Learn It In 5: Instructional Videos

Last week’s Tech Tools for Teachers was about the site Learn It In 5.

Click here to read the newsletter.

Learn it in 5 is a powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today’s 21st century’s digital classroom. These step-by-step how-to videos walk teachers through Web 2.0 technology, demonstrating how to use Web 2.0 applications like blogs, social networks, podcasts, interactive videos, wikis, slidesharing and much more.”

This is an example of a Learn it in 5 video about Wordle. As you’ll see, they give a step-by-step explanation of using Wordle in the classroom in less than five minutes.

These videos could be great for your own self-paced PD or could be shown to a staff as a quick ICT PD.

There are videos on all sorts of topics such as Google Docs, Animoto, Diigo Groups, Google Reader, Wallwisher and more. Click here to check out the full list of videos.

Could these videos be useful to you or your staff?

Do  you know of any other sites like this?

Quietube: Video Without the Distractions

Quietube is a handy tool that allows you to watch videos such a those on YouTube without all the distracting or inappropriate ads and comments etc. Providing YouTube isn’t blocked at your school, this is a great tool for the classroom!

Quietube also works with videos from Vimeo, BBC iPlayer (available in UK only) and Viddler.

Using Quietube is so easy. You simply drag the button from the site to your toolbar, then when you are watching a video on a site like YouTube, you press the Quietube button on your toolbar and the video opens in a distraction free window.

You can also get a short link to your distraction free Quietube video to send to a friend.


Do you know any other tools that make watching videos in the classroom easier?

Tech Tools for Teachers #14 BTN

Each week Simon Collier and I collaborate on an email newsletter for teachers called Tech Tools for Teachers. Click here to find an archive of past newsletters and to subscribe.

This week we review the website Behind the News (BTN)



Behind the News (BTN) is a fantastic Australian site by the ABC that helps students learn about current issues and events around the world. Each Tuesday a new episode of BTN is released online comprising of about 5 different stories that are each under 5 minutes long. The stories can be watched individually on the BTN website and also screen on ABC1 television (currently Tuesdays at 10am and Wednesdays at 10.30am).

Apart from the videos, the BTN website also contains activity sheets, links, quizzes, polls etc for follow up work. After you watch an episode you can visit the Guestbook on the BTN site to leave a comment.

While BTN is promoted for students in upper primary and secondary school, I have had great success using it with my Grade Two students. I incorporate a weekly BTN session into my curriculum. There are always a range of stories, many of which are less complex and can be understood by younger students. My class has had many rich discussions and experiences based on BTN stories and it is a fantastic way for students to learn about the world in which they live!

On the Teachers Page of the BTN website you will find a list of topics which you can go to to find archived BTN stories around a particular subject. Each topic collection contains a teacher resource pack with focus questions, activities and additional links. There are currently 15 topics with archived stories ranging from Water, to Natural Disasters to Space and Astronomy. Hopefully this section will continue to expand.

Tip: go to the Teachers Page and sign up to be on the mailing list. You will receive an email each Friday telling you what stories are coming out on the following Tuesday. If you are a Twitter user you can also follow BTN on Twitter for story updates.

We like BTN because it:
• is free
• is Australian
• is not geo restricted which means the videos can be streamed outside of Australia
• is presented in “plain language”
• doesn’t require a sign-up or login
• is suitable for all year levels from Grade Two to secondary school
• covers a huge range of current affairs and news topics
• can be used as a whole class on the IWB, or individually on student notebooks or classroom computers
• can be integrated into many subject areas
• can be used as a quick ten minute activity (5 minute video and 5 minute discussion) or as part of a more lengthy session with follow up activities.

How have you used BTN in your classroom?

A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

I heard about this You Tube clip via a few different people on Twitter. The 4 minute video involves 18 classroom teachers “speaking out” on the topic of tech integration and 21st Century skills for students.

It’s a really interesting insight into what the technology in the classroom can look like in all curriculum areas and allludes to why technology integration is so important. Check it out…

Tech Tools For Teachers #4 – Zuitube

Each week Simon Collier and I collaborate on a weekly email newsletter to inform teachers of great online tools. Find out more here.


This week we review the site, Zuitube (http://video.kidzui.com/)


Zuitube is basically YouTube for kids. The site promotes itself as the “largest collection of videos for kids on the web“.

YouTube videos can be very useful in the classroom however, finding appropriate, kid-friendly videos on YouTube can be like finding a needle in a haystack! Zuitube allows you to search for specific topics or browse categories and channels.

All the videos on Zuitube have been reviewed by parents or teachers and there are currently over 60,000 videos on the site.

ZuiTube is part of KidZui, a web browser and search engine for kids that filters internet content.

We like Zuitube because it:

  • is free
  • is suitable for all year levels (NB: there seems to be more content for primary rather than secondary kids)
  • doesn’t require any login
  • there are videos that could compliment every curriculum area
  • the search function is very kid-friendly (when you type in a search word, suggestions pop up and search results also include a picture – great for non-readers)
  • is safe for kids.

The only downside of Zuitube that we can see is the fact that you have to actually go to YouTube to get the link to embed videos on blogs or websites.


To use Zuitube

  1. Go to http://video.kidzui.com/
  2. Search for the video or category you want by clicking on
  • channels,
  • tags (categories), or
  • search. zuitube

  1. You can also browse the featured pages such as “Funniest Videos”, “New TV & Cartoons”, “Movies”, “Silly Songs” or “New Music”.
  2. When you watch a video, other related videos will appear down the bottom of the screen.


Zuitube could be used…

  • as a lesson introduction in any subject area (on an IWB or projector)
  • in a music lesson or sing-a-long session (there are lots of great songs for kids)
  • to find kid-friendly videos to enhance blogs, wikis or websites
  • as a stimulus for a listening or comprehension activity (students could answer oral or written questions about a video)
  • to analyse characters, plots etc in clips from tv shows and movies
  • to add some humour to your classroom! At the end of each day you could watch a funny video with your class.

Have a go at using Zuitube with your class!  Let us know how you went using this tool in your classroom by leaving a comment.

Explanation videos

Two sites which I often use for “how to” or “explanation” videos for my Grade Two students are the How Stuff Works video centre and Howcast site.

How Stuff Works is provides “credible, unbiased, and easy-to-understand explanations of how the world actually works”. I often use short videos from this site to assist with the explanation of a concept to my students. While probably more suited for middle primary to upper high school students, I have found some good content to use with my Grade Two students.

Howcast provides the answer to any how-to question” and encourages people to submit their own how-to videos on the site. My students have loved some of the procedural videos in the “kids” category on this site such as the origami, social skills, cooking, craft and science videos.

Both of these sites need to be monitored by the teacher for inappropriate content (particularly Howcast, from my experience). I prefer to chose the videos I want my students to watch and show them on the IWB, iPod Touch or classroom computer.

Here is an example of a Howcast video that I showed as a introduction to a lesson on length. My students had to make a paper plane and measure and record how far they could fly their plane.