eduCanon is a free, online and very simple tool that enables their users to add interactivity to videos. It is available online directly on their website or as a google chrome widget.
To get started on eduCanon, you can either create a new and free account or sign up with your Edmodo or Google Plus account. You also have to select if you are a teacher or a student. Once it’s done, 4 small windows pop up; one to start customizing videos right away, another to assign your lessons/videos to specific students, another to link students to your classes, and the last one to see learning needs in real-time. The most interesting feature is definitely the editing one, so once you clicked on it, here is what happens. You first have to enter the title of your work. Then, you have to select the learning objective. After, you have to select the grade (for instance 6), the topic (for instance English), and the subtopic (for example irregular verbs). Once everything is set, you can select the platform from which you want to import your video. eduCanon is compatible with platforms like Youtube, Vimeo, Teachertube, Khan academy, and more. After these steps, you are free to edit! You can crop your video as much as you want to and add questions. The questions that you can add are either multiple choices, Fill in the blanks, Check all apply, or Free responses. All the questions are simply inserted by clicking a button and it is a very simple task to do so. In addition, you can also insert reflective pauses, audio-embed questions, media-embed, web content, printable worksheet, or even equations (and an equation editor). With everything you post in your videos (which are called bulbs once edited on the eduCanon), you can attach files so it can make the videos even more interactive. The app also provides instant feedback as it adds the possibility to give the good answer when students gave theirs. You can also set time limits for your assignments. It is a very complete app in terms of editing videos without breaking copyright laws.
Michael Karlin, from edtechroundup, reviewed eduCanon 4 stars out of 5. He says that it is an excellent tool to flip classrooms by adding interactive content from online videos since it is very easy to use. He precises that the app is free, but for the complete version (which allows more type of questions like the free response questions), you have to pay 48$ per year. Karlin adds that it has a very friendly interface and does a lot to make videos more engaging. Moreover, one feature he particularly enjoys is the fact that students can’t fast-forward the videos; which ensures the teachers that their students watch the complete video. The only reason why he doesn’t give it a perfect rating is because it lacks some question types. For instance, there is no survey, poll, or matching questions available. In the end, it is an excellent service offered even with the free version, but lacks some question types.
Amanda Finkelberg from Graphite also gave a 4 star rating out of 5 to eduCanon. The pros of the app according to her is that it is very simple compared to other tools so teachers can start editing videos and create a variety of questions and other web content videos in a short amount of time. On the other hand, the free version offers fewer features than other comparable free apps. She also adds that it is very simple to use key features like adding multiple questions, but the site offers few support for more complex web content videos. However, support is available through e-mailing and is fairly quick, but as a teacher we sometimes are in a hurry and do not have enough time to wait for an e-mail.
As an ESL teacher, there really is a lot to exploit from video activities. Students usually enjoy watching videos in class or as a homework assignment. First, you can show a video to activate prior knowledge. For instance, when you start a new unit, you can show a video and add some words or questions over a video to teach students new vocabulary. Then, it can also be used to activate critical thinking. Of course, some questions can be like: Do you know what that is? What did John do to get his medal? Or stuff like that. But, it can also be questions that encourage more thinking so that the student puts more emphasis on the message rather than on how is he going to pronounce the words; this makes the students’ environment less stressful. An example of that type of question would be: What would you have done if you were there? Or even simpler: What do you think is going to cause the problem and why? Moreover, it can be used for showing questions in front of the class so the students can discuss as a whole. For instance, you would put a statement related to the video and ask a student what is his or her opinion about it in order to create a class discussion.
To conclude, eduCanon is an interesting app for assignments associated in any way with videos. There really is a lot to do with videos when you are an ESL teacher and it definitely should not be a neglected media.