How To Use YouTube To Transform Your eLearning Course

Millions of people watch YouTube videos on a daily basis, which means that a high percentage of your online learners are probably already familiar with the social networking platform. So, why not use that to your advantage to put a whole newinteractive spin on your eLearning course? eLearning videos appeal to all learning needs because they include a good mix of multimedia. Therefore, your online learners who prefer visual elements in eLearning will get just as much out of the eLearning experience as online learners with auditory preferences. Here are the top 5 ways that you can use YouTube in your next eLearning course.

  1. Create tutorials that simplify complex tasks.
    YouTube is already full of tutorials and walkthroughs that cover a broad range of topics, from fixing laptops to performing spa services. These ready-made online videos can drastically reduce your eLearning budget, provided that you can find the right ones. This is due to the fact that you won’t have to pay to produce online video tutorials for your eLearning program and can simply embed them into your eLearning course or LMS. If there aren’t any task tutorials that are relevant for your online learners, then you may want to consider creating your own and uploading it to YouTube. That way your current online learners can enjoy a customized tutorial and new online learners can find out about your eLearning courses. This approach is ideal for more complicated tasks and topics because they can be broken down to their most basic components. It also offers them a visual representation of the process so that they can follow along with the online demo.
  2. Develop a list of must-see YouTube resources.
    In addition to embedding YouTube videos into your eLearning course design, you can also create a list of helpful eLearning videos that online learners can view on their own time. Just do a quick search on YouTube, using specific keywords, to find online videos that relate to the subject matter. This allows you to offer a broad range of supplemental eLearning resources without having to add them to your eLearning course design, which can help reduce cognitive overload and decrease the clutter. Organize the list by category, task, skill, or department so that online learners can click on the eLearning videos they need rapidly. You may even want to encourage your online learners to seek out YouTube videos themselves and add them to the list so that their peers can benefit.
  3. Upload your live online training events.
    Many organizations now offer online training events that allow instructors and corporate learners to interact with each other. Unfortunately, busy schedules, distractions, and different time zones can prevent employees from attending the live online training session. This is when YouTube serves as a valuable tool. Record the live event and then upload it to a video-sharing platform. You can even use a video-editing tool to add effects, captions, or remove clips that are no longer relevant. Make sure that you get approval from all of your attendees if their comments and responses, text, audio, or video, will be included in the finished product. You may also decide to read all of the questions and comments aloud when recording your presentation, as you may not be able to include the text responses.
  4. Produce mobile-friendly eLearning videos.
    One of the most significant benefits of using YouTube in eLearning is that it has its own mobile app. Therefore, you can upload a video to YouTube to make it instantly mobile-friendly. This can be a great alternative if you’re not already using a responsive design tool, as the online video can be viewed on smartphones, tablets, and wearable tech gadgets. YouTube also has built-in playback and volume controls, which means that your online learners can access the eLearning content in public spaces. For example, they have the ability to mute the volume if they are in a quiet office so as not to disturb their coworkers. In addition, the YouTube platform creates captions for your videos, making it ideal for disabled online learners or those who may not be able to listen to the presentation. Be sure to review the video once it’s uploaded to verify that the captions are on-point, however. You may have to add your own captions if the auto-generator produces error-ridden text.
  5. Encourage online learners to design their own YouTube presentations.
    Instead of offering your online learners a variety of video tutorials, online presentations, and product demos, why not asking them to create their own training materials? Encourage your online learners to design their own YouTube videos from start to finish. This includes storyboarding, image selection, audio recording, and editing. They will need to have a good understanding of the subject matter in order to produce the eLearning video, thanks to the fact that they’ll have to summarize the eLearning content and include the key takeaways. Once they’re finished, they can share it with their peers, who can then provide feedback and deepen their own understanding of the topic. Develop a set of guidelines beforehand to ensure that everyone knows the expectations and process that that they should follow.

YouTube is also ideal for microlearning online training courses, as employees have the opportunity to access bite-sized bits of information on-the-job. For this very reason, an increasing number of organizations are now turning to this video-sharing site for their Learning and Development needs. Why not try using some of the tips and techniques in this article to use YouTube in your next eLearning program?

Video sharing has become extremely popular in recent years, which has led to the rise of eLearning video productions. Read the article 7 Tips To Create Hollywood-Worthy eLearning Videos to discover that anyone can design Hollywood style video content for their eLearning course with the correct tools, a bit of know-how, and some top tips on-hand.


