Using Internet-based Video in Teacher Training

by Dara Richard

National University of Singapore (Singapore)

 TeacherTube –

Teachers TV –


Since the 1990’s educators have promoted the use of video in the classroom. Compared to print or audio material, video provides a rich source of information. Students not only learn new content but also observe its context (Norton & Wiburg, 2003). Trainee teachers are one specific group of students video can help. Video can help them better understand the social, cultural, or emotional aspects of content and their consequences. If English is not their first language, video can also help trainee teachers learn new words or expressions, as well as appropriate intonation patterns and non-verbal communication. In addition, visual learning helps motivate learners and promote retention of information (Weyers, 1999).

Despite these advantages, video is not widely used in teacher training. Commercially produced video may be expensive, irrelevant to the curriculum, or have content inappropriate for the classroom or culture. Although free, Internet-based sources of video such as Youtube have many of the same problems as commercially produced video. In addition, they are of widely varying quality and it can be difficult find videos on specific topics. Some institutions, especially schools, block Youtube and other Web 2.0 sites because they are considered social rather than educational media. Also, they are more to difficult to filter for inappropriate content than traditional media. and are two sites that enable teacher trainers to use video in the classroom while circumventing many of the problems listed above. Both contain only videos related to education, are free, and can be accessed anywhere in the world where Internet speeds are sufficient for streaming video.

Teachertube is often called Youtube for teachers. Anyone who has registered with the site can upload videos, documents, photos or audio as long as they address specific learning objectives or offer professional development for educators. Uploads must not violate copyright laws and be free of advertisements, nudity, profanity or anything else that might not be suitable for all ages. Teachertube is generally considered good at detecting and deleting adult content and obvious copyright violations.

Teachertube has several channels that are useful for teacher training. The Professional Development section has content related to best practices and teacher motivation. Career and Technology Education (CATE) contains many how-to videos relevant for the classroom, while the Teachertube Tutorials section provides advice on making better videos and uploading them. There are also channels dedicated to subjects, such as English or Mathematics, or age groups, such as elementary or university students.

A major advantage of Teachertube is its ease of access – anyone who registers can upload content. This means that trainee teachers can easily produce videos of best practices, lesson content, or themselves teaching in the classroom and share the videos with others on the Internet. Content is diverse, featuring classrooms and teachers from all over the world.

Teachertube’s ease of access is also its main weakness. The quality of videos on Teachertube varies widely depending on the skill of their creators. Some videos are nearly of professional quality while others look like they were shot on the fly with a mobile phone. Since the contributors are also responsible for the video’s title and key word tags, searching for specific content can be difficult and time consuming. An additional weakness is that downloading and streaming are slow compared to other sites.

Unlike Teachertube, which is user generated, functions more like a television channel. It is operated by a corporation, Education Digital, and funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families in the United Kingdom. The corporation selects and produces the programs which appear on the website. Some programs are individual and others are part of a series, but almost all of them are focused on professional development and best practices; very few programs deal with teaching specific learning objectives. Registered members can propose ideas for future programs and give feedback on current programs but they cannot create and upload videos themselves. Like Teachertube, registration is free and available to anyone in education. programs range in length from fifteen to forty-five minutes. Programs can be viewed as scheduled programming on several TV channels in the UK or downloaded individually from the Web. Users can find programs by selecting from one or more of the following strands: Key stages (early years – further education), Subject (Science, English, etc), or Roles (administrator, newly qualified teacher, etc). The program titles, key words and descriptions are well chosen so it is easy to select the most relevant programs. The site also dedicates a page to “learning journeys,” which are guided tours of four to five programs that address a specific need and are linked with written commentary. The learning journeys would be very useful for teachers doing professional development on their own or as part of a distance learning program.

The main advantage of is its ease of use. Since the content is uploaded by a single corporation rather than thousands of members scattered over the world, it is very well organized and highly relevant to teacher training and professional development. The videos are also high quality, as well as fast and easy to download or stream. The principle weakness of is its UK focus. Although most of the content is applicable to teachers around the world, some elements, especially those related to administration, are not. Most videos are filmed in the UK, so teachers working in less developed countries may have to use their ingenuity to adapt teaching practices reliant on technology. It will also take a little time for those unfamiliar with UK education jargon to understand the acronyms used liberally on the site, such as EYFS, PSHE or CHIPS.

Overall, is an excellent source of content that can give teachers a realistic picture of the education profession in many parts of the world. The highly contextualized videos also give teachers a good understanding of the inter-linked factors that can lead to success or failure. Despite the weaknesses mentioned above, is a useful tool for teacher trainers and teachers interested in professional development. In contrast, the content on Teachertube can be difficult to use or incorporate into a professional development program, so it is useful as a means of having teachers create and share their own videos. Teachertube could be most useful for those involved in a distance learning program since they could film classroom activities and then upload them for feedback from others.


Overall Rating                     Somewhat useful                               Useful



Norton, P. &, Wiburg, K.M. (2003). Teaching with technology: Designing opportunities to  learn (2nd ed.). Belmont (CA): Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

Weyers, J.R. (1999). The effect of authentic video on communicative confidence.The Modern      Language Journal, 83, 339-349.


About the Author

Dara Richard received her MA in TESOL from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has taught English in Japan, the United States, Uzbekistan and Malaysia. Currently, she is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication at National University Singapore.

Her research interests include student motivation and academic writing.

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