The Flipped Classroom

There’s a lot of conversation going on about the “flipped classroom model.”  The idea is that students use their “homework” time to watch video lessons created or assigned by their teacher and then use classroom time to work on assignments or projects related to that assignment.  This was made popular by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams and is described in the book, Flip Your Classroom.  Students listen to lectures or watch demonstrations outside of the classroom and work on “homework” in the classroom.  The main advantage is that students will have access to the teacher while they do their work.   If they have problems, there is time for the teacher to help them. They can also work with other students on projects without having to make arrangements for after school get-togethers.  Ideally, this is a great idea.  But there are many factors to consider in order to achieve a successful flipped classroom.

1. Teachers must feel comfortable  recording videos of their lessons.  Working with students in real time is different from reading a script in front of a camera or microphone.  If well planned, the video lesson has the potential to be better than a classroom lesson.  There will be no distractions, the lesson can be delivered in a logical sequence, and the teacher can answer anticipated questions.  The downside is that the teacher might not anticipate all the questions.  If the lesson isn’t clear or the students have questions, the teacher won’t know until the next day.  I think the best approach is to let go of any notion that the video is going to win an Academy Award.  In the classroom, teachers make mistakes and fill sentences with “Uh, you know, I mean…”  You can take hours re-taping or editing your recording, but is it worth it? Just go for it.

2. Teachers must have the tools to create the tutorials and know how to use them.  There are several ways to create a tutorial.  The simplest is a screen capture of a presentation of some sort (PowerPoint, Google Presentation, Prezi, etc.) along with a voice recording.  The teacher can appear on screen before, after, or during the presentation, or not at all. Another version is a video which shows the teacher (or others) demonstrating something that could not be demonstrated in the classroom.    Some tools allow you to embed quizzes or note-taking while watching the video.  TechSmith offers some great tools for screen-casting.  Here’s a blog post from Douchy’s Blog about these and other screen-casting tools.

3. There must be a site where teachers can post the tutorials.  Wikis, blogs, Edmodo, Google Classroom, and YouTube are places to post tutorials, whether it’s an audio or video recording.  Tutorials can also be uploaded to podcast hosting sites, such as iTunes.  The teacher will need to understand the correct format needed for each of these options and know the method of posting to them.

4. Remember that the resources on your flipped classroom site don’t have to be limited to recordings.  You can also share documents, presentations, and links to websites, articles, and blog posts that support your class.  When you start thinking about what you want your students to have access to, the sky is the limit.  You may also want to consider asking students to contribute to the resources.  There are multiple ways for students to add their own work or links to resources they have discovered.  Giving them shared editing access to Diigo, a Google website, spreadsheet, or document, etc. opens the door to a wealth of resources that you might not have the time to discover.


5. Keep it short.  Videos and presentations are great, but unless they are full of bells and whistles, they need to be short.  Your productions are competing with all the shiny videos available on television and the Internet.  Their production budgets were way higher than yours, so don’t kid yourself: keep it short!

6. Check out what others have done.  Here is short list of some flipped classroom resources that other teachers have shared.


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Blendspace – Build a Canvas of Resources to Share

BlendSpace is a tool which enables you to gather and curate resources and assessments to share with students and/or colleagues. It should be created on a computer, but it can be shared to either a computer or mobile device. Instructions
o Create a BlendSpace account at Teacher and student accounts are available.
o Log in to your account.
o Click on + New Lesson button
o Give your canvas a title. Click OK.
Search for content within the web tools on the far right. Click on each icon and enter a search term. When you find what you want, simply drag it to one of the tiles on your Blendspace canvas. When you finish one row of tiles, click on “+ Add row” to increase the size of your canvas.
For any of the web based resources, you can also open another tab in your browser and perform a search. Copy the url of the resource you want to use and paste it into the search bar. You can rearrange the tiles at any time. If you have a wiki, blog, or Google doc you would like to include, paste that url into the search bar.
The source options are:
1. YouTube videos –click on the YouTube icon on the far right and enter a search term in the YouTube Search box.
2. Websites and web images – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
3. Vimeo videos – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
4. Flickr images – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
5. Educreation videos — Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
6. Gooru – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
7. Web pages – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
8. Media or files – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.

For the next two sources you will need to link these accounts so they will be accessible from BlendSpace. To do this: Click on the icon for DropBox or Google Drive and click “Connect.” Enter your login credentials. The content in these accounts will appear and be ready to drag onto your canvas.
9. DropBox – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
10. Google Drive – Click on the on the far right and enter a search term.
11. Settings – Click on the to access your settings. This will allow you to enable or disable comments and track the use of your Blendspace canvas (number of views, length of views, likes, dislikes, comments, help requests, and quizzes).
12. Files from your DropBox or Google Drive When you link these accounts they will be accessible from BlendSpace. To do this Click on the icon for DropBox or Google Drive and click “Connect.” Enter your login credentials. The content in these accounts will appear and be ready to drag onto your canvas.
Test and Quizzes
1. Double click on any tile to add text.
2. Hover over a tile and click on Add Quiz to add a quiz. Create a multiple choice question. Designate the correct answer. Click on “+Add question” to add more questions.
Content is automatically saved.
To share your BlendSpace, click on the Share button. You will have three options :
1. A link to share- When you share the link, it can be typed into the browser or a mobile device or computer or email it to the recipients (this includes an iPad cart email address).
2. An embed code to add your Blendspace to a blog or wiki
3. A QR code to share – This can be scanned by a mobile device with a QR reader.

