Check123: A Video Encyclopedia for Schools
Check123 is a new, free service that offers 1, 2, and 3-minute videos across a variety of curricular subject areas. If you have tried to use YouTube (or a similar service) to find a classroom video then you know how difficult that can be, especially given the enormous number of videos you have to search through. To make the process of finding educational videos easier, Check123 offers a highly curated collection of videos, organized around key subject areas while also allowing teachers attach questions to the video timeline.
At its core, Check123 is an incredibly simple resource which teachers will find extremely useful. You can visit the site, search for videos by subject area, or just use the general search feature, and find any videos that meet your search criteria. Videos are organized by educational relevance/rating as opposed to popularity, which means you’ll see the highest quality videos first in your search results. You can also choose to follow specific subject areas if you want to get updated on the latest additions to that category.
As mentioned, all of the videos on Check123 are highly curated, which means that the Check123 team has worked with experts in these different respective fields to find quality videos that align with topics and content areas. Additionally, all of the videos are less than 4 minutes, so they are focused on the topic that they are meant to address.
Currently, the Check123 site has over 20,000 videos and that number is always expanding. The videos are all pulled from common educational sources like National Geographic and BBC Earth. Each video shows related content to the right side, so students can zoom in and learn more about the specifics, or zoom out and learn more about the general concepts being discussed in the video.
Teachers also have the ability to create playlists of videos which they can make available to their students. After you create a free account, you can visit your profile and choose to create a new lesson. From there, you’ll be able to add in a series of videos and then share the playlist link to your students. As opposed to a site like YouTube, you won’t have to worry about students stumbling across ads, or unsuitable related videos. After you find the videos you want to use, you can click “Preview Lesson” and then you’ll have the option to add in quiz questions. Just fast forward the video to where you’d like to add the question and click on “Add question.” You’ll then be able to insert a multiple choice question at the marker. When your students watch the video, they’ll be asked the question when they reach that place in the video, and you’ll be able to see how each of your students did.
Finally, you also have the option of using the Smart Search feature. Under your profile, you can select Smart Search, and then paste in a link to a website or a text file and have the site automatically search it for specific keywords. So if for instance you located a Wikipedia article that you’re using in class and you want to find related videos then you would just paste in the link to the article (or the text from the article), and it will automatically find the keywords and pull up potentially related videos.
Overall I think that Check123 has great potential. Having spent hours in the classroom searching through pages of YouTube to try and find an appropriate video, a resource like this would have been immensely helpful. The ability to create playlists and add questions to your videos is also a great bonus.