How can video be used for education?

Video can be used to:

  • introduce instructors to the class
  • test listening comprehension or foster discussion with news or entertainment clips
  • allow students to view lectures outside of class
  • record guest speakers for future viewing
  • record student presentations for critiquing and grading

Example Uses of Video for Education

Episode 1, Par 1 of "A Question of Arab Unity," an Al-Jazera program that explores the concept of Arab unity from an Arab perspective.

Selecting a Webcam

Webcams are small video cameras that can be used to capture medium-quality video for use on the web. Instructors and students typically use webcams for video conferencing and for recording greetings and presentations. Webcams can also be used to record and save video onto your computer's hard drive, but this is not very common. The following webcams should meet most instructors' needs: 

Recording Video

Many video sharing websites allow users to record and save video directly from a webcam. Using this approach, you don't need to save video files on your computer and then post them on the web. You simply go to the site, record video through your web browser, then send students a link to the video or embed a video player on your blog, wiki, social network, or other website. While YouTube is the best-known site with this feature, Viddler is a rival video-sharing site with a few features that make it an ideal video sharing tool for educators.

Recommended Video Recording and Sharing Tool: Viddler

Viddler is similar to YouTube in that it allows users to upload video and share it on the web. However, Viddler offers educators several advantages over YouTube:

  1. Viddler doesn't impose a time limit on videos. Viddler videos can be any length and up to 500 mb in size. By contrast, YouTube videos can't be longer than 10 minutes or larger than 100 mb in size.
  2. Users can add text comments to a video's timeline. Users can add text comments in YouTube, but they appear on top of the video and can be distracting.
  3. Users can record video directly from a webcam. If you have a webcam, you don't need any special video editing software to create and post videos on Viddler. This feature exists in YouTube, but you might find it a bit easier to do in Viddler.
  4. Viddler offers many privacy controls. Users can set videos to public (visible to anyone), private (only visible to you), or shared (visible to you and your “friends” who have Viddler accounts). In addition, Viddler allows users to share links to videos via a "secret URL." This means a video can be kept private, but a link can be sent to specific people to allow them to view the video even if they don't have Viddler accounts.
  5. Viddler's ads are less distracting than on other sites. Ads in Viddler appear beside the videos, unlike YouTube's ads which appear around and on top of the video.

Viddler Help

Saving Videos from YouTube

Online video sharing sites like YouTube can provide many useful videos for educators. However, videos can be removed from these sites at any time. Therefore, you might want to save a copy of your favorite educational videos to your hard drive to ensure you'll always be able to access them. To save a video from a video-sharing website like YouTube, follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Copy and paste the address of the video into the URL field.
  3. Select your preferred format for the video file. (The .mpg and .mov formats are typically the easiest to play on both macs and PCs.)
  4. If the download doesn't begin automatically, click the link to download the file.

If you have trouble using, try this alternative site:

  1. Go to
  2. Paste the address of the video in the URL field near the top of the page. 
  3. Click the download button to the right of the URL field. (Don't click the larger, more colorful buttons below the URL field. These are ads.)
  4. Click the small "Download" link to download the high-quality or low-quality versions of the video. (If you have trouble viewing the low-quality version, try the high-quality version instead.)