When the Blendspace canvas is opened on a computer or mobile device, click on one of the tiles to begin. Then use the arrows on the right and left to navigate through the tiles. The user will have access to the content placed on each of the tiles.
Some tile content can be opened on an iPad in Pages and Keynote. If so, they are now offline and can be viewed without Internet connection. If opened in Explain Everything the content could be transformed into a screencast.

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Padlet is a virtual bulletin board which allows multiple users to contribute notes, documents, videos, images, and links. What are some ways that teachers and students can use Padlet to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of ideas and resources?

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Lino – A We-Based Bulletin Board

Have you ever wanted an easy way to collaborate with your colleagues (or your family)? Here is my test of Lino, a collaborative bulletin board tool. There is also an app called Lino created by the same company.

After creating an account, I made a “board” and posted a sticky note with instructions. The settings I chose for the board allow visitors to post stickies as well. Please post a sticky on the board by clicking on this link.

Think of the ways teachers could use a collaborative bulletin board to collect ideas and resources. Think of how a group of students or class could work together on a project using a colleaborative board. Class rules, vocabulary, reflections on experiences or videos, short book reviews, suggestions, catagory sorts, possible solutions to a problem, alternate story endings, to do lists, to bring lists, details about a painting, a calendar, etc. Can you think of more ideas?
By the way, the background of the board is a picture I uploaded. It is my beautiful Buster Boy, the most precious cat of all.

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For our first T21 module (EdTech Teacher) we are exploring LiveBinders. This is a web tool which allows you to organize, curate, and share digital resources. A user creates a virtual binder and fills it with links to websites, text documents, PDF files, digital images, and videos. The binder can then be shared with colleagues or students. The creation of a binder can also be a collaborative process wherein two or more people build a binder.

Think of the ways you and your students can use LiveBinders. It could be the “parking place” for all the resources you want your students to use for a unit of study. It could be how you and your department collect and organize resources you will all use. Students could use LiveBinders as a tool for developing and presenting a project. A LiveBinder could include all the resources used in creating a project as well as the project itself. How else do you think it could be used? Please post your comments below.

Here is a short introduction showing how to create a binder. There are many other tutorials on the LiveBinders site itself as well as on YouTube.

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WallWisher Risk

This is an experiment. As I get deeper into 21st Century Skills, I absolutely embrace the concept that experimenting, tinkering is my best way to learn. It is my most effective way to learn. If I stay on the straight and narrow path, I learn the straight and narrow. If I step off the curve and test out ideas, experiment with the tools I have at hand, I learn far more, and sometimes, I like to think, I actually discover something brand new.

Anyway, this is an experiment to see if a Wall Wisher board can be shared and used by others. If this works the wall below should continue to grow as the participants of the CCOW community contribute to it. We’ll see.

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Scratch Gold Mine

Pico Makes a Friend

Pico Makes a Friend

I am taking an online class in Scratch and having way too much fun. Programming should be a serious and tedious business, right? Not so with the Scratch programming language. Instead I find it a creative and whimsical exercise in logical thinking. I just finished an assignment called Pass It On in which one person writes a Scratch script and posts it to the Pass It On Scratch studio. Others remix the script and repost it. So far four of us, from four different locations, have collaborated to produce this iteration of “Pico Makes a Friend.”

You’ll need Scratch installed on your computer to run this. But don’t worry, it’s a free download and once you have it, you may not be able to tear yourself away from it. (Version 2.0 is web-based and requires no download and offeres some pretty nifty new features.)

Anyway, I just discovered a YouTube playlist chock full of videos to help you understand the many mysteries and fine points of programming in Scratch. Fire up your computer and go to and get ready for the fun to begin.

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Keynote – Apple’s Answer to PowerPoint

If you are familiar with PowerPoint, then you already have a good idea how to create a Keynote presentation using the Keynote app.  They are similar in many ways.  Here is a video showing the basic steps involved in creating and sharing a Keynote.<p>

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R U Ready to Tweet?

I’ve seen many presentations about Twitter, but this one by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, is one of my favorites. She gives a clear explanation of why and how to use Twitter for professional development.

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Crazy Paper Things

I am fascinated by the magical ways paper can be transformed by simply cutting and folding.

Look here for some more ideas.

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