taste!  Slide Carnival has many FREE templates to choose from and within those templates are sample slides and how they can be used to enhance a presentation.  For example:

This sample is from the Quince Presentation Template


This sample is from the Trinculo Presentation Template.

What’s nice is when you visit Slides Carnival and click on the template, it gives you what the template is designed for and features for the template.   The Balthasar Presentation Template, for example:

This free presentation template is specifically designed for finance and professional lectures. With its dark style and daring decoration you’ll impress your audience with your slides. Who says finance and economics have to be boring?.


  • Fully editable. Easy to change colors, text and photos
  • 25 different slides
  • Finance themed design with serif typographies.
  • Graphs, icons, tables and maps
  • 16:9 screen layout (Can change to 4:3 with a click on Google Slides, but some graphic assets may not work well)

So check the cool templates Slides Carnival has to offer!

Google Classroom, OH MY!

Itʻs FINALLY here!  We get to use Google Classroom at Kamehameha Schools!  Earlier this month, Google announced Google Classroom is now available across domains.  Lucky us!  Iʻm on an as I need to know basis so I donʻt have a lot of experience with Google Classroom YET, but Iʻm teaching myself.  So why should you have to wait for me when if you want to learn on your own you can too?  Here are some great resources to get you started:

Getting Started With Google Classroom
Learn the basic steps of getting started with Google Classroom inside your district’s Google Apps for Education account

50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom
By Alice Keeler

Marc Nakayamaʻs Google Classroom Resources

60 Smarter Ways to Use Google Classroom

Whatʻs your favorite Google Classroom resource?  Please share in the comments below.

#ksedtech Reimagine Classrooms Resources


Campfires in Cyberspace

EdSpaces Conference

Classroom Design Resources from Mary Wever

My Pinterest Board of Learning Space Resources

Pinterest Board of Furniture for Common Area

4Tips to Transform Your Learning Space

An Educators Guide to Design Thinking

Hillbrook School iLab

The Third Teacher

The School I’d Like

Group 70

5B Fish Blog

Classroom Cribs

Erin Klein’s Blog


Tuesday Tech Tidbit is Now Just Tech Tidbit


Who says it needs to be a Tuesday for a Tech Tidbit?  Tuesday Tech Tidbits are now just Tech Tidbits!  Since I didn’t post in April, this post is not just one tidbit, but a bunch of tech tidbitS.  And here they are:

Use Edshelf to find the perfect Tech Tool to meet your needs!  Simply visit edshelf.com, click on “Search for perfect tool” and use the filters on the left to find exactly what you’re looking for.  See the video below to learn how.

According to their website, edWeb.net is a professional social and learning network that makes it easy for anyone in the education community to connect with peers, share information and best practices, spread innovative ideas, and provide professional development.  What I like best about edweb are the awesome webinars.  They range from Digital Games & Learning: Theory & Research to Global Professional Development Opportunities for STEM Education.  The webinars are recorded so if you’re not available for the live show, watch them later.  Free professional development!

Change.org is a platform for people to start a petition to create the change they want to see.  This is a great tool to empower students to get support from a global audience about something they’re passionate about and want to see changed.  Read how a 13 year old girl started a petition on Change.org to ban plastic shopping bags in her home town in Illinois.  Can you imagine what your students will change?  Why not find out?
Note – one must be 13 years old to create an account on change.org

Are you looking for a way to organize all your online stuff?  Flipboard to the rescue!  View your Facebook feed, twitter feed, instagram feed, blogs you subscribe too, and more in a beautifully looking magazine.  Flipboard is available on moblie devices as well as on your computer.  Watch the video below by Sue Waters as she shares how she uses Flipboard to curate and share content.