VideoANT: Online video annotation and commenting

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About a year ago, I stumbled upon VideoANT and was interested in its use in the language classroom. VideoANT is a University of Minnesota project that allows users to annotate videos with long comments and can share those annotations with other people. At the time, I struggled to get it to work correctly and was turned off by the heavy use of Flash. Today, that all changed. I just received an email from VideoANT stating that they have changed their platform and tool completely on the back of HTML5 making it mobile and multi-platform friendly. I have just finished playing with it and I am excited to put it into use in my classroom. Here is how it works:

 

Steps:

  1. Go to VideoANT and click on ‘Launch VideoANT’ (you could also link directly to the secondary site, but the main site gives you an overview of the tool and what it can do).
  2. You can start immediately by pasting in a YouTube URL without registering and clicking on ‘Load Video’, but if you would like to archive your projects, it is recommended that you register. You can use your Facebook or Twitter account along with an email address.
  3. You can change the title of the video if you want, otherwise, click on ‘Start Annotating!’
  4. Your video will appear in a window on the left with a timeline along the top and an ‘Add an Annotation’ button on the bottom. To begin, press play beside the timeline or on the video.
  5. When you get to a point where you would like to make an annotation, click on the ‘Add an Annotation’ button and the video will pause with a ‘New Annotation’ box appearing on the right. Type in the subject or title of this annotation, add a annotation, and then click on ‘Save Annotation’ to create that annotation at that time marker or click on ‘Cancel’ to leave.
  6. The video will start up again from where it paused. Continue to add annotations and they will continue to appear on the right-hand side. To skip ahead in the video, click anywhere on the timeline to move the video forward or back.
  7. You may edit or delete any annotation by clicking on the dropdown arrow on the right of the comment.
  8. You can move to the spot of the video where the annotation belongs by click on the annotation itself. The video will automatically move to that spot.
  9. To share your video with the annotations, just copy the URL from the top of the browser and share it with the people you wish to join into the conversation. Anyone who has the link can watch, annotate, and comment on previously made annotations.

 

Here is a screencast on how to use VideoANT:

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Note, you do not need to enter an email address or register to annotate or comment. Anyone with the link can simply go to the page and start editing it. Be careful with whom you share this URL. Don’t post it on a public forum or social media page if you want to keep others from seeing or making comments.

 

This is a wonderful tool for students to view and make comments on YouTube videos without registering. Teachers can have students view videos and add their thoughts. Students can share videos with their classmates on a project. Teachers can make a mini lesson out of it by providing more information alongside the video. The videos with comments can even be embedded in websites or places like Edmodo.

 

As a language teacher and teacher trainer, I can see a lot of uses for this. What do you have to add? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send me a Tweet at @nathanghall. Thank you for visiting!

 

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