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Preview: Common Craft - Common Craft - Our Product is Explanation

Common Craft - Common Craft - Our Product is Explanation

Welcome to Common Craft. Our three-minute videos help educators and influencers introduce complex subjects. Find out more


Three Big Additions to Common Craft

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 19:31:54 +0000

2017 kept us busy on multiple fronts, but few were as exciting as completely redesigning the Common Craft website. I’m writing to share three big additions to Common Craft we think you'll love. 1. Lesson Plans for Teaching with Videos Our library of 95 videos is most often used in classrooms, training sessions and learning management systems. Instructors play a Common Craft video to set the stage for a discussion or lesson. We wanted to make this process easier, so we created Lesson Plans, like this one, to give you a head start in teaching with these videos. Common Craft members can now download Lesson Plans for most of our videos. Each Lesson Plan includes: Video Intro, Link and Standards (ISTE, ACRL) Learning Objectives Discussion Questions Knowledge Check - Questions and Answers Further Reading Resources You can learn more about our lesson plans here, or download a sample Lesson Plan (PDF)   2. New Video Category: Study Skills Thanks to member suggestions, our video library has evolved to include videos that focus on navigating intellectual property, research skills, digital literacy and more. We believe these are essential 21st century skills that require clear understanding. Below are a few popular titles from this new category: Copyright and Creative Commons Primary vs Secondary Sources in Research Plagiarism and How to Avoid It Website Evaluation Find the new "Study Skills" category on the video library page.   3. More Cut-outs, More Formats, Easier Access More Cut-outs: Our library of downloadable visuals, called Cut-outs, is used in presentations, training materials, videos, websites and more. In 2017, the library grew considerably and we now have over 3,100 Cut-outs in the library. More Formats: You’ll find Cut-outs in three useful formats, available to ALL Common Craft members: PNG EPS SVG (new!) Easier Access: We’ve also simplified our search tool and created a new directory page that breaks the library out by categories. Yay! Learn more about using Cut-outs and our DIY Plan or download a one page Fact Sheet (PDF). [...]

Three New Videos: Online Basics

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 01:15:46 +0000

For the first time, we're publishing a series of three videos. The series is called "Online Basics" and it's focused on teaching people who are new to the Internet.

Our goal is to help internet novices understand why they should care about using technology and how to think about their identity online. The videos share a character named Angie who establishes her online identity and online accounts so that she can participate in social networking and social media.


Online Basics: Digital Lifestyle


Online Basics: Online Identity


Online Basics: Online Accounts



Peer Review - Explained by Common Craft

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:24:30 +0000

Now that school is cranking up again, we're set to publish a series of videos that will help make up a new category for Common Craft: Study Skills. In short, we want to help your students and trainees build information literacy.

Our latest video is a perfect example:

New Video: Peer Reviewed Articles Explained

Watch Peer Reviewed Articles Explained:


What this Video Teaches:

When it comes to credible sources of information, peer reviewed articles set the standard. That’s because the peer review process is designed to make credibility a priority. This video explains the concept of peer review and how it applies to research and what we understand about the world. It teaches:

  • Why credible, trustworthy information is essential
  • Why articles published in peer reviewed journals are more trustworthy
  • How the peer review process works
  • How “peers” evaluate articles and ensure integrityWhat makes peer reviewed articles different from other sources

Watch the video now

Recent Explainer Videos by Common Craft

We now have 91 explainer videos in our library. Each video is designed to explain a subject so you don't have to. 

More updates coming soon!

New Video: Public Domain Explained

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 17:14:43 +0000

New Video: Public Domain Explained

Watch Public Domain Explained:


What this Video Teaches:

Using an example of a song written three generations ago, this video shows why it makes sense that the public domain exists and what it means when a song, photo, artwork, document or other creative work is in the public domain. This video teaches:

  • The basics of copyright law and how it gives creators control
  • Why copyrights expire over time
  • How public domain works are available for use without payment or permission
  • Why creators and organizations contribute to the public domain
  • How to find public domain resources

Watch the video on

Recent Explainer Videos by Common Craft

We now have 90 explainer videos in our library. Each video is designed to explain a subject so you don't have to. 

Free Webinar: Common Craft Videos - Behind the Scenes

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 21:06:28 +0000


Ready to make your own Common Craft Style videos?


For the first time, Lee LeFever will host a free webinar covering Common Craft's entire production process. You'll learn about the "Six Skills of Animated Video Production", from script writing and storyboarding to video editing.

The process Lee will share is the same process he and Sachi use to make Common Craft videos today.

Key details:

  • Webinar Date: Wednesday, June 21st at 11am Pacific
  • Duration: About 30 minutes


NOTE: All attendees will receive a coupon for 50% off the Explainer Academy's DIY Media Maker Course, which provides in-depth instructions and resources for every part of the video production process.

New Video: Project Management Basics

Tue, 09 May 2017 16:01:18 +0000

Do Projects Really Need Management?

