There are as many ways to flip your class as there are ways to build a pizza. You need some key ingredients, like a good lesson, some editing software or an iPad with some recording apps, and time. You also need some toppings: where to host your videos, which LMS will work best for you, and video length, for example. These two things will work in concert together, and as you learn what you like and don’t like, you modify. Here’s some of what’s worked for me.
The Key Ingredients
For recording and editing the video of your lesson: I love the Techsmith suite of products. In almost every video that I have created over the past three years, Camtasia was involved in the editing process. This program will record your screen as you work, record your voice as you talk, and has an intuitive video/audio editing interface. When I first started using Camtasia, it was just my voice and my writing--really simple stuff. As I became more comfortable with the software, I added my webcam and a green screen effect. There is a learning curve with Camtasia, but with patience and a helpful video like this one, you can do it!
A companion piece to Camtasia is Techsmith’s SnagIt program--almost like taking a screenshot or video, but with the ability to edit. With SnagIt, I use it to grab images from my screen to do my writing on or if there is a picture that I want to edit. You can also use SnagIt to do some recording, but the editing feature is not quite as robust as in Camtasia.
If you have a cool powerpoint lesson, SnagIt is perfect for getting a digital copy of those slides that is also editable. For those who prefer Google Docs, I typically create my lesson in a Google Doc, copy the screen image of that lesson with SnagIt, and then paste it into Sketchbook Express.
For recording your video on an iPad: There are a couple of apps that I really like and have used several times, especially if I needed a quick lesson and didn’t have time to sit and edit with Camtasia. I love the Teach app by Knowmia, who is now part of Techsmith. You can create the most dynamic lessons on your iPad-time limit of 15 minutes-and upload that recording to Knowmia.com. You can also buy the Teach Pro app and get some more bells and whistles, but the free version is adequate enough.
Explain Everything is the other app that I use when I need a quick lesson. This one is not free, but not expensive either, and gives you the opportunity to save your lesson to your camera roll and upload to whatever place you have decided to put your videos.
For getting the best audio: I use a USB microphone--nothing fancy, and less than $100. While many use the internal microphone on a MacBook, adding a USB microphone will result in amazing sound quality. Audio is the most important thing for your lesson, as the students need to hear you clearly and understand what you are communicating to them.
In a pinch, if you have a MacBook and an iPhone, Apple headphones have a pretty solid microphone in those, I have recorded many lessons with them. Be sure and record a short lesson and listen to what you sound like, as this gives you the opportunity to judge the quality of the microphone that you are using and allows you to hear any little phrases that you repeat without realizing it.
For video hosting: I recommend two separate websites: Knowmia and YouTube. Knowmia is clean, easy to use and well-organized; you can upload any document that pertains to the video, add the book publisher information, add any url links that are appropriate. (In short, you can put your entire lesson together in one place.) YouTube, on the other hand, is where most students live when they are not at school, and as such, they know how to use it.
At my school, we chose to use both platforms, as YouTube was blocked on school grounds and we wanted our students to be able to view content at any time. Both websites ask you to tag videos with keywords so that anyone can find them later through searches. Using both of these websites together gives you, the teacher, so much more flexibility.
For student accountability and creating structure around the video: Build a lesson around the video using a site like Knowmia, or use Edmodo to support student engagement with the video. Edmodo gives you the opportunity to attach quizzes to the video; you could also post the video on Edmodo and have students post comments underneath it, hence creating a discussion board. I have made note taking packets and hidden code words in my videos--when the students find them, they get a perk. You can be creative and fun here; try something out and see what happens.
As you start on this journey, you will find software or apps that you prefer, websites you love, and kinds of different things that will morph your class. The ideas that I have given you here are what I have done, but there are tons of things out there that I did not mention by name. This article was written to give you some first steps, some things to try and ideas to think about. But now, it’s your turn. What tools do you like to use when you flip?
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