explainer videos 101.

In a world of Common-Assessment-This and District-Determined-Measures-That, it’s more important than ever to allow our students to show their learning in  non-standardized ways as well.

Enter: the Explainer Video.

An Explainer Video is a real-world digital tool that can be found on virtually every website. Between the fast-forward button on our DVRs and the ad blockers on our devices, commercials are growing increasingly extinct.  As a result, companies now squeeze what they want us to know into these tiny, bite-size videos.

And my students just did the same thing.

As a way to wrap up our unit, students were asked to answer our Essential Question in the form of a script (so that I could trace the development of their writing, which is our district’s goal). Once the writing process was complete, they integrated their scripts with a student-created video that demonstrated their learning. (We first viewed some examples of Explainer Videos and then created a list of ingredients–which I used to create a rubric for the assessment.)

Students were allowed to frolic in the Digital Sandbox to find a platform that worked for them. They played with iMovie and YouTube‘s built-in editor, as well as some new-to-them tools, such as Adobe Spark, Powtoon, My Simple Show, and the Chrome extension Screencastify (which, when used in tandem with Google Slides or Prezi, is the easiest platform)

They were given class time to work on their Explainer Videos, which always turned into students providing built-in tech support for each other. Seeing this impromptu, 21st-century collaboration warms the soul!

So that the finished products could be viewed by all students–regardless of their devices, students published their finished products to YouTube and shared these links in our Google Classroom. (The more camera-shy students made their YouTube videos UNLISTED, which makes them virtually invisible online without the direct link.) We viewed the finished products for homework, voted for our favorites using a Google Form, and then watched the winning videos in class.

And it. Was. Awesome.

Here are some of the amazing, finished products!

Carter’s Explainer Video

Harini’s Explainer Video

Rachel’s Explainer Video

Eric’s Explainer Video

Jocelyn’s Explainer Video

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