If you've worked on a team at work or at school, you've seen how projects can evolve into chaos. Our goal with this video (recommended by Common Craft members) is to outline the basics of how projects are managed by professionals. Using their techniques, almost any project, at school or work, can be more efficient and effective.

Watch Project Management Basics:


What it Teaches

This video follows the story of a team who works together to build a prototype for an upcoming meeting at work. Thanks to a project manager, they are able to align their work efficiently and complete the project with limited time, budget and resources. It teaches:

  • Why project management matters in getting things done
  • How project managers help plan and align the team’s work
  • Why project scope (time, budget and resources) matters
  • How project managers work with stakeholders
  • How the basics of project management can be applied to other types of projects.

Watch the video on

Recent Explainer Videos by Common Craft

We now have 89 explainer videos in our library. Each video is designed to explain a subject so you don't have to. 

Curious about plans and pricing?

RSS in Plain English: 10 Years Ago

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 05:08:58 +0000

Common Craft fans,

As of tonight, it has been ten years since we published RSS in Plain English on YouTube. I can't believe it's been so long. We owe a debt of gratittude to those of you who were with us in the beginning. It makes our day to know that you've stuck with us. We'd love to hear from you!

To mark the occasion, I wrote about how we came up with the idea for making RSS in Plain English and what happened the day we published it. Here's an excerpt:

YouTube was a year old at the time and growing incredibly fast. Soon, our discussions turned to ways we could ride the YouTube wave to new destinations. But how? We had no background in video production. What kinds of videos could be useful? What could two people and a cheap video camera do?

In 2006 YouTube was not alone in experiencing incredible growth. This was the dawn of the social media revolution and ideas like wikis, blogs and social networking were just starting to become known and adoption was slow. Being a big fan and user of these new tools, I wanted more people to use them. I believed they could be adopted quickly by the mass market.

But I also saw problems. These powerful, free and useful tools all suffered from the same malady: confusion. They were so new and different that most people couldn’t make sense of them intuitively. It was like a huge mountain of value was being obscured by a dense shroud of foggy, technical communication. Clearing that fog was the problem we decided to solve. We set out to make these new tools understandable for people like our parents using the power of YouTube videos. For the first time, we thought about what it means to explain an idea effectively using video.

Read the full article at

Here’s the original video, now with over 2.5 million views:

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If you really want to see the some history check out this Common Craft blog post from 2004 called RSS Described in Plain English.

Here's to 10 more years!

New Video: Cyberbullying

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 18:13:12 +0000

Cyberbullying and How to Stop It

This video is built for the teachers and students who are on the front lines of this phenomenon. By understanding cyberbullying, we can take steps to reduce the harm it causes.



Watch the video now

What it Teaches

Using a simple example of a cyberbully in action, this video follows a bully’s tools, motivations and tactics. It also covers what can be done by adults and fellow students to stop the bully and prevent further problems. It teaches:

  • Why cyberbullying represents a problem
  • How cyberbullies use the internet to threaten and harass others
  • What motivates cyberbullies
  • What adults and students can do to help the bullied students
  • What adults and students can do to prevent problems

Watch the video in the Common Craft Video Library

If you're looking for more resources on cyberbullying and prevention, see the sites below:

New Video: Piracy Online

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:11:10 +0000

Piracy, in any form, seems like a simple idea. It’s illegal and a form of stealing. But online, it may feel different because it’s so easy to make copies of a song or movie and share them. It’s easy to find pirated software on the cheap. The risks seem low. 

Our challenge with this video: How can we explain piracy in a way that goes deeper than simple right vs. wrong arguments? How can we appeal to reason? 

Our solution: Focus on understanding why it makes sense that piracy is illegal. Below, we explain the system that makes it possible for creative people to be paid for their work and how piracy breaks that system and directly impacts the creative people who make the music and art we love.

We also worked to make the visuals, especially in the beginning, fun and interesting. I loved animating those pirates!



What it Teaches

Piracy, on the open ocean or online, is illegal because it is a kind of theft. By understanding different types of online piracy and why it’s illegal, we can start to see how piracy impacts the artists we love and represents a risk to us as individuals. It teaches:

  • What piracy is online
  • Why artists often depend on copyright laws for income
  • How piracy breaks copyright laws and impacts artists
  • Why pirated software is a risk
  • How to avoid pirated software

Watch the video on

New Video: Identity Theft and How to Avoid It

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:44:29 +0000

One of our most popular video categories is Internet Safety and our new video covers an essential part of staying safe online (and off): identity theft. It's perfect for educating students and trainees.

Learn why our identities are at risk and what we can do to protect them (in about three minutes). 


Watch the video now

What it Teaches

We all use names, account numbers and passwords to verify our identities to organizations. Unfortunately, these can be stolen by criminals and cause us financial ruin. The key to avoiding this problem is awareness and understanding ways to keep our identities safe. This video teaches:

  • Why our identity is so important in everyday life
  • What criminals do when they steal a person’s identity
  • Why sensitive documents are a risk and how to keep them safe
  • How criminals use phone calls, emails and fake websites to fool people
  • Why it’s important to review your bills and bank statements

Watch the video