Wired for engagement – the Schoolwires blog

Top 7 free video tools for K-12 teachers

Posted by Debbora Woods on 3/3/15 9:00 AM

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Guest Blogger: Terry Smith, blogger, software developer, and former IT teacher

A decade ago, using a video in a classroom solely meant to show a movie to students with the help of a DVD or even VHS player. Today, video takes a more prominent place in the educational process. With different video content that's easily accessible, teachers can add visibility to the explained material and diversify learning tasks. In contrast to traditional printed training aids, video generates a greater amount of interest among students. Thus, video is a powerful instructional medium that can enhance both teaching and learning.

However, video preparation may take a long time without the necessary video software. Not all teachers can easily work with professional video processing software like Adobe Premier or AfterEffects. In fact, very few teachers can afford to buy such tools. So, I've researched good free software alternatives that can be a huge help. Here is a roundup of useful free tools, which allow teachers to create, edit, play, convert, download, and burn video files.

Windows Live Movie Maker

This time-tested video editing software offers enough basic features to get the job done fast. With it, teachers can create and edit videos for their classes. Being a part of Windows Essentials, Movie Maker offers many video and transition effects and lets you compile a movie out of camera footage, video clips, and photos. Users can delete undesired video parts; add effects, music, and narration with ease. This is the best option for teachers dealing with video presentations and self-shot movies.

VLC Media Player

This is one of the most successful open-source programs. With it, teachers can play videos of almost any format with no special codes needed. In contrast to other video players, VLC is even capable of playing damaged and incomplete files, e.g. those which are being still downloaded via P2P networks. The other helpful features include the ability to stream and convert video files, add subtitles from the Internet, record video from your desktop, take snapshots, and many more. In short, VLC Media Player is a Swiss knife, which can do almost any video-related tasks.

Freemake Video Converter

This is a popular video conversion software, which supports over 300 input video formats and can convert them to AVI, MKV, MP4, MPEG, WMV, FLV, SWF, DVD, and Blu-ray. So teachers can easily prepare videos for playback on any school devices, including projectors and student tablets. The advanced preset editor allows users to customize conversion settings. The converter can join several video parts into one, cut video parts, and rotate videos clockwise. The tool also features the ability to create photo slideshows with background music and music visualizations and upload them directly to YouTube.

CamStudio

This is a simple video capturing tool, which teachers can use to record their computer's screen to create video tutorials. The software screencasts video and audio activity and outputs all this into AVI and SWF video files. There are numerous cool features in this intuitive, open source app, namely the ability to highlight the cursor path during a recording session, define the desired a region of the screen to be captured, automatically adjust the frame rate, annotate and append videos with comments, a time stamp, and a territorial watermark.

YouTube Video Editor

Teachers can upload their educational videos to YouTube and edit them in real time. YouTube Video Editor allows users to combine multiple videos and images to create a new video, trim clips to custom lengths, add music to videos from a library of approved tracks, customize clips with special tools and effects, and much more. This is an ideal option to prepare videos for teachers who prefer streaming live videos in the classroom.

Prezi

Prezi is a nice tool to create stylish presentations on any topic. The tool is web-based and offers several paid options like enhanced photo editing and custom branding. Still with a basic free account, you can really create wonderful presentations with text, video, images, and lists. Prezi has a huge collection of ready-made colorful templates, which you can easily customize. Presentations can be shared online or downloaded to your PC as an archive file.

GoAnimate

GoAnimate lets teachers create animated videos in a simple manner. Choose a theme, plot, characters, and start adding your content. For example, you can create an animated video where animals or cartoon characters are explaining the Pythagorean Theorem or Newton's laws. Your students will really appreciate your efforts. However, some templates are for a fee and you should sign up to save your video.

About our guest blogger:Terry Smith is a former IT teacher from Geneva. Terry is now a self-employed software developer and blogger. He loves testing new software and reviewing them for popular technology blogs. Follow Terry on Twitter @TerrySmith226.

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Email us your blog ideas for review! wired_blog@schoolwires.com

Topics: Teacher Resources


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