A Teacher’s Guide to Creating Teaching Videos and Using SchoolTube

SchoolTube is a free* video creation, hosting, and sharing platform that is 100% focused on the needs of K12 teachers, schools, districts, and their staff. The majority of users on SchoolTube are general studies teachers, however, the most prolific users of SchoolTube, in terms of videos uploaded and shared, would fall in the STEM and Media/Journalism category. We have already written a blog on 6-Key Features for Media, Film, and Journalism teachers, so hop over there if you are in that category.  This article is intended for the video novice, or first-time SchoolTube user or for any teacher who wants to learn how to make and manage educational videos for their classes. 

Why Use Video in Teaching?

Students today grow up watching videos from toddlers to teenagers. As a result, kids today are video savvy, and they prefer it as a key learning tool. Teachers that can adapt and complement their in-class lessons with short, engaging videos on those lessons or subjects will have much better learning outcomes. Videos allow students to refer to the videos over and over until they have the material down. Some students are visual learners, and for those, video is ideal. Yes, creating a video takes time, but once it is done it can be used over and over.

Tips for Creating Teaching Videos.

OK, so now it is time to create a video covering a lesson, subject, process, etc., how do you do that? This is a big topic, but we will go over some of the easier ways here. 

Create Multiple Short Videos. First, before making videos, you should know that students have a short attention span and, because of YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms are accustomed to watching shorter videos 3-5 minutes. As such, instead of making one long video, create multiple short videos, focusing on specific aspects of the lesson, unit, problem, or concept. As an example, look at the videos in the Math with Mr. J channel on SchoolTube, all are between 2-8 minutes, cover complex subjects, and are organized into playlists. Share related videos under a common playlist or channel. SchoolTube is the perfect resource for hosting the videos you create and for organizing them under channels and playlists. Learn how to create a SchoolTube account.

PowerPoint Videos: Probably the easiest way to make a video is to use PowerPoint (or Keynote for Mac users). Use the basic PowerPoint features to build a slide deck covering your topic. Be sure to use the animation feature to add a little piazza and motion to your presentation. This helps hold attention. Then, record your slideshow using the live camera option.  There is an option to display your image while speaking. When finished, save the presentation as an MP4 file and upload it to SchoolTube. You can also use the SchoolTube Screen & Audio recording features to record your PowerPoint presentation.

Stand-Up Videos:  Take your iPhone or iPad and stabilize it on a tripod or some type of stand and point it at you while standing in front of a whiteboard or other background. Try using a wireless mic for better audio. Make sure you have bright frontal lighting. Padcaster makes amazing, affordable accessories for iPhones and iPads to aid in video production. For example, if you were working on a math problem, you would focus tightly on where you are writing the problem on the board. If you have a helper, they can zoom in and out as needed. Smart devices often have built-in editing apps to help clip videos and add fun overlays.  SchoolTube’s Express Capture and Screen & Audio record tools can be used to create “stand up” videos and seamlessly feed the video recording directly into a SchoolTube account.

Selfie Videos: This is basically the teacher sitting in front of their computer, laptop, iPad, notebook, or smartphone, and recording yourself using the device’s video camera. Such “selfie videos” videos of you just speaking are great for announcements, explanations, etc. SchoolTube’s Express Capture and Screen & Audio record tools are a great resource for creating quick “selfie” videos.  Again, editing tools in your device can be used to overlay text on videos.

Remote Classroom Apps.  Applications like Zoom and Google Meet have built-in recording features. If you are running remote or hybrid classes, be sure to turn on the recorder to create a copy of the class.  Note: We find that these recordings are very long and difficult to follow. It is a far better idea to create a separate video of the lesson and share it with students, rather than a recording of a live session – too many distractions! 

Screen Capture Applications. There are many, many apps that can be downloaded to your device that will record your screen, audio and camera feeds. In fact, SchoolTube offers one FREE in each moderator account. It’s called Screen & Audio Capture.  Other well-known screen capture apps are: QuickTime(Mac’s)Screencast O’matic and Screencastify  All of these are great, and easy-to-use; most offer a free or low-cost version. Simply install one, open a browser tab in which your education lesson is displayed, turn on the recording feature, and go!  When finished, hit the stop button. Most offer editing tools too. When finished, upload to your SchoolTube account and share with your students! 

Sourcing YouTube© Videos. Rather than make their own videos, many teachers search for videos on YouTube that fit their lesson plans and share those with their students. The challenge here is that many school networks (80% according to Lightspeed) block YouTube. Even when students are at home, most are required to log in to school networks and run headlong into the YouTube blocking. If your school allows access to YouTube, here are options to make YouTube viewing safer:

  •  First, rather than share through YouTube, you can link YouTube and play YouTube videos through a SchoolTube account. ** This removes all suggested YouTube videos and comments, however, YouTube originating video ads will still play. 
  • Another great way to safely share YouTube videos is to embed them into a webpage, rather than share them as a link. Embedding a YouTube video places the player in a page that you manage, removing the surrounding YouTube suggested videos, ads, and comments.  

How to use SchoolTube to Host, Organize and Share Videos.

OK, so now you have a general idea of how to create videos for your teaching needs. Once you start producing your own teaching videos, share them with your students through SchoolTube. If you put them on YouTube and your district or school blocks YouTube, you will have complaints, so use SchoolTube to share your teaching videos. Your students do not need SchoolTube accounts to watch your videos – only if you want to create private video sharing with them. Here are the basic steps.

  1. Create a FREE* SchoolTube account. Learn How
  2. Create your channel(s) on SchoolTube from which to share your videos. Learn How
  3. Upload your videos and publish them into your channel(s). Learn How. 
  4. Within channels, videos can be further organized into shareable playlists. Learn How
  5. Share your videos!  Videos can be shared by their individual SchoolTube URL, by your channel URL, or by a playlist URL. Playlists are a great way to share multiple related videos or to share all videos from a unit or lesson. 

No one starts out as an expert. Start with the camera or device you have and make some videos. Watch tutorials on how to make better videos and follow teachers that make great videos – learn from their process. You will be great and your students will love it! 

Keep those cameras rolling!

*Free, supported by school-appropriate ads and sponsors.

**YouTube video sharing, subject to school network filtering.