Where are the videos?

Video. Concept icon. 3D image isolated on white
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Over the past months, I have been posting and providing professional development sessions on creating engaging and interactive learning experiences with video as the focus media.  Tools have included Edpuzzle, ESLVideo, Ted Ed Lessons, TubeChop and Zaption.

Searching for and finding suitable videos or animations takes time and effort.  Depending on your learning objectives, there are many videos or section of videos that may be beneficial. As with everything in education, one size does not fit all.  It takes imagination, discipline and creativity to create engaging learning objects that meet your instructional requirements.

The majority of feedback after my webinars and workshops has been focused on where to find suitable videos or animations. The annotated list below is a starting point for teachers to explore video resources:

British Council Learning English Videos

The British Council and some of its teaching personalities have uploaded a variety of videos to YouTube ranging from teacher training to practical English language topics.  As the resources are parsed by nation, it will take time to explore this resource.

Crash Course

This is a YouTube channel that offers carefully crafted animations and scripted videos on several common subjects within the humanities and science genres. The presentation is very polished with a fast pace, so you should consider using the optional playback speed control to slow down the playback.

Discovery Channel

This resource offers complete videos and clips from Discovery Channel programming. Interesting programs involving science and societal issues offer bridge-ins to subjects as well as core explanations for processes and behaviours.

English with Jennifer

Jennifer’s English language lessons are formatted as classes delivered by an experienced ESL instructor.  Lessons are structured in an intimate but formal learning model.

How Cast

This is a collection of ‘how to’ videos. These videos range from grammar lessons to gardening tips.  Transcripts are available for some of the videos as well.

Internet Archive Project’s Movie Images Collection

This resource holds digital movies uploaded by the Internet Archive’s community of users.  These range from full-length films, to news broadcasts, to cartoons and recorded performances.  The collection is free and open for use with some restrictions on some media.  Teachers should be careful to use this site as a development resource and not share it with students as there are items that are offensive.

Johnny Grammar

Although this is housed within the British Council’s Learning English Channel, it is worth mentioning this resource as the animations offer direct lessons on grammar topics.

Khan Academy

This YouTube channel hosts all of the famous Khan Academy videos and animations. Locating videos from their YouTube channel is more efficient than locating them from within the Khan Academy itself. Teachers of ESP or OSLT might benefit from this resource.  There are several sub-channels listed in a column on the right side of the screen. One of note is the Smarthistory channel.  Once in this channel, more channels appear in the Featured Channels column.  The exploration expands to additional museum and collection videos.

National Film Board of Canada

Thousands of NFB videos are available for viewing online.  This instant access seems like a small miracle if you still remember the process of ordering these animations or films in the past. If you wish to go beyond locating videos, the NFB offers an Education resource, Campus, for a paid subscription.

National Geographic

Exceptional quality, interesting subjects and engaging visuals are three ways to describe these videos.  Some are short, while others are full programs. This is well worth the time spent to explore.


This University of Colorado site contains sets of simulations covering key topics designed in science and math.  Although these are not videos, they are a visual media that serve as the focus of a learning event.  The added layer of interactivity boosts engagement.


TeacherTube is an online aggregator of videos and animations that are suitable for education.   The videos are user generated for educators, by educators. There are over a million categorized videos here.


Since 2006, TED presentations have been recorded and hosted online for open access. Beyond the core TED Talks are the offsprings of the TED conferences.  These include:  TED Ed animations, TED Ed Lessons, the TEDx Talks, TEDFellows Talks, and the TEDx Youth Talks.  Segments of these videos can be cropped using TubeChop. TED Ed (animations) are designed to be used in learning situations.  If you are fortunate, you may to find one that is appropriate for your class.


Similar to YouTube but with all of the content refined, Vimeo is a webspace that contains unique content.


Over 50,000 videos uploaded by educators. Teacher oversight of this repository ensure that the content is safe for classroom use.

Web of Stories

Interesting and influential people of our times tell stories in an interview format.  The videos are of high quality and are quite captivating. Each of the personalities tells multiple stories based on different periods of their lives.

