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The use of video media to enhance teaching and learning in chemical education can be an effective complement to traditional approaches to learning, as it can help students visualize abstract concepts and provides unlimited access to content. However, using video does come with its challenges, such as how to shift students from passive viewing of the content to a more active role, where they are engaged and constructing knowledge.

Through the use of the educational platform Edpuzzle, teachers using video in their teaching can increase student accountability and engagement while receiving data about student achievement throughout the lesson. Edpuzzle is a perfect tool to formatively assess student understanding, identify misconceptions about chemistry (which can be extensive), and drive instruction. In this article, I want to share some thoughts about the benefits of using Edpuzzle in your chemistry classroom.

Using video in the chemistry classroom

A central issue in chemistry education is the relation between the macroscopic “real world” and the molecular or submicroscopic world. An additional challenge for students is that chemistry is a very conceptual subject, comprising many abstract concepts that are difficult for students to visualize. Incorporating video in chemical education can be useful for addressing these challenges — by showing molecular animations, particulate interactions, etc. As a result, video can help students better correlate all three levels of representation: macroscopic, submicroscopic, and symbolic.1 Video can help students visualize the relationships and processes between the macroscopic and submicroscopic levels, and also build deeper connections with the subject matter.

Figure 1. Example of time-stamp and student completion information related to an Edpuzzle video.

Student engagement and accountability

One of the challenges of using video as a learning tool is making sure that students are watching the content and are actively engaged. When I assign a video to my students (either at home using a flipped learning model or in class to supplement a lesson), they watch it through the Edpuzzle platform. This allows me to hold my students accountable, because the Edpuzzle program time-stamps when students complete the video lesson, prevents them from skipping ahead on the video, and pauses the lesson when students switch tabs in their browser so that they cannot do other activities while watching the lesson (Figure 1).

Another important feature of the Edpuzzle platform has been the ability to embed multiple-choice and short-answer questions, as well as to post comments, which keep students more actively engaged because they know that they have to answer questions throughout the lesson (Figure 2). This improved accountability and engagement has increased the learning potential of students in my chemistry classes.

Formative assessment

Chemistry is a very conceptual subject, which can be complicated by not only alternative conceptions, but also by misconceptions that students can develop as they try to construct new knowledge. Embedding questions into video lessons provides an opportunity to identify alternative concepts (and misconceptions) in real time. This allows a teacher to address such misconceptions immediately, either through a comment to the student directly in the Edpuzzle program, or in person the next day in class. In Figure 3, I’ve included an example of a student misconception regarding the danger of placing an aerosol can near heat or open flame, followed by the comment I sent directly to the student to clarify the concept. The next day in class, I followed up with another question regarding the relationship between temperature and pressure to check for understanding.

Figure 2. The Edpuzzle interface includes both a teacher-provided learning objective and a question for students.
Figure 3. Example of student’s answer to the safety question in Figure 2, and the teacher’s comment to address the misconception .

In any video media I use in my teaching, I embed both multiple-choice and short-answer questions to assess understanding. The use of multiple-choice questions provides immediate feedback to the students with an explanation of the answer (Figure 4), so that students can assess their understanding of the material and learn from their mistakes.

Figure 4. An example of a multiple-choice question that can be included in an Edpuzzle video.

The short-answer questions provide an opportunity to glean more from the students in terms of their conceptions and also assess understanding at a greater depth throughout the learning process. Answers to these questions need to be graded in Edpuzzle by the teacher and can be returned within the platform, with additional feedback, to the students. Another great use of the short-answer question format is to have students write a summary of the video lesson. This allows them to reflect and synthesize in their own words what they have learned, and can provide additional insight about student understanding.

Differentiated instruction and just-in-time teaching

Using the formative assessment data obtained from the embedded questions, I can differentiate my instruction based on the understanding of the class as a whole and the individual student. When I assign a video, I use the whole class data to determine what types of questions we should focus on in the subsequent lesson and what additional resources (models, animations etc.) are needed to build understanding (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Compiled data on the accuracy of student responses to an Edpuzzle video.

Lessons can now be tailored to the needs of each class period, allowing more time to focus on specific areas of the content. This pedagogical strategy is known as “just-in-time” teaching, because it allows the teacher to adjust their teaching activities to meaningfully address student shortcomings on the spot. In addition to using the whole class data, Edpuzzle can also let the teacher view data on an individual student to identify and provide remediation opportunities for those who are struggling with specific concepts. If only a small number of students struggled to understand a particular concept, they can be pulled aside for additional small-group instruction and support with the teacher while the remainder of the class continues with the lesson. There is also a feature in Edpuzzle that shows whether and how many times a student re-watched a particular section of the video, providing another way of identifying areas of difficulty for individual students (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Edpuzzle can track how many times an individual has re-watched a specific video.

How to enhance a video with Edpuzzle

You can upload any video that you currently use into Edpuzzle and crop it, add voiceover, make comments, and embed multiple-choice or short-answer questions. You can also use a feature in Edpuzzle to search for Edpuzzle videos that have already been created by other Edpuzzle users (which you can also edit). Additionally, you can search popular video channels such as YouTube, Khan Academy, Veritasium, etc. to select a video and enhance it for your teaching purposes using Edpuzzle. Alternatively, you can search for a video directly on YouTube and copy and paste the URL into Edpuzzle to edit it; you can also download the Edpuzzle YouTube extension for Google Chrome, which will allow you to quickly import any YouTube video directly into Edpuzzle (Figure 7).

Figure 7. The platform includes an “edit with Edpuzzle” Google Chrome extension button for YouTube.

Final thoughts

The use of Edpuzzle in my 10th grade chemistry classroom has led to an increase in my students’ engagement in the learning process, and has also provided me with insight into their existing knowledge. Moreover, it allows me to assess understanding as students build new knowledge, and adjust subsequent lessons based upon their needs. In a chemistry classroom, this information is extremely useful, as students have many misconceptions about chemistry phenomena that can greatly impede learning. Being able to identify these misconceptions and assess understanding throughout the learning process increases the likelihood for conceptual change. Therefore, I suggest that the next time you consider using video media in your chemistry classroom, try utilizing Edpuzzle to see how it can enhance your instruction.


References

  1. Velázquez-Marcano, A., Williamson, V. M., Ashkenazi, G., Tasker, R., Williamson, K. C. (2004). The use of video demonstrations and particulate animation in general chemistry. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 2004,13(3), 315-323.


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