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Pros: Huge library of templates provides a starting point for users at any level; more assessment options than competitors offer.
Cons: Lacks some useful accessibility and collaboration features. The design could be more focused.
Bottom Line: This tool strikes a nice balance, offering teachers an easy intro to interactive video mixed with a large set of features that can lead to increasingly sophisticated lesson design.
Using video effectively in the classroom requires switching students from passive to active viewers. Often teachers will have students take notes while they watch, or pause videos and ask questions and spark discussions. PlayPosit offers a platform for weaving these teaching strategies into the videos themselves.
By adding pauses to PlayPosit videos, or "bulbs," at regular intervals, teachers can break up a long session of narration or talking and check student understanding. During a video about Jane Goodall, for example, insert a pause where students can discuss the importance of her work. Pause a video about climate change to ask students not only to recall key facts but to answer a poll question, or to provide an in-depth response about the benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy. Show students part or all of a powerful TED talk, and ask them to respond to periodic prompts to create a more enriching viewing experience. Use the same type of thought-provoking questions you would pose to your students in the classroom or on a quiz.
It's important to make sure that your assessment items aren't a verbatim repetition of what's in the video. Of course, this is easier to do if you begin with higher-quality videos. If you create your own videos or screencasts, be sure to include pauses so that audio breaks fall at natural conclusions, rather than in the middle of a sentence or concept. Or if you prefer to save some time, pick from the vast library of pre-created bulbs, and edit as needed to create a customized learning experience for your students.
PlayPosit is a web- and Chrome-based tool that lets teachers create and edit interactive video assessments from streamed or uploaded content. Teachers upload an audio file or a video from popular sites such as YouTube and Vimeo to create an interactive video or bulb. The simple interface is limited to three options: Video Segments, Interactions, and Review. Using those tabs, users can combine and crop videos, include closed captions, and add interactions, including polls, multiple-choice questions, pauses for discussion, and written responses with optional feedback. Finally, review the bulb so that you can see it from a student's perspective. Teachers strapped for time can also perform a filtered search through thousands of premade bulbs, copy them onto their dashboard, and edit as desired. Teachers can tweak videos with some useful affordances for students, including whether they can rewind, fast-forward, skip interactions, or redo the bulb. Once bulbs are assigned out and students start completing them, teachers can check in on progress in the dashboard.
The free version features unlimited bulbs but only 100 learner attempts at bulbs per month. The paid version lifts this restriction.
Many teachers -- especially those in a distance learning or flipped-class model -- struggle with gauging student understanding of video content, or with finding out if students watched assigned videos. This tool can help capture that information, and it can help teachers take stock of how well students internalize essential information from a video. When students know they'll be questioned about the material, they're more likely to pay close attention. That said, be sure to select quality videos, and be deliberate about the questions you ask so that students get the most out of the lesson. It's also important to aim for videos that are just right in length for your students. Videos that are too short may have too many interruptions to significantly impact learning, while videos that drag on run the risk of causing students to check out.
While it would be great if students could discuss videos virtually via a moderated chat feature, the ability to pause videos for students to reflect can work in person or in a group session via a virtual learning platform. Additional accessibility features, such as the ability to change font size and type or have questions read aloud, would be helpful for struggling readers or for students with visual impairments. Also, there are bulbs created with younger users in mind, but some young students may not be able to read well enough yet to answer the questions as presented. Emoji reactions or the ability to use pictures as answer choices might serve to better capture the excitement of early learners.