YouTube’s Education Channel

On the YouTube Education Channel, categorized YouTube videos are available.  It is a growing resource that can be used as a starting point for discovering appropriate videos for your class.

Some final considerations…

The learning event tools work best with videos or animation hosted on YouTube. For all of the resources listed above, try to locate a video hosted on YouTube before creating your learning object.  Not all of the videos are available on YouTube, so you must employ some imagination and accept the limitation.  An example of this is that TubeChop does not work with Vimeo videos.

If you do have some success with creating ESL or LINC related learning events with video, please share it with the community through the comments feature below.

Learning event editors mentioned in this post:

EDpuzzle https://edpuzzle.com

ESL Video http://www.eslvideo.com

TED Ed Lessons http://ed.ted.com/lessons

Tube Chop http://www.tubechop.com

Zaption https://www.zaption.co

Video and animation resources mentioned in this post:

British Council’s Learning English  https://www.youtube.com/user/BritishCouncilLE/channels

Crash Course https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse

Discovery Channel Videos http://www.discovery.com/videos

English with Jennifer https://www.youtube.com/user/JenniferESL

How Cast https://www.howcast.com

Internet Archive Project, moving images https://archive.org/details/movies

Johnny Grammar Videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA6AEFFFF35FE8B79

Khan Academy https://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy/featured

National Film Board of Canada https://www.nfb.ca/explore-all-films

Phet Interactive Simulations https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new

National Geographic http://video.nationalgeographic.com

Smarthistory https://www.youtube.com/user/smarthistoryvideos

TeacherTube http://www.teachertube.com/videos

TED http://www.ted.com

TED Ed Lessons http://ed.ted.com/lessons

Vimeo https://vimeo.com

WatchKnowLearn http://www.watchknowlearn.org

Web of Stories http://www.webofstories.com

YouTube’s Education Channel   https://www.youtube.com/edu

Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnharoldallan


9 thoughts on “Where are the videos?”

  1. Hi John,
    I’d just like to thank you for sharing this amazing collection of resources. This list obviously represents many hours of research on your part, and it is extremely generous of you to share it with us!

    1. Mike, thanks, I hope you can get some teaching materials cobbled together using these resources. I will keep this in mind for future posts to include links to previous posts. The post TED Ed Lesson (http://blog.teslontario.org/create-video-lessons-with-ted-ed/ ) is the other post that relates to creating video learning objects. I have another post surveying six video manipulation tools that is in the queue to be published. These include TED Ed Lessons, Vibby, TubeChop, EdPuzzle, Zaption and ESL Video.

  2. John,
    Thanks for compiling this great list! Yes, I can add to it. For those who teach higher levels and want to watch an entire movie in class, a great resource is English Learner Movie Guides (http://www.eslnotes.com/synopses.html). These are available for free download; they break down the vocabulary, including slang, that learners will encounter in the movie.
    Another great resource is Drew’s Script-o-Rama (http://www.script-o-rama.com/snazzy/dircut.html), which allows you to download the actual transcript of a movie–very useful whether you plan to show a whole movie or just a clip from it. I used the script from Paul Haggis’ movie Crash during a unit on filing a complaint with the police. I had to copy it, paste it into Word and then add a left column for the name of which character was saying each line. But it was faster than writing out all the dialogue! If you would like to print out my cleaned up version of this script, visit my website – FREE RESOURCES – Settlement Themes – Canadian Law and scroll down to POLICE. http://www.kellymorrissey.com/canadian-law.html

    1. Wow, thanks for the share Kelly! I think someone should compile these and run a session at TESL Ontario next year at the conference.

      The script-o-rama offers so many possibilities for those who want to create their own custom learning objects. Keep up the great work on your site!


      1. Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski have published a post at Edutopia, “Eight Ways to Use Video With English-Language Learners” at bit.ly/1Rc5Uuo .
        It may add more practical applications for using video with ESL students.

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