Note from Matthew at ELA in Middle School
Why Use Edpuzzles to Help Inform Our Teaching
As a middle school teacher, I am focused on getting useful
formative data to help plan my lessons. I am also looking for ways to
differentiate my lessons; I have students who are working at as low as the 1st grade level as
well as gifted and talented students that are doing high school level work in
the same classes. Something that has been a game changer for my transition to
online instruction has been Edpuzzles.
This is an online video lesson builder.
It is free with a limited storage but has options for getting larger
storage through individual teacher referrals – you can use this link here or by paid
subscriptions that are through a school or district. As of May 15th, 2020 Edpuzzle was
offering schools a free premium subscription.
I am not sure how long this will last but it was a nice surprise to see
the upgrade in my account a few weeks ago. As a data informed teacher, the fact that the platform includes such information as the amount of time spent viewing the videos/lessons, the amount of the video that was actually viewed, the grades/scores that students achieve, and growth data are all important factors to me.
How to Use Edpuzzles
You can search for a video or upload your own. Personally, I
have been very happy with the built-in search features to find videos. Edpuzzle has a curated curriculum channel
that shows you what lessons other teachers have already created. This can be a
major time saver in that you can review and use these lessons as is or edit
them to modify them to meet your exact needs.
You can also search for videos from YouTube and edit them, meaning I can
cut out the segment from the longer video I want to present to students, and I
can add in notes, multiple choice questions and open-response questions.
Once you have decided on the video and questions you can
then assign it to your students.
You do need to set up a class to use with your students so
you can have the program collect and track their progress watching the videos
and answers to the questions. I use Google Classroom at my school so I also
appreciated that I could import my students from my Google Classes into the
Edpuzzle and that I can sync the assignments to the Google Classroom. This means that when students finish the video,
the score is automatically updated in the Google Classroom assignment, unless I
must manually grade an open-ended response.
Open-ended responses require me to grade those and submit the scores before
Edpuzzle will update the grades in Google Classroom.
You can track student progress for multiple assignments,
entire class progress for a specific video or even individual student
progress. My students are very engaged
with the assignments and have given me positive feedback. They like that they can repeatedly watch
sections of the videos and that they get immediate feedback. Also, the video can
be controlled by the student so they could pause it if they needed more time to
write something down. I also like that I
can add in reminders about things to pay attention to in the video and for
wrong answers I can also leave feedback about why is was not the correct
The individual reports show student progress and how much
time has been spent on the video. This is helpful information for student
It does take me time to preview the videos and to decide
which questions to keep and what questions to add. I make most videos under 10
minutes long and have them set up as a review of the reading for the week. I can see Edpuzzles staying in my teacher’s
toolkit once we return to face to face teaching because they will become part
of station rotations for my students during independent worktime. I also like that I can create different classrooms,
so I have plans for also doing some differentiation for my SPED and ELL
students with Edpuzzles. The closed
captioning helps with language skills and allows my lower ELL students to see
the words in addition to hearing them. This helps them with making connections
to the content and important vocabulary.
They can also replay the videos to hear how the words are pronounced ad
used by the narrator.
I am assigning a variety of tasks for my students to do
while we are distance learning and the Edpuzzles are rated highly by my students
to ease of use, engagement, and flexibility.
I have students specifically asking if I can assign an Edpuzzle on a
topic to supplement the textbook.
I also like that I can see how much time students spent
watching the video, and if the student reviewed any sections more than once.
This is a screen shot from a student who needed extra time to finish the
assignment. Notice that I can see that they did review a few sections of the
video two or even three times, this is one of the powerful features of Edpuzzle
that my students report really liking; they report that having the ability to
review the video if they need to is very empowering because in class they often
feel behind or embarrassed to have to ask the teacher to go over or repeat a
part of the lesson. With Edpuzzles the
student can choose to review the video as often as needed without feeling
embarrassed about needing to have more time to process the information or
needing another chance to hear what was said.
I also find that I can use Edpuzzle not only to deliver information, but also as a data collection tool. It collects information about student answers and
has a simple interface that I can use to look at the questions and answers and identify
areas of concern. I think Edpuzzle does a great job of color coding the student answers into red, yellow, and green so I
can look for questions marked with Red because they had a high number of
students answer it incorrectly. This
gives me ideas of what material my students still need more review from me for
the next part of the lesson. In this
screen shot I can see that the first question is marked yellow so it was not
missed by a lot of students but enough that I should check on the individual
I can click on the individual questions to see a breakdown
of what each student answered to help me identify students who might need
reteaching. This data does include every
student in the class, even if they haven’t answered yet so you do want to make
sure that you check this data after all students have finished the video or you
will see a lot of questions marked as yellow or red because they are
If you are nervous about screen casting or unsure if you
have adequate video production skills, you can use videos from many
high-quality educational sites such as PBS, TED Talks and National
Geographic. I would show video clips in
my classroom as part of my regular lessons, stopping the clips to make the
students think about what had happened or to make predictions about what was
coming up next and I can do similar things with the questions in Edpuzzle.
This screenshot shows part of a lesson I recently used with my students. You can click here to try out the video yourself. Notice I started with an open-ended question like I would in my face to face instruction to get students thinking about background knowledge before watching the video. As the video progresses I add in a few multiple choice questions that connect to the section of the video they just finished. You can also see that I added a note to the students reminding them to pay attention to how energy affects the state of matter. These notes automatically pause the video when they are shown, so they are great for making students pause, literally, during the video and reflect on what was previously presented.
If you want to make a video from a larger video you can also use the easy
to use clipping tool in Edpuzzle. You
just adjust the start and stop bars to select the section you want to use. You can even select several different parts
of the video and have them edited together. In this screenshot you can see that
I have clipped the larger video down to a smaller 3:34 section for my
students. On the left side you can seed
listing of the multiple choice and open ended questions I have written
to go with the video. You can have more
than one question at a time so at time 0:54 I have three questions for students
a keeper in my book and is going to be added to my teacher’s took box. I
appreciate the simple interface for adding questions and comments to videos,
the ability to remix videos from other teacher or to create my own and that it
has a straightforward way for me to get informative data about student