Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Online “Explainer” Tools For Current Events

| 1 Comment

A number of news sites have regular features called something like “explainer” or “explain it to me” where they provide — in either video or text — short explanations about current events or answers to reader/viewer questions.

Here are my choices for best of these kinds of resources out there — please share suggestions for ones I’m missing:

CNN regularly produces two-to-three minute video clips on current news topics (including ones related to science) called “Explain It To Me.” They’re generally excellent, though it appears they may have stopped making new segments. You can find them all here. Here’s an example:

Slate has had a very popular “Explainer” series in text.

WNYC has an Explainer series in text.

Foreign Policy also has a text feature called “Explainer.”

There are also other sites that provide good and simple explanations/tutorials on other topics, including:

Explania

Common Craft

And you’ll find other examples at:

The Best Online Instructional Video Sites

The Best Places To Learn Computer Basics & How To Fix Tech Problems

I recently read two very interesting and helpful article from Poynter about the best ways to create them, and they offer strategies that anyone can use — even beyond creating online videos:

From Schoolhouse Rock to ‘The Fracking Song,’ explainers as ‘acts of empathy’

How journalists can create better explainers

TIME Magazine has an ongoing series of short TIME Explains videos on current events. Here’s a link to most of them.

One example (embedded below) explains how the Pope is elected:

The Washington Post regularly publishes a feature called “Five Myths.”

They’ll typically pick a topic that’s been in the news and list five myths with a short explanation about each one. It’s pretty useful to teachers and students alike.

NBC News produces an ongoing series of 30 Seconds To Know videos about current events and issues.

They’re videos that last…thirty seconds, with an expert who explains a topic. However, it’s not just a talking head — it includes action shots and graphics, and the narrator doesn’t speak too fast.

Here’s an example of one:

The British newspaper The Guardian publishes a neat series of video “animations and explainers” that you can find on their YouTube channel.

Here’s an example:

The Economist Explains provides short text…explanations of current events.

The BBC creates excellent one-to-three minute video “news explainers” about current events.

Here’s an example:

You can find them in one of three locations (depending on what your school’s content filter blocks):

The Explainers section on the BBC site itself appears to be the one updated most frequently.

The BBC has some of them on their Vimeo account.

They have a Playlist on YouTube.

It appears that the Voice Of America has recently begun creating very short “Explainer” videos about current events.

Here are a couple of examples:

Feedback is always welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 800 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Tell CNN What Videos Would Be Helpful To Your Class | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


Skip to toolbar