I have been leading flipped class workshops for many years and as I have worked with thousands of teachers, I have identified several hurdles that need to be overcome for teachers and schools to implement the flipped class model in their schools. In a previous blog, I talked about the number one hurdle: that of flipping the mind of the teacher. We must rethink what class looks like. If this hurdle is not overcome the rest of the hurdles will not matter. In this series of posts I will highlight the other three hurdles which need to be overcome before you flip your class.
Once teachers have flipped their thinking about class time, the second hurdle they need to overcome is the issue of technology. Many teachers are not completely comfortable using technology. The thought of creating or curating video content for their students is a daunting task.
My experience is that technology often is too complex. There are too many buttons and too many steps for most educators. They have been trained in child psychology and development, pedagogy, content, and technology. The problem with technology is that it is always changing. Keeping up with technological change is overwhelming for most educators and they need simple solutions so they can get to the important part of education which I believe is interacting and connecting with their students.
How do we overcome this barrier? First, I call upon the makers of educational technology to make their products “crazy-easy” to use. Manufacturers should design their products with the end-user in mind. Teacher end-users may not be “techies,” so please think through the design.
What do you minimally need technologically to flip your class? I see two types of software you need to learn to use. Since most teachers flip their classes with videos, they need both a way to create videos and a way for students to access videos. I have seen effective use of video cameras to flip your classroom. If you want a video, then you might use your smart phone or a dedicated video camera. The other video creation category is screencasting programs where videos are made of your computer or iPad screen and at the same time recording your voice. I have only listed screencasting programs below. I know this is not an exhaustive list, and your favorite tool may not be on the list. My recommendation is that you find one tool that works and you learn to use it well.
|iPad Apps||Computer Programs|
|Doceri (Free, but if you want to connect this through your computer it costs $30)||Jing (Free—Videos limited to 5 min)|
|Explain Everything ($5)||Screen-cast-o-mattic (Free or $15/yr)|
|Show Me ($?)||Snagit ($50)|
|Screenchomp (Free)||Camtasia Studio (Mac or PC-Prices vary)|
|Educreations (Free)||Adobe Presenter (Mac or PC-Prices vary)|
|Coaches Eye (Though designed for coaches, there are lots of great applications you can use to make a flipped class video||SMART notebook has a recorder built in if you use SMART boards|
|Active Inspire has a recorder built in if you use a Promethian Board|
You can also mix and match some of these tools. See my post about how I used Doceri, Telagami, and iMovie for the iPad to create a video.
The second technology piece to master is hosting and posting your videos on the web so your students can access them. If YouTube is not blocked, you can create a YouTube channel and post your videos there. There are other sites on which videos can be hosted, such as screencast.com, vimeo.com, and teachertube.com. Each of these have advantages and disadvantages.
If you really want to make accessing your content easy for your students, which you should, I recommend that a school invests in a learning management system. There are many on the market such as: MyBigCampus, Haiku Learning, Blackboard, Schoology, Edmodo, InfoMentor (Europe), Moodle, and a host of others. One other product I have been getting excited about is VersoApp. This platform is not quite a learning management system, and has built in interactivity. I like it because it is “crazy easy” to use. It is sort of the anti-LMS way to have students interact with your content.
I think of it in terms of this quick graphic I sketched out to help you think through the workflow:
So as you flip your class, figuring out which technology to embrace is hard. Choose one and get good at it. Feel free to post your favorites below and why you like them. Your comments would be helpful for readers of this post.