Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2019

Kapwing

Create, tweak, and share videos and images with online editor

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Arts

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
4–12
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Pros: It's free, has almost no learning curve, and offers loads of options for content creation.

Cons: Some of the editing tools are limited and won't quite work the way students want.

Bottom Line: With clear learning goals and managed expectations, students and teachers will find this to be a useful and enjoyable media creation tool.

Kapwing is a one-stop shop for creating simple stop-motion animations, memes, and videos. While it's not a full-fledged video editor, it's free and functional, and teachers as well as students will find it useful. Teachers can use it as part of a flipped classroom -- creating short instructional, supplemental resources students can view at home. It's also just a handy utility for tweaking images and videos. Worried about accidentally showing inappropriate content? Trim videos to a length where you can show students without the stress of having to hit pause at just the right time.

Students can use Kapwing to demonstrate learning and exercise creativity. They make memes out of scientific discoveries, recite a monologue or sonnet, or create a montage of a historical event through a series of photographs. There are tons of possibilities, but be aware that there aren't any resources aimed specifically at classrooms. Once students are done with a project, they can easily share their content via a media album or class social media group.

However teachers use Kapwing, they'll want to hold themselves and students accountable for proper use and citation of copyright-protected content, reminding students about copyright and creative credit laws so that students don't inappropriately use copyright-protected content. In certain cases, it might be better to have students take their own pictures and film their own videos if they're going to share them publicly. Teachers should also make expectations clear to students when it comes to the social media sharing options.

Looking for more ideas? Check out this article by one of the Kapwing founders.

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Kapwing is a video editing website where users upload videos or images and lightly edit and tweak them. The end product can range from a shorter or modified video to a meme to a stop-motion animation and more. Users don't need an account, just a URL to a video or image. There's also an option to upload a file (uploads are capped at 300 MB and 30 minutes of video). There are 17 different tools to use to modify a video or image, ranging from video trimmers to subtitlers to meme generators. The tools are highly intuitive and easy even for novices to add text, music, images in succession, and a host of other tasks. After using an initial tool, like the subtitler, there's an option to move the project to a "studio" editor where final touches, like text and audio, can be added. Finished projects -- which can be downloaded or shared -- have a watermark, but they can be removed for $6 per video or $20 per month for unlimited videos. Alternatively, signing in via Google or Facebook removes watermarks when they're saved to an account.

Media creation tools offer many possibilities for learning, and Kapwing is no exception. With well-designed lessons, teachers can add elements of fun, creativity, and critical thinking by letting students create content that demonstrates mastery of concepts. Students can record themselves giving a presentation to build their public speaking skills and then create a reflective meme that depicts how they feel they did. Teachers can create fun stop-motion videos to introduce or wrap up a concept and get students' attention in a memorable way.  The montage feature is helpful for memory-dependent tasks such as creating vocabulary flash cards with images. Teachers can even encourage social and emotional learning by letting kids make congratulatory videos or memes after an individual or group presentation and share them with the presenter(s) as feedback (though teachers should probably have kids upload these to a media album or Google document for review before passing them on). 

While Kapwing is super easy to use and well designed, it has limitations. This is not a full-featured video editor that'll help students gain transferable video editing skills. Perhaps the biggest omission is that users can trim only the length of videos; there's no splitting of clips. So users can't really edit a video beyond lopping off the beginning or end. Also, the website's focus on starting with discrete tasks like "Meme Generator" or "Add Audio to Video" makes it easy to jump in and accomplish something. However, it'd be nice if there was a pro option where a bunch of the different tasks/tools were available at the same time and a student or teacher could play around with them all at once.

Also, there's a lot of room for Kapwing to better serve mobile users. As it is, there's a Kapwing iOS app that's only used to download projects, not create them. This is a strangely cumbersome process: Users must hand-type very long URLs from the website into the app. Since a lot of the content is designed for social media, and many people (especially young people) use social media on their phones, this is less than ideal and likely frustrating.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Easy options for media creation entertain students and get them wanting to use the tool over and over again.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

There are lots of media literacy learning possibilities if teachers design lessons thoughtfully and monitor what students create and share. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The design is clean, and students can zoom the browser to magnify it well. There are several tutorials, but the site needs more contextual help. Some extra accessibility features, like more languages, would also be useful.  


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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