So here’s a simple question: What active steps do you take when students in your classroom struggle to master a concept that you think is essential for them to master?
And just as importantly, what active steps do you take when students in your classroom have mastered a concept before you even begin a cycle of instruction?
The philosophical answer to that question is probably on the tip of every teacher’s tongue: “When a student struggles to master a concept — or has mastered a concept before instruction even begins — we provide opportunities for reteaching and extension.
Sounds great, right?
Sure — but if we are being COMPLETELY honest, reteaching and extension can also feel COMPLETELY overwhelming to most classroom teachers.
Here’s why: We are responsible for teaching dozens and dozens of concepts and skills to an incredibly diverse group of students over the course of a school year. That makes it difficult to predict which kids are going to need reteaching or extension on which concepts at any given time. Trying to provide remediation or extension for ALL of those concepts and to ALL of those students can feel impossible.
That’s why I’m in love with Edpuzzle — a digital tool that allows teachers to pair interesting video content drawn from popular sources with questions and annotations.
Here’s an Edpuzzle video that I’m using with my students:
To make this video, I started by pointing Edpuzzle to a video posted on YouTube that I already use to teach students about atomic structure. Then, I added several annotations to the existing video.
Those annotations appear as green question marks in the timeline of the video. Some annotations are simple text boxes where I remind students of important concepts that we have covered in class. Other annotations are actual review questions that I can use to check concept mastery. If the questions are multiple choice, Edpuzzle grades them automatically for me. If the questions are open-ended, Edpuzzle allows me to score them on the back end — where I can also see more detailed viewing statistics.
The entire video took me about fifteen minutes to make from beginning to end — and now that it is made, I’ll be able to use it with students again and again. That’s fifteen minutes well spent!
In my classroom, Edpuzzle videos play two important roles. I use them for initial reteaching of concepts and to provide extension opportunities for students who master content before their classmates.
If a student struggles with a concept in my classroom — something that I can tell through observations or more formal assessments — I begin my reteaching efforts by asking them to complete an Edpuzzle video about that particular topic.
I call that “initial reteaching (and retesting) without the teacher” — and it’s a beautiful thing.
Here’s why: If students can get some initial reteaching and retesting without needing my support, that frees me up to work with kids who have deeper conceptual misunderstandings. Those kids really do need ME.
But that’s not EVERY student who struggles with initial mastery. Some students just need to hear the concept a second time or see it delivered in a different way by a different “instructor”.
Those are the students I’m hoping to reach with Edpuzzle — and it works. Typically, if I have eight students struggling with a concept, at LEAST five demonstrate mastery after working with an Edpuzzle video. That makes consistent reteaching feel far more doable to me because I’m working with smaller groups of students.
I’m also using Edpuzzle videos as an extension activity.
Here’s how: If a student aces a pretest and shows me that they already know a concept that I’m about to teach, I ask them to CREATE an Edpuzzle video about the concept that I can use with their classmates.
The students begin that process by filling out this Google Doc. It is essentially a planning document — asking students to think about the quality of the video that they are choosing and the locations in that video where it would be appropriate to insert annotations.
Once students have shared that completed Google Doc with me, I review it — and if it looks solid, I log kids into my Edpuzzle account and let them create a video.
There’s a ton of reasons why this task is the perfect extension activity.
Perhaps most importantly, it gives kids chances to think critically about the content a second time. Evaluating the ideas shared in the videos that they are considering is a higher order thinking skill. What’s more, students often stumble across videos that go beyond our required curriculum while brainstorming for their Edpuzzle activity. That broadens their understanding of the concepts that we are studying.
It’s also a motivating task that my students enjoy AND it leads to the development of an additional resource that I can use moving forward.
Interested yet? Then give one of Edpuzzle’s three plans a look.
Here’s a quick summary of how they work:
Free Account: Anyone can sign up on Edpuzzle.com. When they sign up, they will receive a video limit of 20 videos to store in their “My Content” channel. They can earn more storage space for videos in this free account by referring colleagues to Edpuzzle. Once their colleague uses their unique referral link (here’s mine) to register and verify their account, both parties will receive an extra three videos for their “My Content” channel.
Pro-Teacher: This is for teachers who might be the only one or one of a few using at their school. This is a single license for unlimited storage (just for that account). It is $6.50/month via credit card.
Pro-School: This is for a school that has a good amount of teachers who are actively using Edpuzzle and want unlimited storage. Edpuzzle bases their price for Pro-School — typically ranging from $650 to $1,100 — on number of teachers at the school.
The Pro-School option also comes with a School Success Manager who is your dedicated Edpuzzle person. They will help get the school started, be there for questions and help, and prepare data reports to show if Edpuzzle was a good investment for your teachers that year.
You might also be interested in this series of short Edpuzzle setup tutorials that I made to help a group of teachers that I recently introduced Edpuzzle to.
Long story short, I dig Edpuzzle.
It’s a tool that makes it easier for me to consistently meet the unique learning needs of every learner — and that’s the kind of practice that can make a real difference in my classroom.
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