5 Ways YouTube Can Transform Your eLearning Course


How To: Create an Interactive E-Book with Google Slides

Mr. Kamrowski

Working in a one-to-one school district, where every student is provided with a device such as an iPad or Chromebook, can be a great opportunity of freedom for teachers and students.  The device serves as an efficient tool to create and curate information, as well as, a flexible environment to share content.  No longer does an individual need to negotiate with textbook publishers and be locked into the confines of the perception of the authors of a company when it comes to the content and methods that should be used to teach a specific skill or understanding.  The digital world allows for educators to create e-books, or electronic versions of a book that may contain interactive elements, that can be produced, shared, and modified quickly and with little expense to a school district.

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Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need


Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need

Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them, and help them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.

Since implementing flexible classrooms, Albemarle County Public Schools have noticed that:

  • Their students’ grades have improved.
  • Their students seem happier and more engaged.
  • Their students are participating more and having more invigorating conversations.

How It’s Done

Giving Students a Choice in How They Learn

«From day one, I’ve said, ‘You may sit anywhere you like as long as you’re safe in our classroom,'» says Katie Collins, a Woodbrook Elementary School second grade teacher.

Becky Fisher, the director of educational technology at Albemarle County Public Schools, is interested in learning about the thinking that drives student choice. «What we’re really striving for are those choices that have a lot of thought behind them. We want kids to really be strategic about where they go,» Fisher says.

She painted the picture of walking into a classroom and seeing kids:

  • Lying on the floor
  • Sitting at low tables on their knees
  • Standing up

When Fisher walks into a classroom, she asks the students the reasoning behind why they choose their particular learning space.

«Why are you standing right now?» she asks one TK student.

«Well,» says the student, «we’re using math manipulatives, and I move better when I’m standing up than when I’m sitting down.»

Fisher once heard a kindergarten student articulate that she was a belly reader. She loved reading on the floor while lying on her belly, her class was reading, and that’s why she was sprawled out on the floor. «That’s awesome that, at five or six years old, you know your preferences,» Fisher says. And that’s critical to their work.

Justin, a seventh grade student from Sutherland Middle School, was also able to articulate his preferred learning environment. He chooses a table and chair, unlike the couch that many of his fellow students choose. «When I get down into a couch and am more comfortable, it’s almost like it’s a bit distracting. It’s not exactly the environment I want to be working in, but for the other people, clearly they have their optimum working environments,» Justin says.

Krishan, also in seventh grade at Sutherland, likes that his teacher gives him a choice in how he works. «Since she lets us choose, we ultimately choose what’s best for us. We work better together and individually,» Krishan says.

The First Step

According to Lisa Molinaro, the principal of Woodbrook Elementary School, the first thing that needs to happen for Albemarle teachers to successfully create a flexible classroom is:

  • The teacher must have a vision for his or her room.
  • The teacher must be willing to say, «I’m going to throw out some of this stuff. I don’t need this traditional schooling equipment.»

Design a Collaborative Learning Space

«We’re really looking at how we support kids working collaboratively,» Fisher says. «And we can’t do it if we’re isolated in rows and every kid is an island.»

She believes that Albemarle classrooms work well with these design elements:

  • They have at least three kinds of classroom seating.
  • They use flexible bookshelves.
  • Instead of individual workspaces, they use large round or rectangular tables, or put four desks together to form a more collaborative space.

«You’ll see flexible bookshelves that can be moved so that the room can be totally opened up — or little nooks and crannies can be created — so that everybody can see everybody, and we can participate as a community,» Fisher says.

Create a Variety of Seating Options

«My kids love to be under things, behind things, around things,» says Collins about her second grade classroom. «We have five-gallon buckets in my room that we sit on. We sit on crate seating that I made in my backyard out of a crate and some plywood and some foam. And I also just threw a lot of pillows on the floor.»

For classroom seating, Collins also uses:

  • Couches
  • Chairs
  • Bunk beds
  • Canoes

Fund Your Flexible Classroom: The DIY Approach

Teachers at Albemarle use these low- to no-cost strategies to furnish their classrooms:

  1. Seasonal purchase: Teachers purchase furniture from college students the week that they leave campus after graduation or for the summer. This is the time when students often want to get rid of most of their belongings, and they will give them away or sell them at a cheap price.


  1. Parent donations: Teachers ask parents for furniture. Cheryl Harris, a seventh grade language arts teacher at Sutherland, asks her parents to donate furniture at the beginning of the year. She started to build her collection by saying, «If any of you have a couch or a chair that you have just sitting around, the kids would like to read on it, and it could be a reading corner.» The flow of donations grew and grew from there because parents wanted to contribute to their kids’ learning environment.


  1. Previously used: Teachers purchase items in good condition from a Salvation Army or Goodwill. Second-hand shops in upscale neighborhoods or college towns will usually house quality finds.


  1. Crowdsourcing: Teachers set up a crowdfunding campaign, like DonorsChoose, Classwish, or GoFundMe, and have their students send their online campaign to family, friends, and parents to raise money for classroom furniture.

