August 14, 2013

5 Tips to Flip Your Class – From Beth & Samantha on Edudemic
This post, co-authored by Beth Holland and Samantha Morra, first appeared on Edudemic.
Have you been thinking about flipping your classroom this fall? Flipping can let you make the most of face-to-face time with your students. Rather than taking class time to introduce content and using homework to review concepts, flip the process so that students gain basic knowledge at home and then create, collaborate, and make connections in school. Creating video used to be out of reach for most teachers. It was expensive and required skills that could take years to master. Fortunately, it is easier and faster than ever to create videos for your students, especially with iPad. It also plays a big part in flipping your class, as it provides students with multimodal access to content and the ability to progress at their own pace. By giving students the opportunity to view and playback lessons via video, you free up class time for more cognitively difficult tasks. At EdTechTeacher, we have worked with many educators on flipping their classes and have noticed some common issues that often thwart their initial forays. Here are five issues that can come up when you start out flipping:

1. All or Nothing

Flipping is not an all or nothing deal. Too often, teachers feel as though all of their content needs to be presented via video. Start small and build a library of resources for your students. Choose when it is appropriate and reasonable to have students learn independently at home through video. Once you start, momentum with build, and it will become easier. Tip: With elementary students, and even middle school, begin by creating centers in your classroom where students can experience the process of learning by video with your support. For older students, consider building a frequently asked questions video library that focuses on particular trouble-spots for your students rather than trying to recreate all of your content from the beginning.

2. Avoid Lecture

There really is a difference between talking at your students and talking to them. When you flip, remember that content is what you want the students to know and understanding is what you want the students to have. Aim for explaining a concept or demonstrating an idea in your videos rather than just reading a set of lecture notes or talking to PowerPoint slides. Tip: When using video and screencasts, think about the modalities that they afford - moving pictures, drawing, type, audio, and your own persona. Consider flipping a problem-solving process, a science pre-lab demonstration, or a how-to sequence. English or History teachers may want to model the editing process or active reading skills, and foreign language teachers could demonstrate a translation or new conjugation. Flipping in an elementary classroom may focus on directions or sequences to prepare students for the following day’s class experience.

3. Import/Export:

Pay attention to import and export issues with your video creation tools. Many iPad apps can pull from the camera roll, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. as well as send back to them. Pick apps that work well with the other tools that you use, and don’t forget to consider whether or not students have Internet access at home. Tip: With the Drive app, it is possible to save a video for offline use on either a computer or iPad. In the Dropbox iPad app, starring a video then lets you save it to the camera roll to watch offline.

4. Smile:

Even if your face is not on screen, people can hear you smile. Yes, they really can. Your video will have more energy, and it will be easier for your students to connect with the content if you express some of your passion and excitement for the subject. Tip: Don’t be afraid to abort mission! If you aren’t enjoying the process of creating the video, then the students probably won’t enjoy trying to watch it. If you can’t smile while recording, then ask yourself if there may be a better or different way to present the material.

5. Variety:

As much as we love certain tools, as soon as your videos become predictable and formulaic, then they become boring. Similarly, make sure that you give your students a variety of challenges or assignments to create with your videos as well as their own. Tip: Check out the FREE apps below to mix it up a bit. Each one has its own special qualities and can add variety as you start to flip. Don’t forget to have your students create their own videos using these app to 30hands 30hands takes the approach of digital storytelling. Videos are constructed by dragging images in place and then recording over top. This app is also a great creation tool for younger students.
  • iTunes Link
  • Imports from: Photos, Google, Dropbox, Box, Gmail, online search
  • Exports to: Photos, Google, Dropbox, Box
  • Features: Easy to use, generates embed code for publishing video on a blog, full course creation
Ask3 Ask3 lets students and teachers collaborate directly in the screencast. To get some great ideas about using this app with students, read Jennie Magiera’s post, Ask Me about Ask3.
  • iTunes Link
  • Imports from: Photos
  • Exports to: Ask3 Website
  • Features: Collaboration, Questions, Commenting directly in the video timeline
Educreations Educreations is one of our favorite screencasting apps. When all student devices are logged in to a class account, videos are instantly uploaded to one location. Combine this with the multi-page layout, and it’s also a great tool to use in learning centers. For more ideas about using this app, check out our video tutorials.
  • iTunes Link
  • Imports from: Photos, Dropbox, Built-in Web Search
  • Exports to: Educreations website, Email, Twitter, Facebook
  • Features: Saves to website, embed code for posting to another web site or blog, ability to ask questions about videos
Knowmia Knowmia has a host of teacher tools built directly into the app to support the video creation process.
  • iTunes Link
  • Imports from: Photos, Google, Dropbox, Box, Gmail, online search
  • Exports to: Photos, Google, Dropbox, Box
  • Features: Advanced editing, Assignment wizard
ScreenChomp This is another one of our favorites, particularly with younger students. It works with or without an Internet connection and does not require a login. Completed “chomps” can be shared via a link. The best feature, however, is the ability to scroll up and down an entire page length making it great for providing video feedback on written work, doing running reading records, or annotating on top of PDF worksheets. Watch this Screenchomp video for an example.
  • iTunes Link
  • Imports from: Photos, Dropbox
  • Exports to: Web link
  • Features: Easy to use, no login-required, mistake-tolerant
Both Beth and Samantha will be talking more about iPads and Flipping at the upcoming EdTechTeacher iPad Summits in Boston (November 13-15, 2013) and San Diego (February 3-5, 2014).