Using YouTube to make quick lab videos

I made these lab videos easily using my iPhone (other smartphones will do the same), and sending the video directly to YouTube. YouTube’s editing tools make it easy to annotate the video, so pop-ups appear to explain what is happening and highlighting areas for students’ focus. This is ideal where you want to record, upload and annotate videos quickly and easily.

There are four great things about producing videos this way:

  1. With GoogleApps, all students and teachers have a YouTube account, which they can sync with their phone or have ready on their laptop. They could also record the video from their laptop webcam.
  2. If videos are pretty straightforward there is no need to spend time importing into iMovie or MovieMaker, editing and then uploading to YouTube.
  3. You can make quick edits and corrections to annotations on the ‘live’ video. You don’t need to re-upload the video.
  4. YouTube also has an online video editor for making more complete edits and putting clips together.
The slideshow below shows some tips for how to get it working.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Lab Videos, posted with vodpod
( doesn’t actually allow Picasa albums to embed directly – but VodPod is a good workaround). 
Here are some videos made for Chemistry class this week (although they look a bit like I’ve taped the phone to my head – I need to get a tripod!)

This next one was made very quickly and uses the YouTube video editor tools to mash two short clips together. By this point I’d got hold of a retort stand and created a super-adjustable iPhone camera triunipod – patent pending and soon to be available at an exaggerated cost from the Apple store ;>


Applications beyond lab videos:

Students could make their own explainers or video clips for class, such as lab report methods, annotated sports performance clips or notes on a speech or presentation they (or a peer) have given. Teachers can use it (like I have above) to make vodcasts for students who can then repeat or look back at work in class. In this example, students have carried out these reactions in class, but I will be away the following class. This gives them an opportunity to see the reactions again with some annotations to help them through the theory work.


  • Having a lot of students online uploading at the same time can impact bandwidth.
  • Students may need help in setting up their school YouTube accounts and assigning permissions and privacy settings – you would need to be aware of appropriate student-created content.
  • Although quick and easy to use, it is unlikely to look polished enough for a publications class or professional piece of work. It will be fine for simple tasks focusing on content or explanation.

SpliceIf you want even more power to edit on the phone, I like this free app called Splice. It has enough features to get you putting clips and photos together, with transitions and themes, and will upload directly to YouTube (though it can take a while to render).

About Stephen

International Educator: China via Japan, Indonesia & the UK. Director of Innovation in Learning & Teaching. Science educator. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer. MA International Education & current EdD student. Experienced Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator. Interested in curriculum, pedagogy, purposeful EdTech and global competence. Find out more: Science site:

Posted on November 29, 2011, in #edtech #scitech, Screencasts & How-To, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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