Video projects: Making them practical and fun


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About the presenter:

Matt Miller has taught for more than a decade, integrating technology to engage students and create unique learning experiences. He created the Ditch That Textbook blog, is a Google Certified Teacher and co-hosts a podcast on the BAM Radio Network.

dtt front coverMatt’s book, Ditch That Textbook, was recently published. It’s all about upgrading your classroom with powerful technology and innovative mindsets to meet students in the 21st-century world where they live.

Buy a copy of Ditch That Textbook on Amazon, or don’t wait — get a copy from Matt for $20, cheaper than the Amazon price. He’ll sign it and throw in a Ditch That Textbook laptop sticker for free!

Matt travels around Indiana and the United States to present at schools, workshops, conferences or any other professional development event. Ask him about it in person or email him at


101 Practical Ways to Ditch That Textbook: Get Matt’s free ebook with lots of great ideas (including two FULL pages of Google stuff!). Sign up for his e-mail updates in the right sidebar of this page.

Level 1: Simple camera videos

— Create a personal narrative — They can be about students themselves or a character or historical person. Record video clips from many different facets of the subject’s life. Add a voiceover to tell the story and music to set the mood.

— Tell a story — We’re naturally intrigued by stories. They draw us in and take us to a place and time where we never were. If students use concepts from class and connect them to stories, the result could have a huge impact.

— Dream — Taking classroom learning and putting a “What if?” spin on it is higher-level thinking. Let students speculate what would happen if something in history happened differently or a character in a story made a different decision. Video is a great medium to play those ideas out.

Recording and uploading simple videos

YouTube app (iPad/iPhone link) (Android link): Record a video on your phone or tablet and upload it directly to YouTube.

Google Drive: Record on a mobile device (or a Chromebook or a computer/laptop) and upload to Google Drive.

Screencastify ( Record with the webcam (click the “Cam” tab) and it will save to your Google Drive or locally to your computer.

Record with WeVideo:

— Upload your own video clips and record your own audio.
— Use the webcam on your device to record a video easily.
— Free WeVideo student accounts: Let you export 7 1/2 minutes of video per month AND students can log in with their Google accounts!

Timeline mode (more advanced)

Timeline mode (more advanced)

Storyboard mode (more simple)

Storyboard mode (more simple)


Level 2: Online video tools

— PowToon (

Flipgrid: Ask a question and have students respond via video clips. Students can watch each other’s videos (free version) or reply to each other’s videos with a video comment (paid version).

Gone Google Story Builder: Create your own visual Docs quickly and easily. Create characters, write their words for them, choose some music, and this tools creates a fun, engaging video with your content.

Adobe Spark: Create videos from video clips, images and more. Record your voice and/or add music. (Part of the awesome Adobe Spark suite of tools!)

My Simple Show: Create explainer videos with images and your voice in minutes. It walks you through the process and creates a storyboard that you can fine-tune. Then you can publish your video to YouTube.

Google Hangouts on Air: Broadcast video to the audience you choose. Then, when the broadcast is over, YouTube automatically saves the video to your YouTube channel.

— Green screen videos: Replace the background of your video with a custom image or video. Creating a green screen background can be as simple as using a green tablecloth from the department store. Some green screen apps:

  • Green Screen by Do Ink ($2.99, iTunes … have heard great things about this one)
  • Veescope Live Green Screen (FREE, iTunes … haven’t tried this one personally)

Level 3: Screencast videos


— Snagit (software download, education price: $29.99): Has the same basic functionality as the Google Chrome version but many more features (add callouts, stamps, highlighting, blurring, crop, custom cutouts, share to lots of apps/sites, etc.)

— Screencastify (free Google Chrome extension): Screencastify makes screencasting simple. Record and upload to Google Drive or YouTube. Also captures your webcam!

— Educreations Interactive Whiteboard (free iPad app): Record from a virtual whiteboard on your iPad. Draw, write and annotate on images. Record your voice. Share with students (or students share with the teacher!).


— Basic slides presentation (flipped instruction)

>>>> A student-created screencast using Snagit for Chrome!

— 450-slide presentation

— Other options for stop motion:

  • Stop Motion Studio (Free, iTunes)
  • LEGO Movie Maker (Free, iTunes)

— Google Earth/Maps tour (Google Maps link) — If students visit a place — on a field trip, on vacation or any time — they can share their learning experience with others by recording video of it and narrating as they go. (If they’re at a museum or other such place, asking permission first is probably a good idea!) If they can’t visit it, creating a video slide show with Animoto or in a screencast would work, too. Take it to the next level by screencasting a trip through a city or important landmarks in Google Earth or Google Maps!

Level 4: A REALLY awesome video project

Create a whiteboard animation — Set up something with a camera so it won’t move (on a tripod or otherwise). Aim it at a whiteboard or chalkboard. Record and start drawing. Use video editing tools to speed it up to four times its normal speed and add a voiceover (and music?). Here’s a great blog post with the basics on how to create these videos. Below is a whiteboard animation I created to illustrate a conference session I presented (my cropping was not the best!).

Speed up your video in iMovie

BONUS LEVEL: 10 ideas for specific subject areas:

11. Recreate a historic speech or moment in history for a social studies class.

12. Display the work and results of a science lab project from beginning to end, from hypothesis to conclusion. Add images of lab data in the project to show specifics of the results.

13. Write and record poetry or short stories that illustrate literary elements learned in an English class. Include Creative Commons or public domain music that matches the mood of the written work.

14. Bring story problems to life or record a whiteboard explanation of a math problem. Use subtitles to further explain concepts in the problem.

15. Create a conversation, explanation or skit in another language for a foreign language class.

16. Show off skills learned in a physical education lesson or impart wisdom for a healthy lifestyle for a health class.

17. Give cooking demonstrations or child development presentations for family and consumer science classes.

18. Record video presentations to take agriculture classes outside the school’s walls, giving demonstrations of live animals, crops or anything ag-related on a family farm.

19. Display the great service projects or school spirit events that extra-curricular activities are engaging in.

20. Send parent and student reminders from the guidance office and make connections from the principal’s office in regular video messages.


5 video projects every teacher should try (moovly)

10 ideas for classroom video projects (Open Thinking)

10 video projects every teacher should try (We Are Teachers)

  • […] other’s ideas including sharing a doc or doing collaborative slides, brainstorming topics and creating videos.  Ask the questions pulled together in these mini-lessons and see what they come up with. […]

  • Cathy Clayton says:

    I can’t wait to have my Spanish students do a video project! We are teaching the food unit and a we’ll record a restaurant scene en español!

  • Thanks for such use list of tool and list i always like to do the animated video production and the stick figure is my favourite one

  • Educreations Interactive Whiteboard is a great application for creating whiteboard animated video

  • Mac Bryan says:

    Thanks for such useful detail about whiteboard animation and other animations.