Fund Your Flexible Classroom: The District Approach

Over the past ten years, Albermarle district leadership has been very intentional in changing the physical nature of classrooms. Although not every classroom in its 26 schools has gotten a makeover, when the district budgets for a furniture-replacement cycle, there are some core pieces to redesigning a classroom. Before picking those core pieces, teachers need a vision for redesigning a classroom, and they should be willing to get rid of the traditional school furniture for more innovative pieces.

When comparing quotes for traditional and more innovative furniture, Fisher was delighted to learn that the cost is almost the same. «You pay roughly the same amount, and our durability has been good. There has been no reason to not go in that direction,» she says.

When Albemarle «does» a room, you’ll see:

  • Flexible seating: Albemarle provides at least three different choices of seating for students — so you might see a stool, a beanbag, or chairs that look more traditional but allow kids to rock without tipping over.


  • Teacher stations, not teacher corners: Instead of a teacher corner taking up 25 percent of the classroom, teachers have workspaces similar to students’ workspaces. The amount of real estate teachers now use is minimal, giving more space in the classroom for creating student corners, or the ability to move furniture around.


  • Flexible tables: Many tables have wheels on them, making it easy to reconfigure a room. Albemarle also chooses big tables, round or rectangular, to support collaborative work. Tables can be written on, as well as flipped up, converting them into whiteboards. They also come in different heights — some are standing desks, others are more traditional heights, and some are low to the ground.

Evolving the classroom space to meet students’ individual needs impacts how they learn, how they interact, and the entire classroom experience. Moran has noticed that when a learning space evolves, students’ work improves immensely, their grades improve, and “just the conversations they have with each other are so invigorating to hear,” Moran says.

5 Apps for Making Movies on Mobile Devices

Every year at Hollywood award shows, we see fantastic movies celebrated for their rich storytelling and dynamic performances. Your students can become moviemakers, too, thanks to some powerful apps for mobile devices. With these tools, your children can take videos and edit their work to make professional quality movies using iOS devices (iPads and iPhones) and Android tablets.

One good thing about this easy-to-use technology is that students can still use important English language arts skills like writing a narrative, planning a sequential story, and including key details when getting ready to make a movie. These apps can enhance the work that you are doing with children in the classroom and give them room to be creative storytellers.

iMotion HD (iOS: Free, Upgrade Available)

Your students can create a time-lapse or stop-motion film using this video app. iMotion HD lets kids make a movie by combining still photos. They can set this app to take photographs at timed intervals to show elapsed time (like a plant growing or a sunset) or for stop-motion film (using action figures or puppets). With the full version of the app, users can add music and get access to extra export features like uploading their movie straight to YouTube.

PicPlayPost (iOS: $1.99)

PicPlayPost is a video and editing tool that lets users combine videos and still images into a shared frame. With a tap of the screen, the videos will play simultaneously or sequentially, and the still images will be placeholders in the frame. It’s a great tool for displaying a combination of pictures as an alternative to a traditional slideshow. Kids can manipulate the style of the frame and add music from their iTunes library to play in the background.

Magisto Video Editor & Maker (Android: Free)

Magisto lets users shoot video from inside the app, edit video saved to their device and create a movie with this footage. Once students select the still images and videos that they want to include, they choose a theme and music. Then the app puts the pieces together. In order to save movies to an album, users will have to set up an account.

iMovie (iOS: $4.99)

With iMovie, students can edit video that they’ve taken with their iPhone or iPad. This powerful app lets kids create feature films and Hollywood-style trailers using the built-in themes and templates. iMovie lets them add titles, transitions and music as they apply different film techniques like slow motion and panning over still photos. Whether your students dig deep into all of the professional quality features in iMovie or simply scratch the surface, they’ll create a fantastic final product.

Andromedia Video Editor (Android: Free)

Students can edit video saved to their device with Andromedia Video Editor. This app lets them organize clips, crop video and even apply the «Ken Burns» filming technique to still images and videos. Users can add transitions to each clip, edit audio, and record a narration using the microphone on the device. After rendering their video, students can share it on multiple platforms.

Have you tried using mobile devices to make movies? How could you see yourself using these tools in the classroom?

Alternatives To Homework: A Chart For Teachers

by TeachThought Staff

Part of rethinking learning means rethinking the bits and pieces of the learning process–teaching strategies, writing pieces, etc.

Which is what makes the following chart from Kathleen Cushman’s Fires in the Mind compelling.Rather than simply a list of alternatives to homework, it instead contextualizes the need for work at home (or, “homework”). It does this by taking typical classroom situations–the introduction of new material, demonstrating a procedure, etc.), and offering alternatives to traditional homework assignments.

In fact, most of them are alternatives to homework altogether, including group brainstorming, modeling/think-alouds, or even the iconic pop-quiz. Food for thought, yes?