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Using Edpuzzles in the Classroom and for Data Informed Teaching by Sarah Renish

Note from Matthew at ELA in Middle School

This post was written by Sarah Renish, Teacher and Teacher-Author Entrepreneur. Sarah is the owner of Ratelis Science, which has a storefront on BOOM!Learning (SM), Amped Up Learning and TpT. Sarah is no stranger to our regular readers, as she authored the post "Adding BOOM! Cards (TM) to Your Toolbox". 

Sarah's Biography

Sarah Renish
I am a 6-12 science teacher in Wisconsin that has over 20 years of teaching experience working with students from diverse backgrounds, including at-risk, ELL, SPED, and Gifted & Talented students. I am actively involved in developing and teaching professional development opportunities related to science instructional best practices. In addition to my regular work for district curriculum committees and numerous professional development sessions, I have taught for the past 18 years in Kenosha Unified School District.

Part of the work I do at my school includes duties as a vertical team leader for all ten science teachers in the 6th through 8th grades, facilitating our professional learning community, and coordinating with my building and district administration to improve science instruction. As a part of these duties, I do research on instructional best practices and develop short professional development sessions for our staff. I also work with my grade level team of science teachers and special education teachers to develop common assessments and to make appropriate accommodations for students. I am also a formal and informal mentor to a number of teachers, both in my content and in other subjects as well.

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 answer.

The individual reports show student progress and how much time has been spent on the video. This is helpful information for student conferencing. 

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 students.

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 unanswered.

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 to answer.  

Edpuzzle is 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 progress.


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