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Sir Arthur Lewis Community College

Fantastic Tools for Critical Viewing of Video

Engage learners as they view video.

Video is quickly becoming the most used media in our classrooms. According to the University of Queensland's Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, using video in instruction can:

  • Facilitate thinking and problem solving
  • Asssist with mastery learning
  • Inspire and engage students
  • And provide authentic learning opportunities

Video also allows students to take in content at their own pace. They can pause, reflect, rewind and playback video to ensure that they truly understand concepts. Lifelearn identifies improved comprehension and increased retention as two critical benefits of using video.

Given these benefits we need to seriously consider how we can make effective use of this medium in our practice. There are two well known models for using video in instruction. The first and more traditional modality is whole class viewing, where the class views projected video. In this modality the teacher pauses the video to assess students' comprehension of the content or to get them to reflect on what they're viewing. The second is the flipped classroom modality, where students view the video before or after class to either introduce new content or to reinforce what was taught.

Either modality should require students to think critically about what they view. This requires both active and reactive viewing. Active viewing means that students engage in key processes such as analysing, identifying, comparing, contrasting and reflecting on both content and the way it is presented. This is opposite to passive viewing where students are being “exposed” to content but are not engaged at any critical level. Reactive viewing means that students are engaged in meaningful dialogue about what they are viewing and are likely to develop responses based on that type of interaction. 

Commonsense Media explains this concept thoroughly:

Here are my favourite video viewing tools online. You can create free accounts. Click and check them out!


Vialogues is a community of learners using video to ignite discussion. Get started by exploring our collection of thought-provoking video discussions or host your own and invite others to join you.  Vialogues is a platform that provides an easy and safe way to create discussions around online videos. Teachers can initiate engaging converstaions among students about what is viewed. They can also pose essential questions at critical points in the video to encourage students to think critically.


EDpuzzle: Take already existing videos from Youtube, Khan Academy, Crash Course, etc. or upload your own. Enable self-paced learning with interactive lessons, add your voice and questions along the video. Instead of starting a video with an essential question, add them throughout a video using EDPuzzle's audio track or comment features. Link to your Google groups and classrooms.  Know if your students are watching your videos, how many times and see the answers they give.


MediaBreaker is a video editor which enables you to remix – or break – a variety of media, such as commercials, news clips, music videos and more. Give students an authentic reason to watch and understand videos by having them remix a video using MediaBreaker.


Playposit is a simple tool adds interactivity and formative assessment to videos. You can assess students while they view videos to ensure their comprehension of video content.

Finally, here are a few very important video viewing tips!

Videos are an integral component of today’s educational landscape—from kindergarten all the way through higher education. Videos are great for presenting visual information and emotional appeals. To help increase the educational effectiveness of an online course video, consider applying one or more of the following active learning strategies:
  1. Video as guided lesson. The goal here is to help ensure that students watch videos actively—in other words, giving it their full attention.
  2. Pose a question at the beginning of each video to give students an idea before they watch of what to expect, what to look for, and what might be worth thinking about.
  3. Set expectations. Use descriptive titles and links to give students an idea of what they will be viewing.
  4. Encourage video viewing (and reviewing). Encourage students to pause and replay sections of video when necessary in order to enhance comprehension.
  5. Embed short graded or self-assessments either in the video itself, or at the end of each video.

Morne Fortune
St. Lucia


Tel: (758) 4577300