Making Quality Flipped Class Videos

Though I often talk about how the flipped classroom is not about the videos, most flipped class teachers do use videos.  What are some tips on how to make good quality videos.  Aaron Sams and I talked about this in our book, but others are talking about it as well.  Guest blogger Jasper Fox Sr. weighs in on his thoughts.  You can follow Jasper on twitter by following:  @jsprfox

Making Quality Flipped Class Videos

When using video instruction in your class you must shift your paradigm. Your students will do things at different speeds and times. The whole look and feel of the classroom experience will be much more fluid and dynamic. In other words, it won’t look like a traditional classroom! Along with these changes comes the responsibility to make the time students spend with you exciting and interesting. We must, therefore, rethink how the delivery of content is managed so that videos transform the experience for students into something meaningful. I’d like to share some of my advice on video creation and utilization which is based on two years of flipped classroom instruction. Being a creator I think that it is essential to make your own videos. Taking the time and effort to create your content for your students shows and makes the process more authentic. One of the most important things about making your own videos is that you ensure that the lesson is taught the way you want it to be. Also, the vocabulary you use in your district and state is important, using someone else’s videos doesn’t usually sync up with your class. The beauty of making your own videos is that it allows you to shine! Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to show your students all your expertise. Use multi mediums Incorporate interview style with drawing, demonstrations and notes. ensure that your viewer has an experience that keeps them interested and engaged with the material.

Keep them short When I started screencasting, I thought that ten minutes was a good limit. With the feedback from students viewers I have arrived at five minutes (or less) as a more realistic time limit. Getting the point across should be achieved in this time or it probably could be multiple videos. I think this is especially important if you have chosen to use youtube as your delivery vehicle due to the numerous unrelated videos in the sidebar.

Embellish the slides Make it so that your viewer needs you in the presentation. By adding more than what is just on the slides you create a nice flow to the screencast and demonstrate your understanding of the topic a lot more, plus your slides aren’t jammed up with text which makes them difficult to follow. Inspire student creation The true magic of this delivery method occurs when students take control and begin creating their own screencasts. Employ tags to organize for future viewing-great study strategy!

Model your own interests Using basic video recording, you can bring your students along with you during any trip to interesting locations. For me in earth sciences, that means even places like the side of the road where there are interesting geologic formations can be an amazing opportunity to make connections to classroom content. I've gotten feedback that students appreciated that I was thinking about science during my vacations and seemed to bring it all together.

Watch your videos with your students! After attending some webinars, I began using this technique two years ago. With this style, I can watch my videos with my students in the evening and they can ask questions during or after. We can go back to specific parts or re-watch it if we need to. I can answer or even better, they start helping each other in the chat box during the viewing. Practice question sets can also be gone over and questions can be answered similarly to in class. Have fun with it! Making non traditional videos presents a fantastic opportunity to create memories for your students! Poke a little fun at your self or try acting. You’ll get lots of smiles, and I can assure you the students will be talking about your videos!

Time to commit! If you are using video in your classroom, you are ahead of the curve in terms of education today and deserve a big congrats! With this technique comes responsibility though. Keep your students engaged and interested by using the strategies I have described. Try not to overlay old methods of teaching onto newer technologies as this is counter productive and reduces the impact of this style of teaching and learning. Did you feel I missed something that you are using with video instruction with your students? Do you have questions for me about my flipped classroom?


Jasper Fox Sr. teaches 8th grade Earth Science at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School in Shrub Oak, New York. Currently in his tenth year of teaching he was the recipient of the 2012 Pioneer Award for distinguished technology teacher for his successful implementation of the flipped classroom. This award is given annually by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center (LHRIC). <> Twitter: @jsprfox Web:

11 Responses

  1. Great piece on making flipped classroom videos! One of my favorite aspects of these videos are that, once created, they become a resource that can be used over and over again. Adding students into the mix also allows you to create a really rich repository of resources that can be used for enrichment as well as for remediation.

    1. These are great ideas to keep our students’ interest in the video medium. You mentioned that your students have started making screen-casts. Have you ever tried using one of their videos to deliver content or maybe that is asking too much of them?

      1. Vivian,
        Your question is excellent, I stick to having the students make the videos while they are learning about a topic and as review but have not had them make the videos first. Since students in my classes have been making screencast videos for two school years now, I use some of the videos to deliver content but only if they have an unusual idea or are especially effective. One example of this is the moon phases video above.
        Jasper Sr.

    2. Jesse,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree, the videos become a great resource for students later in the year or in future years. I just had a student visit from last year who told me that they were watching their videos recently and were not only remembering the content, but also what a great time they had in class. It is sentiments like that which reinforce for me the power of students as content creators.
      Jasper Sr.

    3. I agree Jesse, I find that I return to this site often. It emphasizes not only to keep the videos short but to keep them interesting by varying the modality and software for screen casting.

  2. Great piece! I especially like your idea of using video to model your interests. It can often be hard, especially as a kid, to really hook into what a teacher is talking about, because it seems to have no bearing on “real life”. I can remember zoning out in school because I couldn’t relate to what was being taught. This is a great way to show them how the subject relates to life outside of school.

    1. Annabel,
      Wonderful point about how videos can be more easy to relate to. I think that students can be really interested in school studies if it is just presented in a different way. My central thesis about using video is that the experience should be exciting, and engaging. This looks very different that the traditional lecture format. One of the reasons I became a teacher is because I love learning. Making these videos allows me to demonstrate that to my students.
      Jasper Sr.

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