How BookWidgets + mmhmm can help educators create engaging interactive learning experiences

Kate Baker

Oct 26, 2023


So you're an educator, not Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, or Kathryn Bigelow—no worries! While you may not be vying for an Oscar, you do have an audience that's just as important: your students. And let's be honest, holding the attention of a classroom can sometimes feel like box-office pressure. The good news? You don't need Hollywood-level cinematography skills to make educational videos that captivate and educate. In this blog post, we'll show you how to be the Sofia Coppola of lesson planning, using videos to create a blockbuster learning experience. Get ready for the red carpet, or at least, the front of the classroom!

This blog post explores how videos made in mmhmm can enhance different parts of a lesson plan. We'll give you a simple guide, useful tips, and creative ideas for integrating videos into your teaching with mmhmm and BookWidgets, making learning more engaging and effective. By combining the cinematic flair enabled by mmhmm with the pedagogical power of BookWidgets, educators can craft lessons that are not only engaging, but also deeply effective in assessing and enhancing student understanding.

What is BookWidgets?

BookWidgets is a content creation and evaluation tool for teachers. With BookWidgets, teachers can create an endless number of interactive activities and auto-graded assignments using 40 unique types of activities and 35 different question types. All teachers from all subject areas and grades can use BookWidgets!

Wondering which widgets will give your video-enriched lesson that red-carpet glamour? The Video Quiz, Worksheet, Quiz, Split Worksheet, Split Whiteboard, and WebQuest widgets are the leading roles in this production. These widgets excel in turning any lesson into a captivating and interactive learning experience that features video content.

Ready for a sneak preview? Take a look at these show-stopping examples of videos being used in BookWidget activities!

The role of video in different lesson phases

Explanation on how to make lessons visual against pink background

Incorporating videos into different phases of a lesson plan offers a dynamic way to engage students and enrich the learning experience. In the introduction phase, teachers can creatively use videos to introduce real-world applications of a concept, sparking curiosity and grounding the lesson in relevance. During the explanation phase, videos can serve as virtual field trips or expert interviews, offering multiple perspectives that deepen understanding. For practice, interactive videos with embedded questions can transform passive viewing into an active learning task, allowing for real-time checks on comprehension. Finally, at the lesson's conclusion, a well-curated video can serve as a powerful summarizing tool, capturing key takeaways and reinforcing learning.

Teachers can get even more creative by using videos for establishing class expectations and as prompts for discussion, as starting points for project-based learning, or by having students create their own videos to demonstrate understanding. With the right directorial touch, videos can turn any lesson plan into a vibrant, interactive learning blockbuster.

Because mmhmm doesn’t require a steep learning curve or post-production, anyone with a laptop webcam can record and edit great-looking videos with drag-and-drop ease.

Check out this example where I introduce my Class Expectations and assess my students’ understanding with a BookWidgets Video Quiz.

Mrs. Baker English 9 class expectations with teacher in corner

Here is a BookWidgets’ video quiz example for project based learning.

Image of Stem project on creating a cotton ball launcher hand holding a project

7 steps for easily creating a video-enhanced lesson

Purple illustration that has laptop that says video enhanced lesson

This 7-step guide simplifies the process of  making a video-enhanced lesson. From planning your content to using BookWidgets for monitoring and feedback, these steps offer a structured approach to enrich your teaching.

1. Determine your lesson content: Understand the lesson's objectives and outline your content.

2. Identify video placement: Decide where and how video(s) will fit into the learning cycle. Will they introduce a concept, provide explanation, aid in practice, or sum up the lesson?

3. Record or locate videos: Create your own videos using mmhmm or source high-quality educational videos that align with your lesson objectives.

4. Integrate into BookWidgets: Add the selected video(s) and accompanying questions to your widget of choice in BookWidgets.

5. Monitor student progress: Use BookWidgets to track how students are interacting with the video content and their corresponding performance.

6. Provide additional feedback: Go beyond auto-scoring by offering personalized comments or supplementary materials based on individual performance.

7. Design collaborative activities: Implement group tasks where students can apply what they've learned, fostering both understanding and teamwork.

Stepping behind the camera may not come naturally to all educators, but don't let stage fright hold you back from delivering a blockbuster performance! Creating customized videos allows teachers to tailor content specifically for their student audience, making lessons more relatable and engaging.

It's not just about the content; it's also about reinforcing that invaluable teacher-student connection and serving as a model for effective communication skills. Plus, you don't need to be a tech wizard to get it right. Using mmhmm makes the process of recording, editing, and sharing your cinematic teaching moments a breeze. So, lights, camera, action! The director's chair—and a more engaging, personalized classroom experience—is waiting for you.

Tips and tricks for maximizing video efficacy

So you've got your video footage ready for its big classroom debut—now what? Here's the director's cut on optimizing your video teaching techniques:

  • Time-conscious video lengths: Think of it as a movie trailer; keep it short and sweet. Aim for about one minute per grade level to keep your audience engaged.
  • Hosting and privacy: Treat your videos like VIPs. Share videos privately within mmhmm so only those invited via email can watch. If you share mp4s publicly, upload them as "unlisted" on YouTube and give them the red-carpet treatment by easily embedding them in BookWidgets.
  • Concise, embedded videos: Keep your featurettes under five minutes. Think of it as the optimal runtime for student engagement during activities or questions. It’s easy to edit as you go and record over any flubbed lines in mmhmm.
  • Interactive learning with video quiz: Want an immediate standing ovation? Insert real-time questions using the BookWidgets Video Quiz widget to keep students on their toes.
  • Automated grading: Let BookWidgets handle the reviews by automating the grading process, so you can focus on delivering your next blockbuster lesson.
  • Data-driven instruction: Keep an eye on the box office numbers, or in this case, your students' progress, to make data-informed decisions for your future releases. With mmhmm, you can see who has (and hasn’t) watched, and get their feedback right in the player.


Videos serve as more than just visual aids; they are integral components of an enriched, interactive learning environment. By recording videos with mmhmm and then embedding the videos in BookWidgets, you can effortlessly integrate videos into your learning activities, ensuring that students are actively participating and benefiting from each lesson.

And that's a wrap! No, there won't be any after-parties or golden statues, but the rewards are in the 'aha!' moments and the flickers of understanding seen in students' eyes. Remember, while the world of education may not offer Hollywood glamour, it does present an opportunity to produce life-changing narratives. Just like Patty Jenkins or Greta Gerwig, you too can craft stories that resonate and stick with your audience. Remember, it's not about the big budgets or fancy equipment; it's about creating meaningful, customized content that hits home with your students. With the tips, tricks, and steps outlined in this blog post, any educator can become the Scorsese of the schoolhouse, creating video-enriched lessons that are both engaging and effective. So here's to the unsung heroes behind the lens—the educators who are ready to roll camera on the next big hit in learning!

Join mmhmm's Michael Perekupka for Lights, Camera, Educate: Mastering Video Lessons with mmhmm and BookWidgets on November 2, 2023 at 12:00pm Pacific Time for a webinar on integrating video into lessons.

Kate Baker is a veteran educator and Head of Community Engagement at BookWidgets.