The Second Hurdle to Flipping Your Class

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.

Screencasting Programs

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:

What technology do you need to master when you flip your classroom?

What technology do you need to master when you flip your classroom?

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.

14 Responses

  1. Dennis C

    Our school has joined the 1-1 world, with each student being assigned a Chromebook from day 1 of high school.

    This is my second full year flipping my classroom. As for technology, I not have spent a single moment making videos for my math classes (algebra 1, 2 and Geometry). I have however spent many hours sifting through various videos on youtube ~ as there are many out there. My main hurdle was/is the time requirement to make my own videos – with 4 different preps, I don’t have the time to make 4 different videos each night. I do have the time to find them, however, from some really good online/youtube math teachers!

  2. Thanks for the post Jon, I’m looking forward to the next two in the series.

    I’ve been clear on the need for “flipping their thinking” (first T) since I started this journey a year ago. Over the last months I have come to discover that I need to be more conscious of other teachers’ fear and/or unfamiliarity with technology. That was an eye-opener for me and something I need to work on as I move forward in coaching others.

    And yes, I got the “green light” just today on my planned position as a Flipped Learning evangelist at the Tec. I’m not sure I’ll get that title on my official business card quite yet, but that is my main focus over the next year down here in Mexico. Very much looking forward to my PD session with a group of high school teachers tomorrow!

  3. Joey

    Flipasaurus is a perfect solution to overcome struggles with YouTube(and others) being blocked by schools. http://flipasaurus.com/? This video hosting site makes it incredibly quick and easy to share videos with students. You mentioned a lot of great tools for using the iPad and computer to create videos/screencasts and now Flipasaurus can be used with mobile devices. Check it out.

  4. Matt

    Lesson LAMS is a great, free LMS which you can use to host a series of videos and other tasks. Great for the flipped classroom…. and more. Highly recommended if you school doesn’t have a LMS…

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  7. Here’s free online Flip Teaching PD that you can go through, in less than an hour, and teach yourself the basics of How To Record, with short 5 or 10 minute tutorials, using free software on Windows or Mac. You can also go through Best Practices for making your video lessons. This is all on http://www.FlippinTeachers.com. The way we teach how to record makes it “crazy easy” to record your video lessons.

    We also have the only free online system specifically Designed By Flip Teachers, For Flip Teachers with ad-free hosting plus numerous other features for teacher/student facilitation at http://www.CrazyForEducation.com. Our system is “crazy easy” to use.

    I suggest you start with the Teacher Success Stories from teachers all over the U.S. to hear the experiences of teachers and students using the system. If you have any questions, you can contact us through the Contact links. We’ve had many teachers hear an hour presentation and start Flipping their classes within a week or two so it doesn’t have to be complicated to get started.

    Thank you to Jon and Aaron for the fantastic work you’re doing in spreading Flip Teaching and revolutionizing education.

  8. Ryan Melton

    I would love input on my set-up. I have been using a Chromebook solely for my recordings. Explain Everything on Chromebook works fantastically, but it’s recording feature is recording my PDFs blurry. So, I attempted using SnagIt/Screencastify/CaptureCast for capture on top of it, and I get lagged/frozen videos. Maybe I want to use my Chromebook too much, but I don’t want to give in to the Windows world.

      1. Ryan Melton

        Yes, I have, but I use PDF notes, that I annotate, and I have yet to find an so that I can import PDFs and annotate smoothly, that will play nicely with Screencastify. I hope that makes sense.

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