Quick and Easy Video Creation Tools for Making Tutorials

As a practicing school librarian, I had a TV studio that I ran with the students at two of my schools. One of my schools had an AV club that I enjoyed working with. I started creating videos and posting them online out of necessity. My principal enjoyed challenging me with various projects that she had not seen in the school district. One day, she asked me to create a series of tutorial videos for the school morning show to support research concepts that students needed to learn. I looked at the test data and consulted with the reading coach and principal to identify gaps and began creating videos. Eventually, I placed these videos online to give the students 24-hour access.

At first, creating videos was hard for me because I wanted them to be professional. I was trying to make the videos before AASL created the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning list and I struggled to find information to help me. YouTube was also relatively new. Now video creation is second nature. I create videos at least once a month to share online. Most of my video content consists of tutorials and presentations that I create for students. Sometimes I create videos to support conference appearances.

Eventually, I gravitated towards letting students present the tutorials. I did this because I learned that some of the students were charismatic and the other students loved to watch them. My goal was to encourage the students to watch the videos and learn. If they wanted to see another student teach, then I was willing to record them. In addition, having students create videos with my assistance taught them the research and presentation skills in the standards. It was also less preparation for me. The students wrote the scripts based on what they planned to teach. In the end, I started to include trivia questions from the videos in the morning news shows for prizes.

Today, I don’t bother with a fancy studio to create and share videos. Here are some of the ways that I create and post videos. These are straightforward videos… nothing fancy, no animation. (If I want to be fancy, I use other tools for special occasions.) Most of the time, I keep it simple and limit the tools because I need to work fast.

Screencast-O-Matic: This website will allow you to document anything on your screen. I use Screencast-O-Matic when I need to illustrate steps. The free version provides 15 minutes of recording with a watermark.

  • Tip: If you are serious about making videos, you might consider paying for the premium version. It is inexpensive. The features are priceless. For example, the premium features will allow you to record just the computer audio with a PC. You can also edit videos and make longer recordings.

PowerPoint: When I want to make a quick video of my presentations, I use PowerPoint. I don’t use this option to show in-depth steps.

  • Tip: The video can be shared using Office 365. Any teacher or student can get Office 365 Education for free by signing up with their school email address.

YouTube Live Streaming: I like this option because, after set up, it is a matter of clicking on a button to record. You can capture yourself talking to other people and show your faces and screens. Use this Google support site to get started: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2474026?hl=en.

  • Tip: Live-streaming video goes directly to the user’s YouTube channel and is public. Change the settings after uploading the video.

iMovie: This is for IOS operating systems. I like the way my videos look professional when I finish. The only problem is that I spend too much time playing around with it.

  • Tip: If you don’t have a MAC, iMovie is also available for the iPhone and iPad. Windows had a similar program called Windows Movie Maker. Shotcut (https://shotcut.org/) is an alternative to Windows Movie Maker. As always, use due diligence before downloading programs to your computer. Moreover, Microsoft has updated Microsoft Photo to create videos.


Posting Videos

There are a variety of places to post videos. These are the ones that I use the most because they are convenient.

YouTube: Unverified accounts are limited to 15 minutes. Verify your account to upload longer videos. You have options for how your videos are listed. If you choose private, no one will see the video until you are ready to release it. Everyone can see a video that is public. An unlisted video will only be visible to people that have the link.

Vimeo: I like this option because you can password protect your videos for free.

Teacher Tube. Teacher Tube is a website to share educational videos. People that frequently use the website have the option to pay to remove ads.

Google Drive: A lot of people skip over their Google Drive for sharing videos. However, the drive does not have the same length limitations as YouTube.

Dropbox: I typically do not use this option. However, it is free as well.


In conclusion, next month I will continue this discussion with some tips for creating quality videos. In the meantime, if you are concerned about the ads that might show on various video sharing repositories, you can use Safeshare.tv. It is designed to let viewers watch videos online without ads or a distracting interface. Safeshare.tv is helpful if you are concerned about your students watching inappropriate ads. Finally, it is possible to create a channel with YouTube. Recently, I noticed another service called Viloud, which has a free option for creating a channel. I plan to try it soon. That is all for now. Don’t forget to look at the professional development soon.

April 2018 Professional Development

Organization Date & Time Professional Development Title

Early Childhood Investigations


April 19, 2018, 2:00 pm EST

From Play to Practice: Connecting Teachers Play with Children’s Learning


edWeb.net April 5, 2018 3:00-4:00 pm EST Simple STEAM: Preparing Young Children for the Careers of the Future
April 11, 2018 3:00-4:00 pm EST College and Career Ready! Motivate and Empower Struggling Readers in High School
April 17, 2018, 4:00-5:00 pm EST Three Questions Every Teacher Should Ask About Edtech
April 17, 2018, 4:00-5:00 pm EST Amplifying Student Voice with Technology
April 25, 2018 5:00-6:00 pm EST SAMR, TPACK & More: Transforming Learning with Digital Content
Learning Forward April 10, 2018, 4:00 pm EST Webinar: Taking the Lead – Roles for Teachers and Teacher Leaders
School Library Journal April 4, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST Librarians’ Insights on How to Integrate Technology into Makerspaces
SimpleK12 April 7, 2018, 10:00-10:30 am EST Virtual Explorations and Field Trips with Google Tools
April 7, 2018, 12:00-12:30 pm EST Using Google Docs and More for Differentiated, Collaborative Reading & Writing
April 12, 2018, 4:00-4:30 pm EST Providing Digital Equity and Bridging the Homework Gap
April 25, 2018, 2:00-2:30 pm EST Creative Ways to Use a Digital Reading Platform for Personalized PD



Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development, STEM/STEAM, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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