The Zaption Experiment


A few months ago I discovered Zaption when I took The Teaching Channel’s observation challenge: Can You See the Shift? (click on the link and give it a try, it’s fun).

I have to admit, I’m not usually fond of watching videos – I find it a passive activity and my mind usually begins to drift. But watching this Teaching Channel video was completely different. Every so often it stopped to have me answer questions about what I’d seen. At times, I found I hadn’t been watching very closely and I had to go back to watch again. The questions kept me actively engaged and helped me reflect on what I’d seen.

I was impressed, so I went to the Zaption site to try making my own interactive video. And much to my surprise, I discovered that it’s incredibly easy to use. There are a few simple steps to follow:

  • Open an account (invite friends to join so that you get a free “pro” account)
  • Upload a video from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. You can use your own videos by uploading them to YouTube first.
  • Start watching your video and pause it to insert questions (multiple choice, check box response, or open-ended), pictures, drawings, and comments.
  • Save and share

I decided to introduce Zaption to our teachers in one of our workshops. I took a Ted talk video and added questions to it. Teachers came to the media center and worked through the video, Once I shared the video with the teachers and they answered my embedded questions, I could view “analytics” to see all of their answers. For instance, these are a couple of the answers to the question “Think of a teacher who made a difference in your life. What made that teacher special?” (Names have been removed).

Teacher A He was one of the first teachers to make us think outside the box, made me feel important and special in a class of 20+ students and told the truth. He never got upset but rather used humor to get the class’ attention. When I began teaching literature, I wrote to him to ask for advice.
Teacher B She listened, she didn’t make me feel stupid (ever) and she was always supportive. She was also funny and effective in the classroom and I loved learning in her classes.

Teachers then opened accounts and began making a video to use in one of their classes.hey were all amazed with the simplicity of the app and then the ideas began to flow. Here’s what they said about Zaption:

  • Wow! This would be great for using in a flipped classroom
  • The students would be held accountable for watching a video – I can see who watched it and who didn’t.
  • Great for online quizzes.
  • This can be used for ongoing assessment. Looking at the answers, I could see who understands and who doesn’t.
  • Students could make Zaption videos for each other.

A few days later, I was working with Omaura (our 8th grade LA and SS teacher) on her use of facial expressions and body language. Omaura wanted to use body language to help her students feel more comfortable with her. Observing her in class, I took pictures of her facial expressions, as well as a took a video to show her in action. I had an aha moment and thought, “Hmmm, I can use Zaption to have her reflect on this.” Using a two-minute clip, I produced a reflective video for Omaura. Feel free to give it a whirl below (scroll to the left over the video to access the sidebar when the video pauses!):

When I mentioned it to Omaura, her first reaction was, “Oh no… I don’t want to watch myself.” I assured her that this would be private and that no one would see it. She agreed to watch and answer the questions. Afterwards, we met to discuss her lesson and she told me that she loved the experience. Not only was it powerful to see herself in action, but the embedded questions helped her reflect on her teaching. She was able to see the changes she made and the positive effect they had on her class. She felt so comfortable with the experience that she allowed me to share the video with you.

I’m happy to report that the Zaption experiment is not only a success, it has gone beyond our expectations!


  1. Los hurones son animales muy (muy) activos, así que requieren áreas seguras
    para dormir y ejercitarse.

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