Teachers Are Increasing Student Engagement By Creating Their Own Videos

Ed tech advocates encourage educators to form bonds with their classes by creating bite-sized videos similar to TikTok content.

This is a photo of a teacher recording herself teaching on a phone.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Despite the many challenges of virtual learning, many teachers are leveraging technology to increase engagement and build rapport with students. Some virtual and in-person educators find non-traditional learning formats even more successful in keeping students interested than face-to-face instruction.

Lindy Hockenbary is the author of A Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning and an instructional technologist who helps educators and schools learn how to better use technology. A large part of Hockenbary’s work is finding new ways for students to feel connected to their teachers so that engagement and learning can occur.

One strategy Hockenbary encourages is instructor-created videos.

A 2014 study found that instructor-generated video content improved overall student engagement and satisfaction in higher-ed online courses. Both the number and depth of responses for student discussions increased when teachers incorporated videos they created themselves. 

Jennifer Levanduski, head of marketing for ClassIn, an ed tech company for digital learning, says that as society and culture change, so does education. As TikTok has popularized shorter, less formal videos, Levanduski and Hockenbary encourage teachers to follow suit. They believe that while more professional videos from platforms like Khan Academy are beneficial for students, more casual and personal videos from teachers can create a deeper sense of connection. Hockenbary cites research that found students feel a greater bond with their teacher when teachers incorporate videos they created themselves than in classes where instructor-produced content wasn’t used. ClassIn allows teachers to record and edit videos, as well as create virtual worksheets, create polls, take attendance, offer an interactive blackboard, give out quizzes and grade assignments.

“I think that meeting students where they are has always been super important,” Levanduski says. “And right now, where students are is they’re digesting so much bite-sized video content across platforms. If you can use some of that video content to almost establish a parasocial relationship with your students, that is another way to help you feel connected to them.”

Hockenbary says teachers can create videos for a variety of purposes, including introducing themselves to their class at the start of the year, explaining lessons, going over the syllabus and providing one-on-one feedback to students. She says she encourages teachers not to worry if they stumble over their words a bit while they are recording, because when they are lecturing face-to-face they wouldn’t restart if they mess up. 

During a ClassIn webinar on Jan. 22 moderated by Levanduski, Hockenbary discussed strategies for increasing student engagement in remote, hybrid and in-person classes. Hockenbary noted that engagement is determined by whether students feel like they belong and will be successful in completing assignments. That’s why teachers need to foster a sense of personal relationship and community in their classrooms, she notes, whether it’s face-to-face or virtual.

Though nearly all schools have gone back to in-person instruction, Hockenbary says classroom technology is more relevant than ever. She believes the only way schools are going to increase student engagement is if teachers use a blended format that includes lecturing face-to-face, creating videos or podcasts and using other forms of technology so that learning and engagement can come in multiple forms. 

Another way technology can be useful in boosting students’ interests is by letting those who may be less inclined to speak in class due to social anxiety or being naturally introverted to participate. Levanduski says a student may never raise their hand in class but may chat online or contribute in other nonverbal ways. Hockenbary says technology can also enable students to give teachers feedback anonymously.

“Everybody gets to input, versus if you’re doing that in a lecture environment,” Hockenbary says. “You may only have time to call on one or two students, and it’s not going to be the ones that are shy.”

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Republish This Article

We want our stories to be shared as widely as possible — for free.

Please view The 74's republishing terms.

On The 74 Today