Monday, November 25, 2013

Embed Plus - Video Annotation

I just discovered -- from R. Byrne's great blog, Free Technology for Teachers -- an excellent video annotating tool, Embed Plus. Here is a sample of how the embedded annotations appear from a video at YouTube by the U.S. Department of State/University of Oregon, Shaping the Way We Teach English:

You will notice that you have all the usual features of YouTube videos, such as closed captioning and expand to full screen, but also the video can be slowed and a button allows an easy repeat of individual scenes. The nice thing is that because you are embedding rather than downloading, you don't have to own the video to annotate it. You can also get the video to start at a specific place, rather than the beginning, thus eliminating sometimes annoying introductions.

The editing interface to add captions is extremely simple (see left), and it's easy to change your mind, replace annotations, etc. You can use any YouTube video and embed in your blog, as I have here, or embed in WordPress, which has a slightly different interface. Although the site is fairly new, there are several examples to show you how it's done.

 I'd strongly recommend this tool if you are using authentic video, documentaries, etc. If you upload your own videos to YouTube, Embed Plus would make them more valuable to your learners. You could, for example, add directions for note-taking, as I have in the sample above. Or place a strategic assignment. Pro features, for as little as $14.99/lifetime, may be worth the cost, since you could then link to other websites.

I don't see how this tool can continue without charging anything, unless Google buys it.

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