Is there a way to tell/track if a student has watch a powerpoint or video? I want to put little videos or pp up for students to view but I want to know if they actually watch them.
You can view the logs for that resource and see who has at least clicked the link. You can get there through the course 'Administration' block --> 'Reports' link. Choose your particular resource from the list of 'All activities'.
Of course, this only shows who has viewed the resource.
A better method may be to have a short quiz to test whether or not the student viewed the PowerPoint or video. You may even make it different by placing an 'Easter egg' in the resource. For instance, you could give some off-the-wall fact or little know piece of information somewhere in the video/PowerPoint and then make that one of the quiz questions.
I have thought of that, but high school students are very good at sharing that information with each other. I am trying find a way where they cannot share answers, it has to be done by them.
Your students seem to be sending you a message that they don't find watching the powerpoint or video a worthwhile use of their time.
Perhaps you should ask them directly why this is?
What do you expect your students to get out of watching the video? Can you make them see the value in that? If not, can they suggest a better way for you to help them achieve the learning outcomes?
You might try to give each student their own random quiz to check and see if they watched everything. It can be done by making a question bank for the Lesson module. That is how I do it and you can even put a time limit on the random quiz so they don't have time to go back and "look up" the answers. I find that about ten question makes sharing answers/information too much trouble for them to remember and worthless because each student gets their own set of questions in a random order.