Common Sense Review
Updated July 2016


Interactive video tours, especially in Presenter mode, boost engagement
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Zaption Gallery allows teachers to sift through premade tours.
  • An example tour walks students through a video.
  • Users can edit tours and add questions, discussions, photos, text, and drawings.
  • Detailed information and analytics can be downloaded as a CSV spreadsheet.
  • Settings for tours can prevent students from skipping through content.
  • The Zaption teacher dashboard is uncluttered and easy to use.
The clean, simple design and the customizable assessment features help teachers see what students are learning.
Although passive viewing can be activated with questions, further discussion may be needed to foster deep thinking.
Bottom Line
Used creatively, Zaption provides solid opportunities for formative assessment, but the tool could do more with teacher-feedback features.
Stephanie Trautman
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The slick interface makes for far more engaging viewing than a standard video. The variety of question types helps prevent tiresome repetition, and Presenter mode has great potential for student engagement.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Though this active approach to watching videos may capture attention, the lessons don't provide feedback unless the tool is used in Presenter mode, and there's no guarantee that kids will think critically about what they watch.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

There's great support for creation, including excellent tutorials. A teacher dashboard helps tracks students' work. Social media sites offer timely tips.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Use Zaption as you're starting a new unit: It can be an effective way to get kids thinking about what's to come. The questions can be used to assess students' existing knowledge or to spark a class discussion. For outside-of-class learning, use a Zaption video tour as a review tool. Create a screencast or video of yourself teaching a concept, and give students review or check-in questions along the way. You can even embed parts of other videos from YouTube or Vimeo in the learning tour. Students could review the tour as homework or study from the video for an upcoming test or quiz. Teachers could also use Zaption to edit confusing video content to make it more accessible and understandable for students. Engage students with Zaption Presenter and project Zaption lessons at the front of the classroom, having students respond on their own devices as they watch together. Turn on responses and you can see participation projected in real time on the screen in the classroom.

A Zaption video tour could also be helpful as a formative assessment tool to see whether students have grasped a concept before moving on. Tours could be structured as an exit ticket or baked into the middle of a longer lesson. Since Zaption provides analytics, teachers have quick access to data on who "gets it" and who still needs help. The analytics page gives a summary of activity, statistics from each user, and responses to each question.

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What's It Like?

Editor's note: Zaption has joined Workday and will shut down on September 30, 2016. If you're looking for a replacement for Zaption or interested in similar tools, check our post 3 Great Alternatives to Zaption

Zaption is a web-based tool that allows teachers to create video "tours" for their students. These tours can be created using Zaption's extensive gallery of videos from around the web (from YouTube, Vimeo, National Geographic, and PBS, among others site) or by uploading your own. With the tool, teachers can use entire videos or trim selections from a video; they'll then be able to embed text or questions in the video with a simple drag-and-drop process. Assessment options include multiple choice, open response, numerical response, check boxes, a drawing response, and even a discussion where students can see what others in the class have written. These tours can be embedded into learning management systems.

Teachers can share their tour videos with students in a number of ways, depending on the plan they've purchased. To view the tours, students will need to log in. Both teachers and students can create new accounts or link to an existing Google account. Once a video tour is complete, teachers can view analytics on how many views the tour had and how many responses were made. To view students' individual responses, teachers can download data to a CSV spreadsheet file.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Zaption has some potential to help teachers create thoughtful learning experiences. This tool gives teachers a variety of ways to encourage students' interaction with video content, which certainly increases the potential for a meaningful learning experience. But what students absorb will vary depending on how teachers create their tours, and learning here is limited without better feedback features for students. What sets this apart from other similar products is Zaption Presenter, where teachers can engage students and see who needs some additional support in real time.

Of all the assessment tools, the discussion feature is particularly engaging and likely provides the greatest potential for meaningful feedback and learning. Students can receive feedback on whether they've answered multiple-choice questions correctly. However, there aren't opportunities for teachers to give students direct comments or advice for open-response questions. Nevertheless, Zaption's video tours can likely make for a good preassessment or formative assessment activity, where teachers can get a better picture of exactly what their students know. Zaption Presenter gives real-time feedback to teachers and students if used as a whole-class activity.

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