Video is arguably one of the most captivating tools a teacher can use to engage learners. Krashen (2011) states that “interest may be not enough for optimal language acquisition. It may be the case that input needs to be not just interesting but compelling” (p. 1). Video offers a rich and compelling source of L2 input that not only exposes learners to authentic language, but also serves to stimulate various aspects of second-language acquisition, such as vocabulary and comprehension (Lin, 2014; Peters, 2020; Rodgers & Webb, 2019). Furthermore, recent developments in web-based video technology are giving birth to new and exciting ways to stimulate students’ motivation to learn, transforming what is traditionally passive content into an active learning experience. There is a plethora of online applications that allow educators to create interactive content using video; however, only a handful of these applications cater to educators. One such application is PlayPosit, an interactive web-based video platform, which allows users to add formative assessments to videos. Educators can select almost any online video and augment it with time-embedded activities such as graded questions, reflective pause, open discussion and much more.
Screenshot of a Bulb in PlayPosit
Getting Started with PlayPosit
PlayPosit (https://go.playposit.com/) is mobile-friendly and offers both free and pro plans. Currently, their free basic plan allows educators to create unlimited video activities (called bulbs), monitor students’ progress, and utilize a repository of video lessons. Basic users are limited to 100 learner attempts per calendar month, but there are no limitations on the number of bulbs they can create. Pro users will have unlimited bulb attempts, plus 100 minutes of direct video upload per year. Once you create an account with PlayPosit, you will be prompted to create your first bulb. You can choose a bulb from PlayPosit’s extensive database of shared interactive videos or you can paste a link to a video on YouTube or Vimeo. Once your video is added, you are given the option to use the entire video clip or only part of the video to be used for the activity. It is also possible to combine multiple videos to be used in a single bulb.
Adding a Video From YouTube to PlayPosit
PlayPosit allows educators to embed user responses, graded questions, media elements, and open discussion interactions into video timelines. The following time-embedded activities are available to both basic and pro users.
Students are presented with several options to choose from in response to a question. This question type has one correct answer.
This enables students to demonstrate understanding via a text response and/or through sharing images and audio.
Students are presented with several options to choose from when responding to a question. Students can only choose one answer option without receiving corrective feedback on their response.
Students are presented with several options to respond to a question. This question type can have more than one correct answer, but students will only receive full points if they choose all of the correct answers.
Fill in the Blank
Students are presented with a phrase that is missing one or more words, and they must fill in the blanks with the correct words.
This allows students to post responses and/or reply to comments posted by other students in real time.
This interaction gives students the opportunity to pause and reflect on video content. It is also an opportunity for educators to supplement information that is not covered in the video.
Embedded (Web Link)
This interaction allows students to view and interact with a website while viewing the video lesson. This is useful for providing supplemental information to students.
Adding Interactions to PlayPosit
PlayPosit makes it easy for students to join your class by clicking on a single URL. It is also possible to add students via a .csv file. Having a class allows educators to assign bulbs to learners, monitor their students’ bulb attempts, and give grades. Once a class has completed an assigned bulb, educators can then open the bulb overview in which they are presented with a question-by-question breakdown of all student responses to each question. From here, teachers have the ability to manually grade certain interactions and can also download student grades as a .csv file. Furthermore, learners can take notes on a video via the Notes tab. Student notes have clickable timestamps and are visible to the instructor. Lastly, PlayPosit can be set up in many Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Moodle and Blackboard. Details on how to create a class and connect PlayPosit to an LMS can all be found on the PlayPosit website.
Gamification with PlayPosit
Gamified activities focus on increasing user participation by incorporating game elements, such as points, awards, and immediate feedback to motivate learners. According to Werbach and Hunter (2012), gamification is “the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts” (p. 26). One example of how to gamify a lesson using PlayPosit is to create a choose-your-own-adventure-style bulb. In such an activity, if a learner selects a specific answer or if they get a question right or wrong, the learner can skip to a different point in the video. Students receive points as they progress through the adventure. Also, discussion forums can be added, allowing learners to debate the next best path.
Learner-made bulbs are a fantastic way to empower students. Students have access to the PlayPosit Designer, which allows them to upload their own videos and add interactions. Once learners submit their learner-made bulb, the PlayPosit monitor page provides instructors with several options, such as being able to preview and edit a bulb before sharing with others as well as the ability to grade and add feedback to the bulbs. Please note that this feature is only available in the pro version of PlayPosit.
PlayPosit offers a full range of interactive video affordances, which support flipped and blended learning environments. In the author’s experience, PlayPosit has been an excellent tool for integrating videos as authentic learning materials in the EFL classroom. It is a user-friendly application designed for educators that serves as not only an excellent tool for formative assessment, but also as a way to further engage students in the learning process.
Krashen, S. (2011). The compelling (not just interesting) input hypothesis [Special section]. The English Connection, 15(3), 1.
Lin, P. M. S. (2014). Investigating the validity of internet television as a resource for acquiring L2 formulaic sequences. System, 42, 164-176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2013.11.010
Peters, E. (2020). The effect of out-of-class exposure to English language media on learners’ vocabulary knowledge. In S. Webb (Ed.), Approaches to learning, testing and researching L2 vocabulary (pp. 143-167). John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.109.itl.00010.pet
Rodgers, M. P., & Webb, S. (2019). Incidental vocabulary learning through viewing television. ITL-International Journal of Applied Linguistics. https://doi.org/10.1075/itl.18034.rod
Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (2012). For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Wharton Digital Press.