I’d love to use more games in my classes but haven’t found any that have anything to do with our lesson material. One company is trying to change that. Legends of Learning has created several games that are available to play for free and hundreds more for which your “first $300 are free,” and support state and national education standards (for K-12, but that’s great for a college review, in my book!) I’m encouraged to hear about the development of games to support education and see some interesting titles, especially in the “Life Sciences” category, although I’m not very clear how far my 3000 credits will go. How about you — are you using games in the classroom?
An article in the Chronicle for Higher Education Review discusses the Janus-faced nature of social media. On the one hand, students “curate” their accounts, maintaining a pristine appearance to the world since they know the information will be used by anybody who can get to it to influence decisions about their future. On the other hand, students “let off steam” in anonymous forums and accounts with “temporary” posts like Snapchat and Instagram. Is the dichotomy contributing to student stress and anxiety? Should educational institutions do more to help students understand, analyze and navigate these treacherous waters?
This past year I’ve been part of a group from Library Services creating a pilot project that will create tutorials for faculty to embed in their Talon courses. After the first round of faculty and student testing of our first module (on Plagiarism), we heard from our pilot-ers, “We like the content, but can you make it more interactive?” This created the perfect opportunity to jump into my new role as a tech scout and investigate the possibilities. I thought, there just has to be a good tool out there that won’t take hours to learn, will interact nicely with existing video content on YouTube, and also embed into Talon/D2L.
I read lots of reviews, and tried out a few different options. Office Mix, a free PowerPoint add-in, was one promising program that I ended up not really getting to try out because I ran into technical issues loading it onto my office computer. Since then tech scout Kristie Murdoch has reviewed here on the blog! I also tried out EdPuzzle, and although it looks like an interesting tool, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
PlayPosit is the tool I decided to give a full trial. Basically, I wanted a way to take an existing video and embed within it questions or activities to engage the students watching the video in paying active attention to the content, and also processing the content rather than just passively taking it in.
PlayPosit is completely web-based, and has a nice simple interface. Once you log in you can immediately start creating interactive content based on an existing video. For my needs, I had videos I had already created and uploaded to YouTube, so I was ready to roll. I simply pasted in the URL of my video, and it showed up in the PlayPosit editing screen.
From here I began adding questions, placing them at the exact place in the video where I wanted students to pause and reflect, or check
their understanding of the previous content. When students are watch my saved video, it will automatically pause at these points, and won’t continue until they have answered the question.
PlayPosit also has copyright agreements with YouTube and Vimeo that allow PlayPosit users to pull videos from these platforms, crop content if desired, and add interactive question elements. For more information see PlayPosit’s copyright FAQ. Once your PlayPosit interactive video is saved, you will have a couple different options for how to share it, through a link open to all, or through a link just for your students who have their own PlayPosit account (if you want to save their answers for grading).
I found PlayPosit to be very easy to use, with just very basic features, but those features being the ones I was looking for! This is perfect for those videos that you find on YouTube and would like to share with students, except that you only want certain chunks of it and don’t want to get permission from the owner, make a copy, do your edits, and reshare somewhere else. PlayPosit streamlines this and adds in the question features too. This is a great tool, and I highly recommend. (By the way, I tested the free version. The paid version has more question features.)
Give it a try, and let us all know what you think!