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Video Transcript: The Flipped Class: Tech Tools


Aaron: When a lot of people think about flipped classrooms, they start thinking about videos, lots and lots of videos. Video, video, video, video, video. And video has a technological component to it, and a lot of people then think that the flipped classroom is a technological solution. Well, we think a flipped classroom is a pedagogical solution with a technological component, a very large technological component, so let's get some of these tech tools on the table so we can get you the tools that you need to start flipping your class.

Jon: But Aaron why do I need to make my own videos? There's lots of videos out there. Two plus two equals four, whether I say it or somebody on the internet says it.

Aaron: Well, you're right, there's plenty of material out there but I think it's really best for teachers to try at least to make their own content. There's a relational aspect that you have with your students that no one else in this world has, and you cannot replace that by using someone else's material. So I've decided to make my own video content. I don’t know the first thing about making videos, what do I need to make this happen?

Jon: I know a teacher, he hands the phone to a student and says, "Can you help me make a video after class?" And they shoot the video of him standing at the chalkboard and then he posts the video online.

Aaron: And if you choose a student who's struggling, that student is going to get it twice. They're going to see you when they're there live with you and then they can go back and view that video content again.

Both: Differentiated instruction.

Jon: Another tool for making flipped class videos are screen casting programs. Whatever is on the screen is recorded.

Aaron: And in case you haven't noticed, tablets are everywhere, and there are a plethora of whiteboarding apps for tablets that you can write on the screen, bring in pictures, record your audio to produce video content for your students. Okay, so now that you've created some video content, where are you going to put it so your students can access it?

Jon: There's a plethora of sites such as YouTube and Vimeo you can use, but what if your kids don't have access? A lot of kids, well, they don't have access to the technology, what do you do then?

Aaron: We have physical media that we could use. We have USB drives, they're relatively inexpensive. Get a few of those, check them out to your students as needed, or you could burn them onto a DVD.

Jon: So with all these tools for creation and sharing of the videos, we're often asked, which is the best tool or tools that you should use? Ultimately, it depends upon you. What technology are you comfortable with, what do you actually have? That's the tool that's going to be best for you.

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  • Hosts: Jonathan Bergmann & Aaron Sams
  • Web Video Producer: Christian Amundson
  • Editor: Daniel Jarvis
  • Graphics: Cait Camerata
  • Web Video Strategy Coordinator: Keyana Stevens
  • Senior Manager of Video: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Production Services: Scrappers Film Group

Editor's Note:This post was co-authored by Aaron Sams, Managing Director of and founding member of the Flipped Learning Network.

The greatest benefit of flipped learning is the restructuring of class time, which is more of a pedagogical solution than a technological solution. However, the in-class benefit is dependent upon the utilization of technology tools. So what technologies are necessary in a flipped classroom?

Content Creation Tools

One of the most difficult challenges for some teachers to overcome is the mastery of a content creation tool. There are so many hardware and software options out there. Where does one begin?


A popular software category for flipped learning is screencasting tools. These allow the teacher to record whatever is on her screen while simultaneously recording her audio, and in come cases, her webcam. Screencasting is an easy entry point for teachers who already utilize slide decks, interactive white boards, or other presentation software. Some teachers simply fire up the screencasting software while teaching live, and by the end of one year, they've created a library of instructional content. Others modify existing slide decks to be better suited for flipped instruction. And there are the really ambitious teachers who start designing a lesson from scratch and create new material with flipped learning in mind. Regardless of the entry point, screencasting software like Camtasia, Screencast-O-Matic, SnagIt, and Office Mix provides a simple solution for teachers to create instructional videos. See this example of our video introducing an important chemistry topic -- stoichiometry:

Tablet Software

Many teachers seek a tablet solution. In the past, only simple whiteboarding apps were available for tablets, but a new generation of content creation apps is emerging. Tools like Knowmia and Explain Everything allow the teacher to create content similar to the videos made using screencasting tools. See this example by April Barton, a high school math teacher in Utah:

Document Camera-Based Solutions

Many teachers have document cameras in their rooms. Most of the time, these are connected directly to an LCD projector. But a little-known feature of document cameras is their ability to project the image onto a computer, usually via a simple USB cable. When the image on a document camera is on the teacher's computer, he can use screencasting software mentioned above to record what he does on the document camera along with an audio recording. See an example from Delia Bush, a fifth grade math teacher in Michigan:

Camera-Based Solutions

Some teachers choose to forego software-based solutions and opt for the video camera. Camera-created videos can be as simple as using the video camera in a smartphone or tablet, or even a consumer-grade handheld camera. Others (check out Flipping Physics) have chosen to utilize their video production skills with higher-end video equipment and sophisticated editing software to produce very high-quality products. Whatever you choose to pursue, great video content is possible using readily available hardware that you might already have in your pocket. See an example from Leif Blomqvist, a woodworking teacher from Sweden:

Regardless of which techniques you utilize, here are some simple guidelines to follow for creating great content:

  • Record in a quiet room with a decent microphone.
  • If using a camera or device in a picture mode, record in a well-lit area without distracting backgrounds.
  • Utilize slide decks that are not distracting and have contrasting backgrounds and fonts.
  • Create a balanced mix of text, oral communication, pictures, video, and music. Use enough features to make your content engaging without being distracting.

Distribution Tools

Once your content is created, you need to get it into the hands of students. The most obvious solution is using a service like YouTube. However, many schools block YouTube for a variety of reasons. In cases where video hosting and streaming services are blocked, teachers can upload content directly to their school's learning management system or website. But regardless of how you distribute content, you must make sure that all students have access to the content.

It's no secret that not every student has internet access outside of school. In fact, concern about student access to digital content is the number one hesitation about the flipped classroom concept. Although access is a legitimate and important concern that can also be used as an easy out by teachers who aren't interested in exploring flipped learning, it's not an insurmountable hurdle. You probably have students with no home internet access. If this is the case for even just one of your students, you must provide access for them.

This could be in the form of physical media like a USB drive or a DVD. You can purchase very inexpensive MP4 players for $10-$30. Some teachers have written grants for a class set of mobile devices that students can check out. Others have gone so far as contacting local business owners to secure food or drink discounts for students who need to utilize a restaurant's WiFi. Most local libraries have computers for public use, and you would probably be surprised at how many students can find a way to access web content outside of class.

These are only a few solutions. Check out the video at the top of this post for more tech tools for your flipped classroom. And if there's anything we haven't mentioned, please tell us about it in the comments section.

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Flipped-Learning Toolkit
Thinking about flipping your classroom? Flipped-learning pioneers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams walk you through the steps you need to take to make blended learning a reality.

Comments (5) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

GATE Teacher's picture

I have just begun researching a flipped classroom and my concern was how will all students be able to access the content. Well, your video provided an easy solution with downloading the video either on a USB or burn it onto a DVD. Your suggestion of having a struggling student tape the teacher is an awesome idea which allows them to view the content twice. Thank you for the great suggestions.

Ron Starc's picture

My Screen Recorder is a better screen recording software. It records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone - or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to standard compressed format that works with any video editor or any tool, no conversion required.

Ms. Bynum's picture
Ms. Bynum

After reading this article and watching the video, I had a thought to create a survey to give to my students while at school to find out what technology they have access to. This will help me to know how to get the material out to the students. Thank you, it helps to know that they all don't have to have internet. USB and DVD are great ideas!

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