At times, being a teacher requires one to be inventive and resourceful. As teachers’ responsibilities slowly move away from the traditional ways, their tool box must now include clever tricks to save them time and optimize their classroom management. The role of teachers can now reach outside the classroom, in an attempt to maintain their students’ focus on task. This is where innovative and new technological tools like EDpuzzle come into play. Flipped classroom enthusiasts may see this tool as fairly useful while others see its’ limits by comparing it to more popular and complete tools. But before judging it for its’ pedagogical uses let’s explore together this video-editing tool’ functionalities.
This free cloud-based online app is very efficient for creating original material based on what is already available on the web. This tool allows the user to take videos from various sources like Youtube, KhanAcademy, LearnZillion, National Geographics, TEDEd and many more and modify the content to his needs. Modifications include cropping parts of the selected video out, add voice comments and embed questions or quizzes in the video as they are watching it. In this fashion, EDPuzzle allows teachers to make up lessons in less time by using what is already present on the web and therefore save time spent in preparation and replace it by time invested in researching content. EDPUzzle also allows teachers to monitor their students’ progress with a leader board feature that makes it easy to know who watched the video, when they watched it and how good they did on the questions. Using EDpuzzle is ridiculously easy to use, it literal comes down to three steps. First, select an online video from a bank of videos with a search engine powered by Google and add it to your teacher account then start editing it by cropping out what you feel is unnecessary and by adding your questions and voice over. Second, assign the video to your class and let the students answer the questions. Third, collect meaningful data on students’ performance and understanding and get instantaneous feedback to adapt your in-class activities. This makes EDPuzzle a complete pedagogical tool, in the sense that it is a stand-alone tool that requires no prior technical video-editing skills nor does it require any complicated management. Just like the video creation process, consulting these videos can be done with the same ease and knowing whether students did their homework or not can be seen with a quick look. Students’ progress can be reviewed and monitored at an individual level as well as at a global level and their struggles identified in a matter of seconds with the leader board feature shown below.
Another practical functionality of EDPuzzle is that it is fully compatible with Google Chrome browser’s app toolbars. What that means is that it enables you to select online videos at any given time and save them for later reference. You can download the app at Chrome’s Web Store for free and with the ease of a simple click, start uploading chosen videos to your teacher account on EDPuzzle.com.
People from the Edudemic staff describe fairly well how this tool is simple and easy to use both by teachers and students alike. Yet, they mention how EDPuzzle is not nearly as complete a tool as »a MOOC platform or LMS » by criticizing how the app does not allow you to use many »chunks » of videos in one single assignment. In their opinion, this makes EDPuzzle very limited because there can be only one video by assignment and therefore this makes for shorter and potentially less complete assignments. The fact that the audio recordings must make out the entirety of the video and cannot be partial voice over cues placed around the video also is a considerable downside.
As mentioned earlier, there is an ongoing trend that encourages teachers to flip their classrooms; making their lessons into videos that students can watch in the comfort of their homes and spend in-class time doing exercises and filling in the gaps. Cathie G. is an middle school ELA teacher that is in favour EDPuzzle by saying that she regularly uses the tool for grammar lessons. She says that there is already a vast number of videos on grammar available on the internet, but that many are too long for her students’ attention span. Moreover, she explains that with the cropping feature allows her to chose the exact piece of video required for her short lessons. She adds that being able to dub the video with her own voice makes the videos easier to relate to for her students and that the questions feature helps keep them in check. She enjoys how quick and easy it is to look at her students’ progress and thinks that this helps her adjust the content of her in-class activities on a daily basis. She also mentions that students can be encouraged to produce their own EDPuzzles and use their video in-class for collaborative teaching; making the classroom more interactive and heightening participation.
As for myself, I could easily see the use of this tool in an ESL classroom. As a student myself, I find that in-class time should be devoted to collaborative activities that build on what is already known. In my three hours-long classes at university, I enjoy it when the teacher makes it so that half the class is a lecture and the other half knowledge building activities. But in primary and high school, teachers only have about an hour to give their classes so this leaves them with little time to do both. So I believe that flipping the classroom can come in handy, to save time but also to target students’ individual struggles and adapt the activities as well as their collaborating peers to their needs. I would use EDPuzzles for it would give me more time to focus on what’s important and less on preparing my material. This may come off as lazy, but I find that being able to recycle another’s work and tailor it to my classroom’s needs is much more efficient than having to do everything myself. I also think that the leader board feature is amazing for giving quick insight into the students’ understanding and I see it as a great self-managed direct feedback feature that, yet again, would save me time that I would have to invest by going through every student’s copy.